Reporting for this story was supported by the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G Buffett Fund for Women Journalists and was first published in November 2021 for palabra

 

The life expectancy of transgender people in Honduras is estimated to be 35 years. The country also has one of the world’s highest rates of transgender murders. Facing bigotry daily from the Honduran government, family members, religion, and society, many choose to flee. Those who stay behind deal with frequent threats.

For several months, I have followed three Honduran transgender women, Vanessa, Rebecca, and Vienna. Here, we will use only their first names. For many trans people, changing their given birth names can provide a new and spoken truthfulness to their identities. Through their narratives, I explored how violence in Honduras has changed their lives.

From being falsely criminalized, coping with the tragic murder of activist Berta Cáceres, and to the pursuit of a new future in another country, these three women redefined resilience for me. They showed me the difficulty of living their lives in peace, and their community’s drive to move forward.

*Words and images by Zaydee Sanchez

Vanessa - Guatemala City, Guatemala

Rebecca - Los Angeles, California

Vienna - San Pedro Sula, Honduras