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Transgender woman deported from U.S. murdered in Honduras

BY Michael K. Lavers, The Washington Blade

A transgender woman who the U.S. deported to Honduras earlier this year has been murdered.

Reportar sin Miedo, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Honduras, reported a group of “hooded subjects” shot Melissa Núñez in Morocelí, a municipality in El Paraíso department in eastern Honduras, on Tuesday night.

Initial reports indicate Núñez, 42, died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Indyra Mendoza, general coordinator of Cattrachas, a lesbian feminist network based in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, on Thursday confirmed to the Blade that Núñez asked for asylum in the U.S.

Mendoza said she did not know on what grounds Núñez asked for asylum, but Reportar sin Miedo reported she had lived in Miami and had more than 20,000 followers on TikTok. Núñez, according to Reportar sin Miedo, became “a strong activist” for LGBTQ and intersex rights while in the U.S.

Mendoza told the Blade that Núñez in December 2021 returned to Honduras after she traveled through Mexico and Guatemala. Núñez tried to return to the U.S., but Mendoza said American authorities deported her back to Honduras in July.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights last June issued a landmark ruling that found Honduras responsible for the murder of Vicky Hernández, a trans sex worker with HIV who died in police custody hours after the 2009 coup that ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya from power.

Zelaya’s wife, President Xiomara Castro, is among the Honduran officials who participated in a ceremony earlier this year during which the government publicly acknowledged it was responsible for Hernández’s murder. The admission the government reached with her family.

Violence and discrimination based on gender identity and expression nevertheless remains commonplace in Honduras. Vice President Kamala Harris is among the U.S. officials who have acknowledged anti-LGBTQ and anti-intersex violence are among the factors that prompt Hondurans and people from neighboring El Salvador and Honduras to leave their countries.

Camila Díaz Córdova, a trans woman from El Salvador who the U.S. deported, was killed in San Salvador, the Salvadoran capital, in January 2019. A Salvadoran court convicted three police officers of Díaz’s murder and sentenced them to 20 years in prison.

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