A common issue faced by Colombian trans women is extremely high levels of violence: between 2008 and 2013, the number of murders of trans people in Colombia was fourth-highest in the world. Despite these deaths and other violent assaults, no one person has been charged, according to Santamaría Fundación’s Director of Institutional Processes, Déborah Skenassy. Trans women don’t have access to health or justice because our bodies aren’t legitimized. We exist at the margins of the state.”
The police, she adds, are often part of the problem, denying help or arresting trans women without justification. Santamaría Fundación has documented 150 accounts of police abuse that have so far been ignored by superiors.
To counter this trend, Santamaría Fundación met with 35 trans women to discuss recent violations by the police. Their recommendations comprised a formal proposal to be presented by members of Santamaría Fundación to Cali’s police captain. Santamaría Fundación builds trans women’s leadership by offering programs like the escuela de formación políica, or political education. Twice a month the initiative brings together about 40 women of diverse ages and ethnicities to explore topics such as civil rights, sexuality and gender diversity, and political participation.
Astraea is Santamaría Fundación’s most constant funder and the only one providing general operating support. Astraea has funded Santamaría Fundación for 4 years (2011-2014). demo