Transgender woman files claim against police in Dominican Republic

Luz Barbara, a transgender woman from the Dominican Republic, was beaten unconscious by police agents, according to Dominican newspapers Hoy and El Diario Libre. Both articles are accompanied by graphic pictures of the woman's injuries.

A watchdog organization tasked with protecting the human rights for vulnerable populations (ODHGV by the initials in Spanish) took the woman to file a formal complaint at the office of internal affairs. The OGDHGV released a statement noting that the case underscores the level of discrimination faced by the LGBT community in the country. Barbara said she was beaten because she did not give the agents any money and that after the beating they held her without charge at the station.

"[Due to discrimination] sex work has become the only viable economic option. As a result they are exposed to constant police abuse," a representative from ODHGV was quoted as saying.

Deivis Ventura a spokesperson for REVASA (an LGBT organization in the country) noted that this was the most recent in a string of incidents of aggression towards the LGBT community by police in the past few months. He has yet to receive any response from the authorities.

"We are concerned and outraged by these acts as they confirm the high levels of homophobia and transphobia in our country. We cannot stay silent in the face of all these problems that our community is reporting," Ventura said.