Last September, my friend and colleague Ali Bracken (she's the crime cor for the Sunday Tribune) travelled to Honduras to investigate human rights abuses, especially violence towards the transgender and gay community there. The piece she wrote is here.
Ali's fixer and translator for the week was Nicole Moreno, a transsexual prostitute.
The level of homophobia is so huge in Honduras, that gay and transsexual prostitutes are frequently assaulted and sometimes murdered after 'clients' have sex with them, because the 'clients' feel so horrified or guilty or angry or whatever about what they have just done. Ali said Cynthia Nicole was one of the most remarkable and interesting people she ever met.
On Tuesday morning, Ali got a shocking and sad phonecall from a human rights worker to say that Cynthia Nicole had been murdered - shot dead in a drive-by shooting. She is the third transgender person to be murdered in the last three months in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa.
In today's Sunday Tribune Ali has a piece about Cynthia Nicole's death, and reflects on the week they spent together and the current situation in Tegucigalpa.
Front Line: Protection of Human Rights Defenders have posted this about Cynthia Nicole, sayinf "Front Line believes that the killing of Cynthia Nicole may be related to her legitimate human rights activities, in particular her involvement in the defence of the rights of the transgender community. Given that there have reportedly been several violent attacks against transgender people in the country in recent months, Front Line is concerned that this may form part of an ongoing trend of harassment against the transgender community in Honduras."