After an exhilarating morning painting and donating computers to the Roatan E-Learning Center, we grilled our local guide Wilbur about the state of LGBT rights in Honduras. We’d all heard horrible things about civil rights abuses.
We listened with rapt attention as our charming and eloquent guide told us that things on the mainland weren’t so nice for gays and lesbians, but in Roatan (the tiny island off the coast of Honduras where we spent the day) he assured us, “Things were cool as Kool-Aid.”
Unfortunately, no man is an island. This past month, LGBT civil rights rabble-rouser Walter Trochez, 27, became the 17th LGBT person killed for his sexual orientation on the Honduran mainland since last summer’s military coup. Walter was working feverishly to draw attention to the renewed violence against the LGBT community when he was killed.
Walter’s death underscores the work still to be done in building bridges of understanding all over the world. As American tourists, we have the privilege of traveling to these countries in relative safety, like when 1,200 of us invaded Roatan armed with smiles and good intentions. It is these kinds of interactions and the coverage of our good works (like the local news coverage of Sweet in Belize) that lays the foundation for these bridges.
Read more about Walter and the state of the LGBT community in Honduras.