Brazil: 15 Killings of Transgender Persons Reported in September

Transgender people in Brazil continue to be killed at an extremely concerning rate. According to the National Association of Travestis and Transexual People (ANTRA), 15 trans people were killed in Brazil in September alone, an average of one every 48 hours. From January 1 to September 30 of this year, 89 transgender people have been killed across the country. In the majority of these killings, evidence of extreme violence is present, as seen in the following examples:

            On September 15, the body of 26-year-old travesti Bruna Torres was discovered in the state of Sao Paulo.[1] Bruna’s throat had been slit while her hands and feet were tied.

            On September 20, the body of Médely Razard, a 15-year-old transgender girl, was found in a wooded area in the Sao Paulo metro area. Médely was found with a gag in her mouth and signs of physical trauma. The police concluded that she was sexually assaulted and killed by strangulation with a cord.

            The body of travesti Junia Bispo was found on September 29 in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, showing various signs of a violent attack including thirteen stab wounds.

In August of this year, as ANTRA submitted the report Killings and Violence Against Travestis and Transsexual People in Brazil: 2018 to Inter-American Human Rights Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, the organization’s Secretary of Political Relations Bruna Benevides said:

“This dossier is stained with blood and based above all on a cry for help. What more can we do as institutions, companions, organizations and movements to prevent other travestis, trans women and men and non-binary people from being killed for who they are?”

More transgender people are killed in Brazil than in any other country, with 163 such cases recorded in 2018. It is clear that trans people in Brazil live in a context of great violence and that the Brazilian state is not achieving, or even seeking to achieve, protection of trans people’s lives.

As Brazil experiences a serious political backlash against the LGBTI population, it is essential to bring attention to the danger that trans people face and their basic struggle to survive. As part of Race and Equality’s continued commitment to equality and justice, we call upon the Brazilian state to investigate these deaths and guarantee that all Brazilians can freely express their sexual orientation and gender identity.


[1] Travesti is a category of gender identity frequently used in Latin American countries. It describes a person who is assigned a male gender at birth and assumes a feminine gender role, sometimes through “feminizing” body modifications such as hormone therapy, breast implants or silicone injections.

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