Bessy Ferrera

Bessy Ferrera was a lifelong defender of the human rights of trans people, sex workers and HIV positive people in Honduras.

Bessy was also a member of Arcoíris, an organisation which supports the LGBTI+ community. She was also a focal point person for the Right Here, Right Now (Derechos aquí y Ahora) Platform of Honduras, and advocated strongly for full citizenship of trans people, and the passing of a gender identity law that would allow trans people to change their gender identity legally.

"Since the beginning of the year [2019] the trans community has been suffering a series of attacks, for defending, for demanding rights." - Rihanna Ferrera (Bessy’s sister)

Bessy was a sex worker, and in early July 2019, was shot to death by two men while working in the streets of Comayagüela. Her assailants were subsequently arrested. 

Bessy is one of many LGBTI+ rights defenders in Honduras, who were murdered because of their identities and work. Other companeras include: Cynthia Nicole, Angy Ferreira, Estefania "Nia" Zuniga, Gloria Carolina Hernandez Vasquez, Paola Barraza, Violeta Rivas, and Sherly Montoya.

Bessy’s case is emblematic of injustice and a much larger problem of the systematic violence the LGBTI+ community faces in Honduras as the state fails to guarantee rights offer and fails to offer protection. This has created a culture of impunity.

Despite the risks LGBTI+ defenders in Honduras face, they continue their work to challenge and resist violence, and fight stigma and discrimination on a daily basis. 

“If I die, let it be for something good not for something futile. I don’t want to die running away, being a coward. If I die, I want people to say that I died fighting for what is mine.” - member of Arcoíris