Another violent act on the trans community

Transgender woman beaten in a correctional center in New Mexico after fleeing from Honduras

More stories from Stephanie Janssen


Photo by Washington Post

Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, taken from the Washington Post.

In the United States, there is an ongoing trend of violence against the transgender community. There are so many people that have hard prejudices against this community. Even our current president is trying to write transgender people out of legislature.

According to The Washington Post, the body of a transgender asylum-seeker who died after becoming sick while held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement was found with evidence of physical abuse, according to an independent autopsy.

Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez died just weeks after she arrived in the United States from Honduras after presenting herself at the San Ysidro port of entry in May. While in custody at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico, she developed severe diarrhea and vomiting and was transferred to a hospital, according to the autopsy and The Washington Post article.

This autopsy was included as part of a “notice of wrongful death” claim filed by the Transgender Law Center on behalf of Hernandez and her family in advance of a lawsuit it plans to file against federal immigration agencies like ICE and Customs and Border Protection. The notice of claim says the autopsy shows that Hernandez “endured physical assault and abuse while in custody.”

The autopsy said Hernandez was found with deep bruising on her rib cage and deep contusions on her back, which were “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with a blunt object.” Her wrists showed deep soft tissues and musculature bleeding, which it said were typical of injuries from handcuffs.

“According to observations of other detainees who were with Ms. Hernandez Rodriguez, the diarrhea and vomiting episodes persisted over multiple days with no medical evaluation or treatment, until she was gravely ill,” Sperry said.

Hernandez was part of a caravan of migrants organized by the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras that arrived in early May. According to BuzzFeed, the group said she was first detained in a holding cell known as an icebox because of its frigid conditions.

She told BuzzFeed that she fled Honduras to escape the discrimination and violence she faced as a transgender woman.

“Trans people in my neighborhood are killed and chopped into pieces, then dumped inside potato bags,” she told the outlet. “I’m scared of that.”

What I want to challenge our country to think about is: How many more perfectly good human beings are going to killed because of the heavy discrimination against people that don’t fit “the norm”?

There needs to be change. Hernandez Rodriguez thought she was coming to a country where she would escape the discrimination against her, but she didn’t know she just fled one bad country to come to another bad country.

“Treat others how you would want to be treated”: The golden rule you learn at a young age in the United States. Why do so many U.S. government programs not follow that rule at all?

I challenge the country to learn respect for everyone, you don’t have to like everyone just show fellow human beings some respect.

Janssen can be reached at [email protected].