Zashy Zuely del Cid VelásquezAge 27
25 Apr 2021
San Miguel (El Salvador)
Zashy was shot in the back while working and died in hospital. Her birth family refused to allow LGBT+ friends to attend her funeral and buried her "as a man".
Early Sunday morning, Zashy Zuely del Cid Velásquez, a 27-year-old trans woman, was on the streets, offering sexual services in San Miguel, when she was shot in the back leaving her seriously injured. The young woman asked for help and was transferred urgently to the San Juan de Dios hospital in San Miguel, 138 kilometers east of the capital. Doctors declared her dead minutes later. They said the bullet punctured her lung and caused internal bleeding.
Zashy was a makeup artist and a beauty salon owner. She was also engaged in sex work, reported Venus Nolasco, president of the Perla de Oriente Collective. “She was attacked from behind, there is no indication of the perpetrators. She asked for help and was taken to the hospital but she died because she drowned in her own blood, ”the activist told Presentes.
Zashy was part of the Perla de Oriente Collective. The organization works to promote the rights of the LGBTI population in the eastern part of the country. Among their programs they have designed emergency routes to deal with reports of attacks.
According to other sources who asked not to be identified for security reasons, Zashy had also received threats. It is suspected that they came from one of the groups that is part of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, an organization that operates in the area. The gangs in El Salvador have an intolerant macho structure towards diverse populations, causing forced displacement in the territories they control, extortion and assassinations.
“What I am aware of is that it is in the investigation phase. At the moment there are no arrests, ”an agent from the police delegation in the area told Presentes, without giving further details.
COMCAVIS Trans issued a statement in which it stressed LGBTQ people in El Salvador should enjoy the right to life, integrity and personal security.
“We suffer attacks for the simple fact of having a different sexual orientation or gender identity, which each person expresses with different patterns and gender roles,” COMCAVIS Trans Executive Director Bianca Rodríguez told the Blade.
“Zashy is one more victim of that prejudice and hatred of which we are victims,” said Rodríguez, recalling del Cid’s work as a grassroots activist in San Miguel that she had been doing since 2017. “We do not want violence to continue against LGBT people, and it is for that reason we have made the corresponding call to the appropriate authorities to be diligent with investigations and (for us) to be recognized as citizens with equal rights and guarantees.”
The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has also condemned del Cid’s murder. UNHCR in an article it published explained that it, along with COMCAVIS Trans, in 2020 provided del Cid with assistance and housing after criminal elements forcibly displaced her from her home. Del Cid was enrolled in a training program for entrepreneurs and both organizations were giving her support from the framework of protection and protecting the livelihoods of internally displaced people in the country. Del Cid would have been able to work in a beauty salon in order to support herself.
Community leaders in San Miguel were more united during del Cid’s wake that lasted two days, but Rodríguez told the Blade the fact her family buried her with a masculine gender expression upset them.
“That process was difficult because the family did not want any LGBT people to attend, but a relative eventually allowed Colectivo Perlas de Oriente to attend,” Rodríguez added.
“It is a reprehensible fact, especially because the police have not conducted a credible investigation of the case,” she added. “It is worrying because the prosecutors didn’t even know the victim’s name.”
Zashy's Facebook profile is https://www.facebook.com/zashyzuley.bonferdinads.