TDoR 2017 / 2017 / February / 15 / Dandara dos Santos

Dandara dos Santos

Age 42

15 Feb 2017
Fortaleza, Ceará (Brazil)

TDoR list ref: tgeu/15-Feb-2017/Dandara

Dandara dos Santos
Dandara dos Santos

Dandara was publicly tortured and beaten to death by several young men, with her horrific ordeal recorded and published on YouTube. The video was later removed, but not before news of her ordeal had spread worldwide.

Dandara's death sparked internetional outrage.

The Legislative Assembly of Ceará instituted February 15, the date of Dandara's death, as the State Day to Combat Transphobia, which appears on the official calendar of the state. In 2018, five of Dandara's killers were tried. For the first time in the Brazilian court, the judge mentioned in sentencing the motive of transphobia as qualifying the homicide.

Five of her attackers were jailed for a total of 83 years on 5th April 2018:

In March 2019 Francisco Wellington Teles, 51, was arrested in Caucaia, in the Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza. Investigations indicate that Wellington was responsible for taking Dandara to the scene of the crime.

"When she got on the bike that would take her to the place where the video of her beating was filmed, Dandara dos Santos said goodbye and smiled to those around her. It was February 15 last. On that street in Conjunto Ceará, she grew up, made friends, distributed favors, took care of her mother, danced … Dandara was sweet and cheerful. Even those who did not know her well knew the reputation of being polite and playful.

“The day she died, I saw her at the supermarket buying bread. She went every morning, helping the gentleman over there” pointing out a neighbor, who did not want to be identified. Her routine on the pavement street was to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. Inside the house, her corner was a hammock in front of a bad-looking television.

In August 2019 a book titled "Casulo Dandara" describing the story of her life, the murder investigation and how she became an icon of LGBT resistance is to be released at the Book Biennial of Ceará by her friend, Vitoria Holanda.

The inspector remembers that before the video hit the networks and publicised the murder, generating national and international repercussions, Dandara dos Santos had never existed! She was Dandara Kettley; dos Santos, did not yet exist anywhere; of birth, Dandara was [deadname] Ferreira Vasconcelos. Of the 11 accused of the her murder, 10 were identified.

In the Cocoon Dandara , Vitoria narrates her story from her childhood until her murder and the repercussions of the crime. According to the author, the biggest challenge was balancing her commitment to the loss of her friend and professional detachment, making the narrative even more unique and challenging.

In December 2020 the City Council of Fortaleza approved a project to name a street in Bairro Bom Jardim - the area where she died - "Dandara Ketley" in her memory.

Vitória Holanda, an inspector with the Ceará Civil Police, was a childhood friend of Dandara and says that the idea of ​​renaming the street with the name of the [trans woman] is also a protest against intolerance

”It was to humanize Dandara's story”, says Civil Police inspector, Vitória Holanda, who idealized the naming of a street in honor of Dandara dos Santos, the [trans woman] brutally murdered in February 2017, in Fortaleza. Dandara's childhood friend, she revealed exclusively to O POVO how the homage was conceived.

The idea of renaming the quadrant of the Bom Jardim neighborhood where the crime occurred, with the name of Dandara Ketteley is, according to the police officer, a symbolic act of protest against transphobia to combat false narratives that attempt to tarnish the image of [trans women] as a way to minimize the brutality of the crime her friend suffered.

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TvT partner organisation Rede Trans Brasil & Ultimo segundo 15/02/2017

Report added: 1 Sep 2018. Last updated: 16 Jan 2022

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