Cuerpos excluídos, rostros de impunidad. Informe de violencia hacia personas LGBT en Colombia en 2015.

Violaciones a los derechos humanos de las personas LGBT en Colombia


They are not isolated cases. They are crimes due to widely extended social prejudices.

The State must prevent, investigate, punish and guarantee non repetition of these crimes.

This report is the result of the joint work of Colombia Diversa, Caribe Afirmativo and Santamaría Fundación.Colombia Diversa, Caribe Afirmativo y Santamaría Fundación.

Key Definitions

Sex assigned at birth

Being born with certain genitalia does not determine whether a person is male or female. Sex "is not an innate biological fact; it is assigned at birth based on the perception that others have about its genitals".

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, “Basic Concepts”.

For example, transgender women are assigned a male sex because of the belief that being born with a penis implies being a male. However, transgender women are women.

Constitutional Court of Colombia, Judgment T-476/14, July 9, 2014.

Gender identity

It refers to the gender with which each person feels identified, independent of the sex with which he/she was classified at the time of birth.

Transgender woman, transgender man and transgender person

"The term transgender women refers to people whose gender, assigned at birth, is male, while their gender identity is female. On the other hand, the term transgender men refers to those whose sex, assigned at birth, is female, while their gender identity is male. The term transgender person can also be used by someone whose identity lies outside of the woman/man binary”.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Violence against LGBTI Persons, November 2015, par. 21.

Gender expression

It refers to the external manifestation of different characteristics culturally considered as masculine or feminine, which may include corporal interventions, speech, dress, manners and interaction with other people.

Sexual orientation

It refers to the sexual and affective attraction that a person feels towards others of the same gender, of a gender different from his/hers or belonging to more than one gender, as well as the capacity to maintain affective and sexual relationships with them. According to this, we talk about lesbian women, gay men, heterosexual people or bisexual people.

However, this terms should not be applied as a standard equation for all cases because people do not always develop a self-identity according to cultural expectations about their sexual practices, affective relationships and bodies. Hence it is necessary to differentiate between:

Self-aware identities

When someone uses one of the categories of the acronym LGBT to identify itself.

Perceived identities

When someone can be identified as part of the LGBT population because of their body, sexual practices or erotic-affective relations, without this implying that they define themselves as such.

Violence due to prejudice towards sexual orientation or gender identity constitutes a form of gender-based violence.

Violence due to prejudice

We understand violence due to prejudice as that which is exercised over individual bodies or groups of people "for being what they are." That is, when:

  1. The perception of the victim as part of an inferior social group and thus determining and justifying different violent acts to be committed against him/her.
  2. To keep him/her subordinated or excluded, coming even to the point of physically eliminating him/her.

Signs of prejudice as the motive or cause of a crime against an LGBT person can be identified and grouped into five main areas:

  1. Selection of the victim.
  2. The type of violence perpetuated against the victim.
  3. Context of the facts.
  4. Prejudice from judicial operators.
  5. Social context.

According to the most recent national and international standards for the protection of LGBT people, , violence due to prejudice towards sexual orientation or gender identity constitutes a form of gender-based violence.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that such acts "constitute a form of gender-based violence, driven by the desire to punish those whose appearance or behavior appears to challenge gender stereotypes."

Report on Discrimination and Violence against People Because of Their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, May 4, 2015, par. 21

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated that prejudice-based violence because of sexual orientation or gender identity is related to "traditional social norms on gender and sexuality" that lead to gender inequalities and widespread discrimination against women.

Violence against LGBTI People Report, November 12, 2015, par. 50.

The Justice and Peace Chamber of the Superior Court of Bogotá acknowledged that "violence based on sexual orientation or diverse gender identities... is a form of violence belonging in gender-based violence, but this is not the only form it takes”.

Judgment against Arnubio Triana Mahecha alias Botalón et al., December 16, 2104,, párr. 992.

Main Recommendations

Guarantee of the rights of LGBT people

Issuing and implementing a National Public Policy to guarantee the rights of LGBT people. Within the framework of this Public Policy, actions should be coordinated in terms of prevention, protection, investigation, sanction and guarantees of non-repetition of human rights violations against LGBT persons brought forward by Forensic Medicine, the National Police, the Prosecutor´s Office and the Public Ministry.

Protocols for femicides and prejudice motivated crimes

Creating protocols to identify suspected cases of femicide in which the victim was a lesbian, bisexual or transgender woman, or prejudice motivated crimes of gay, bisexual or transgender men.

To assign cases to prominent prosecutors

Establishing clear criteria to assign investigations for crimes against LGBT persons to prosecutors posted for this specific purpose within every Prosecutor´s Office. In cases where the victim is known to be an LGBT person but which are not assigned to these prosecutors, to include investigation lines from the hypothesis of them having been prejudice motivates crimes and to include gender-based violence standards.

Disciplinary investigations should not replace criminal justice

Following the the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, disciplinary investigations should not replace criminal justice in cases of human rights violations. Therefore, the Prosecutor’s Office must investigate all allegations of police violence and these facts must be sanctioned by ordinary justice, which does not exclude the police or the Attorney General´s Office from conducting internal disciplinary investigations.

Prevention and follow-up of allegations on police violence acts

Implementing mechanisms to prevent and monitor allegations on police violence acts, including the eventual withdrawal of the reported police from the area where the events occurred while the respective investigations are carried out, as well as monitoring their actions in other quadrants in the case they are transferred. This must be done in order to reduce possible retaliation towards the victims and to prevent similar acts to be repeated elsewhere.

Creating gender pairs

The Delegate Ombudsman's Office for Women's Rights and Gender Issues should create gender pairs to assist, advise, accompany and provide psychosocial and legal support to LGBT victims of discrimination and violence in all Regional Ombudsmen Offices and articulate themselves with other Delegate Offices at the regional level.

Integral reparation measures

To implement, in conjunction with the National Memory Center, comprehensive reparation measures to rebuild the memory of LGBT victims of the armed conflict and their organizations.

Carrying out pedagogical actions for victims

To develop pedagogical actions with the victims already registered in the RUV to let them know that people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities can state it in their declarations when making reports. This activates the differential approach route for LGBT people and helps to improve State databases and actions.

Cuerpos excluídos, rostros de impunidad. Informe de violencia hacia personas LGBT en Colombia en 2015.

Report made by:

With the financial support of:

Delegation of the European Union in Colombia

the Swedish Cooperation in Colombia



This document was produced with the financial support of the Delegation of the European Union in Colombia, the Swedish Cooperation in Colombia, Diakonia and Astraea. The content of this document is the exclusive responsibility of Colombia Diversa, Caribe Affirmativo and Santamaría Fundación and in no way should be considered as reflecting the position of the European Union or of the other organizations or entities that supported it.

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