Deadly anti-LGBTQ+ violence has reached an “alarming” level in many Caribbean and Latin American countries, researchers have found.
According to data collected from nine countries in the region by a network of 10 local groups, at least 1,300 LGBTQ+ people have been murdered throughout the area surveyed over the past five years, Reuters reports, which averages out to about four people per day.
The study — produced in the hopes of raising awareness and pushing regional governments to take action — found that this violence largely targeted young gay men between the ages of 18 to 25 as well as trans women. The victims often had a history of abuse or discrimination.
“At the bottom of these violent deaths of LGBT people is exclusion, and sometimes total exclusion,” Marcela Sanchez of Colombia Diversa, an LGBTQ+ rights group that belongs to the network behind the study, told Reuters. “Many of those deaths do not matter to anyone, not even to their own families.”
The rise of evangelical Christianity in recent years likely also plays a role, she said.
“It’s important to take into account the rise or hardening of fundamentalist, religious discourse,” Sanchez told Reuters.
Such conservative religious rhetoric has also been linked to anti-LGBTQ+ violence in Eastern European countries like Russia and Poland, where the governing Law and Justice party has normalized violent homophobic and transphobic ideologies, empowering thousands of fascists to attack marchers at a Pride parade in July.