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March 29, 2024

Meet four transgender individuals who are striving to empower displaced LGBTIQ+ people in their communities

Individuals identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex or Queer (LGBTIQ+) often face discrimination, persecution and violence. In 67 countries, same-sex relationships are illegal, carrying severe penalties, including death.

Although many LGBTIQ+ individuals have been forced to make the difficult decision to flee their homes in search of safety, they often face additional barriers that prevent them from going to school, finding safe accommodation and jobs, running businesses and accessing healthcare. Despite these challenges, LGBTIQ+ individuals continue to prove resilient — not only overcoming barriers but also finding ways to empower others in their communities through activism and leadership. 

This Transgender Visibility Day, meet four individuals shattering barriers in their communities through their involvement in the LGBTIQ+ Committee of Valle de Sula. Based in Honduras, this group designs protective measures for LGBTIQ+ individuals and implements advocacy and awareness campaigns to address the challenges faced by forcibly displaced individuals.

Landry Thomas [She/Her] 

Landry is a transgender woman and a dedicated leader advocating for the rights of the transgender community in Garifuna, Honduras. 

With a profound understanding of the challenges transgender individuals face, she works tirelessly to uplift their voices — aiming to raise awareness about the specific needs and issues of the Garifuna transgender community and focusing on promoting equality, inclusivity and respect for all, regardless of their identity. 

Her leadership within the LGBTIQ+ Committee of the Sula Valley and active engagement in community outreach underscore her commitment to fostering positive change and providing essential support and resources.

Yosny [They/Them]

As a part of the 14 organizations collaborating with the LGBTIQ+ Committee of Valle de Sula, Yosny is a Coordinator at Colectiva Diversa Porteña and is deeply committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity. 

Yosny’s role is pivotal in guiding the Colectiva Diversa Porteña's strategic direction and operations, ensuring dedication to advocating for diverse communities' rights and well-being.

Yosny envisions a more inclusive society and collaborates actively with team and community members to develop and implement initiatives that celebrate diversity and promote equality. Additionally, Yosny works hard to create platforms for dialogue, raise awareness and support marginalized communities.

Rhianna [She/Her]

In the Garifuna community, Rhianna is a dynamic and influential LGBTIQ+ leader who actively strives to advocate for and empower transgender individuals like herself. 

She deeply understands their unique challenges and relentlessly advocates for visibility, acceptance and equality. 

At only 22, she has already become a beacon of hope, empowerment and representation for LGBTIQ+ in her community. Through her leadership within the LGBTIQ+ Committee of Valle de Sula, she is committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for all.

Norman [She/Her]

Originally from San Miguel de Guancapla, Hondorus, Norman has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first transgender woman certified as a Honduran folklore dancer. Overcoming numerous obstacles and challenges to follow her passion for folkloric dance, her dedication, talent and perseverance have allowed her to challenge traditional gender norms in the artistic arena.

She inspires other members of the LGBTIQ+ community to pursue their dreams and challenge social barriers.

For many in her community, Norman is a beacon of inspiration. She demonstrates that dreams can be achieved regardless of gender, identity or barriers.

How to help… 

Around the world, UNHCR works to ensure the inclusion of forcibly displaced LGBTIQ+ people through collaborations with local and refugee-led LGBTIQ+ organizations. Working with groups like the LGBTIQ+ Committee of Valle de Sula helps create inclusive and safe spaces for LGBTIQ+ refugees and displaced persons. By becoming USA for UNHCR’s newest monthly donor, you can help UNHCR continue to support these initiatives and ensure that displaced LGBTIQ+ individuals around the world are protected, empowered and have brighter futures.

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