Venezuela’s shrinking economy has sparked an exodus of LGBT+ people as the economic crisis has put the brakes on the country’s growing tolerance towards its gay and trans community, activists told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Not that Venezuela was ever an easy place to be different.
For years, Daniel Arzola endured homophobic abuse from his neighbours in Maracay, a city in the north of Venezuela.
Homophobic slogans were daubed on the walls of his house and he was shouted at in the street.
“One day, a group of neighbours tied me with old cables to an electric pole and they threw fireworks at me,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Chile.
“They also put out some cigarettes on my body, while others destroyed all the drawings that I brought with me.”
Eventually, Arzolo, a 29-year-old artist, was forced to flee his native Venezuela for Chile.
“My answer to all this was to try to ignore them, but you can’t ignore it forever,” he said.
Arzola’s story is not unique, but things may be getting worse.
“The impact of the crisis on LGBT+ people is evident,” said Tamara Adrian, a lawyer and politician living in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital.
“As a vulnerable population, they do suffer the consequences of the crisis much worse.” Read more via Reuters