In February 2015, Thomas Cristofoletti visited Cartagena, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, telling the story of Tania, a young transgender activist on assignment for USAID.
Like many transgender women in Cartagena and throughout the Caribbean region, Tania Duarte Díaz has suffered at the hands of a society that doesn’t understand her and a justice system unable—and often unwilling—to protect her rights.
Tania is a member of Caribe Afirmativo, a group in Colombia that advocates for equal rights for the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community.
The group was formed in 2007 after the hate-motivated murder of professor and advocate Rolando Pérez, and it documents cases of abuse; trains police and policy officials on human rights; does outreach with the LGBTI community; and fights to bring perpetrators to justice.
In just seven years—from 2007 to 2014—Caribe Afirmativo recorded 119 murders of LGBTI individuals on the Caribbean coast.