Trans woman murdered in Ecuador sparks fears of anti-LGBT violence

Trans pride flags flutter in the wind at a gathering to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2017 at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, California. International Transgender Day of Visibility is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

A transgender woman has been killed in Ecuador, human rights activists have said.

The body of a 40-year-old trans woman known as ‘La Gata’ was found by her family in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas in the South American country.

This is the eighth case of murder or violent death of a trans person in the country this year, according to Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Diane Rodriguez, the first trans woman elected to Ecuador’s National Assembly, told Reuters: “Once again, the LGBT community in Ecuador is in mourning. We thought (the attacks) were going to decrease, but on the contrary, we’ve been surprised by this year’s statistics.”

The killing has sparked fears of a rise in anti-LGBT violence in the country, which has seen progress for the LGBT+ community in recent years.

In June, Ecuador’s highest court legalised same-sex marriage, ruling in favour of two gay couples who petitioned for the right to wed.

The constitutional court in the capital Quito voted five-to-four to approve same-sex marriage in the cases of the two, extending gay marriage across the country.

The LGBT+ community celebrates the commemoration of 50 years of Gay Pride worldwide as part of the pride day celebration on June 29, 2019 in Quito, Ecuador (Franklin Jácome/Agencia Press South/Getty Images)

One of the couples who won the right to wed are Efrain Soria and Javier Benalcazar.

According to AFP, Soria told reporters after the decision: “I want to say hello to Javier, who is in [the city of] Guayaquil. Honey, I love you.”

Soria also urged other LGBT+ people to “enjoy the happiness that comes from being equal, like anyone else.”

The four judges who ruled against same-sex marriage said that changes to the Ecuadorean constitution would have to be decided and approved by the government.

However, the constitutional court’s decisions are “binding and mandatory,” according to former supreme court president Gustavo Medina, reports AFP. That means public authorities officiating weddings must perform same-sex weddings.

This week, a couple who campaigned for six years for the legalisation of same-sex marriage were finally able to wed.

Pamela Troy and Gabriela Correa were declared legally married in the Civil Registry of San Blas, according to local news site El Comercio.

The couple married in Quito and decided to return to the same civil registry they went to in August 2013, where exactly six years before they were denied permission to marry and began their fight for same-sex marriage in the country.

Last year, the country’s top court legally acknowledged a lesbian couple as parents to their two children.