Latin America: IGLHRC Mourns the Death of Two Prominent Transgender Activists

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) mourns the deaths of two prominent transgender activists from the Latin American region.

Nadia Echazu died on July 18, 2004, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Born in Salta, Argentina, Nadia was one of the most prominent leaders of the national transvestite (*) movement. In 1995, toghether with other activists like Maria Belen Correa, They founded ATA (Asociacion de Travestis Argentinas). Nadia, coordinated ATTA between 1994 and 1996. Lately She also founded OTTRA (Organizacion de Travestis y Transexuales de la Republica Argentina). Both groups networked with some other Transgender organizations. ATA was one of the main forces behind the repeal of the Police Edicts, local ordinances that allowed Buenos Aires police to arrest people without charging them with any offense and keep them locked for up to a month in 1997. Nadia was particularly courageous in her struggle against police brutality, to the extent that her life was threatened many times; she was repeatedly subjected to physical and psychological abuse by local police. She always denounced those incidents, in spite of reprisals.

Marcela Prado died on July 23, 2004, in Curibita, Parana, Brazil. Mercela joined the LGBT movement in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil in 1987, when she started attending consciousness-raising groups. In 1992, she was among the founders of today's most important LGBT organization in that Brazilian state, Grupo Dignidade. In 1995, she was among the founders of ABGLT, the national coalition of LGBT groups in Brazil. At the moment of her death, she was Vice-President of Grupo Dignidade. ;Marcela was also very involved with the National STD and AIDS Program implemented by the Brazilian Minister of Health. She worked professionally for the Health Department in Curitiba designing and supervising the implementation of STD/AIDS Prevention Programmes for transgender people, gay men and sex workers.

IGLHRC remembers their work and courage and join others in solidarity at mourning their untimely deaths.