What do we know about conflict-related sexual violence against LGBT people in Colombia?

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This resources is relevant for all humanitarian and development practitioners working in the SGBV space, or for those working in Colombia specifically; this important report considers the ways in which sexual violence is used by state and non-state actors to assert dominance over the diverse SOGIESC community, and the ways in which the state fails to offer support to survivors. This resource is an important read for those working in conflict or post-conflict settings.

This brief report brings together evidence of unique types of CRSV against the LGBT population in Colombia during the armed conflict. The report found that all parties (paramilitaries and state security forces) perpetrated violence against LGBT people. The report presents evidence that this violence was systematic violence based on prejudice, and that the violence against the LGBT community had unique qualities.

The report found that violence was used to:

  1. Punish mainly gay men and trans women for ‘renouncing’ the privilege of masculinity
  2. Correct lesbian women with masculine gender expression and trans men, justifying violence as a ‘cure’
  3. Subordinate victims with the aim of reminding them that their bodies are ‘property’ of armed forces; and
  4. Instrumentalise LGBT bodies to terrorise the community

The report considers the intersecting factors the contributed to increased likelihood of CRSV, the longterm impacts of violence, and the failure of the state to uphold the rights of and respond to abuses of rights of LGBT people. The report concludes with victim/survivor demands for reparations and guarantees of safety.

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"This type of violence was used against individuals who crossed socio-cultural norms on sexuality, gender and desire, that is, people who did not fulfil social expectations of what it means to be man-masculine-heterosexual and woman-feminine-heterosexual."

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This brief report brings together evidence of unique types of CRSV against the LGBT population in Colombia during the armed conflict. The report found that all parties (paramilitaries and state security forces) perpetrated violence against LGBT people. The report presents evidence that this violence was systematic violence based on prejudice, and that the violence against the LGBT community had unique qualities.

The report found that violence was used to:

  1. Punish mainly gay men and trans women for ‘renouncing’ the privilege of masculinity
  2. Correct lesbian women with masculine gender expression and trans men, justifying violence as a ‘cure’
  3. Subordinate victims with the aim of reminding them that their bodies are ‘property’ of armed forces; and
  4. Instrumentalise LGBT bodies to terrorise the community

The report considers the intersecting factors the contributed to increased likelihood of CRSV, the longterm impacts of violence, and the failure of the state to uphold the rights of and respond to abuses of rights of LGBT people. The report concludes with victim/survivor demands for reparations and guarantees of safety.