Reports: Colombian Paramedics 'Abandon' Trans Patient Alejandra Monocuco, Leave Her to Die

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday June 4, 2020

Paramedics in Bogotá, Colombia reportedly refused care to a transwoman living with HIV named Alejandra Monocuco, and left her to die.

The tragic story was covered by HIV news site Plus, which cited Spanish language Colombian news site Pasto.

Pasto reported that Monocuco died on May 29 after paramedics responding to a call from Monocuco's housemate learned that she was HIV-positive and refused her treatment.

According to another news source, El Tiempo, Monocuco's housemate thought that she might be suffering from COVID-19.

Juliana Salamanca, a spokesperson for Trans Community Network, told Pasto:

"The ambulance arrived in 50 minutes. They took her temperature and said she had no symptoms of COVID-19, [and that her condition] could be an overdose. When [the housemate] informed the ambulance staff that Alejandra had HIV, they withdrew. They said it was nothing serious."

But Monocuco died a short time later.

LGTBQ people have long suffered from disparities in health care, facing stigma, refusal of service, hostility, and prejudice from homophobic medical providers, staff, and bureaucrats.

Plus reported that the Secretary of Health for Bogotá, Alejandro Gómez, acknowledged this, saying:

"...the health conditions of people, the diseases they eventually suffer, their sexual, political or cultural orientations can never be barriers to health care and the exercise of their rights."

Social media users treated the death as another example of lethal anti-trans violence — the violence of deadly neglect, in this case — and encouraged others to "say her name" in acknowledgement and remembrance.

Monocuco was 39.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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