Alexandra Andino, born in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, where she was a leading activist, fled from Honduras in 2009 after being kidnapped and tortured. Today she has a refugee status in Spain. In an interview with a Spanish newspaper, she reported the hell that forced her to flee Tegucigalpa, how she was abducted, sexually and physically assaulted, in early 2009, just for being a transgender activist.
“My father found out that I like guys when I was 15 years old. He hit me and I had to leave home, The family is the first to discriminate you and that blow gives you strength to go on. If you can get them to accept your situation, what does it matter what outsiders think?” She said.
According to Alexandra, the society in which she lived led her to keep her sexuality hidden, for a while unable to really be the person she wanted to be. At 18, after winning the acceptance of her family, she even had her own hairdresser and started to be an activist. Thanks to her, the Arcoíris (Rainbow) Association, until then only focused on gay, lesbian and bisexual people, also started to deal with transgender issues.
“I went out to the streets to look for them, gave condoms, discuss issues with them … It was the first time anyone cared so much in Honduras for the transsexual community. We brought together about 250 people and began to have visibility, to make statements, to be news on the media … we could say we were already organized, “.
But then came 2009 and with it a coup d’etat. “The new government said it would end the scourges and we believed that things would improve, not knowing that we were the scourges. They began to kill us in droves,” said Alexandra, who reveals that she went more than a hundred times to the morgue to recognize the body of colleagues.
Honduras has the highest murder rate of any country according to TGEU
Alexandra walked the streets of Tegucigalpa with fear, not knowing if she would return: “If i didn’t come back with a stone blow in my head, i was spit on. But what hurt the most were the words.”.
She received threatening phone calls and even during her speech in a TV program: “I was publicly told that they were coming for me and my tongue was going to be cut out”.
Shortly after that she was kidnapped and tortured for 27 days. Her captors ended the kidnapping by pulling her off a ravine believing she was dead. Before, she was shot in each leg. “I asked them thousands of times to be killed but they denied, I had to suffer more than others” Andino said. After living that hell she decided to travel to Spain, where she’s living since 2012.
Regarding her life in Spain she tells it has been difficult to get used to the change: “Getting used to a different country and being in a shelter has been difficult. Not having a work permit for some time also … Luckily we share the same language. It opens doors,” she explained.
She has received visits from her parents in different occasions. Those whom she has not yet seen are her four brothers. They are sorely missed, but she does not plan to return to Honduras yet.
“Honduras is a beautiful country but it has left me an inside wound, a bad taste”. “I will not be silenced. There is no respected to life. Not only with the LGBT community, but with everyone. People are killed every day,” she notes.
“Life must be lived in every moment. I live it to the fullest. The solitude and blows make you mature. I cried all I had to mourn. Now I have to work hard and show the world I’m worth,” she added.