Save Fernanda Milan

[Trigger warning: rape, transphobia]

A Guatemalan asylum-seeker is fighting to avoid deportation in Denmark.

Fernanda Milan was horrifically mistreated upon her arrival at the Danish refugee camp Centre Sandholm. Her hormone treatments were suspended and she was placed in the male wing of the camp. She ran away after being gang raped by several men who forced their way into her room, and was then trafficked to a brothel before finally being offered support by anti-trafficking organisation Reden International.

But Fernanda faces worse should she return to Guatemala. Trans people in the Central American country face violent murder at the hands of vigilantes and the police. Trans activist Johana Ramirez, of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender People, estimates that the average life expectancy of trans people in Guatemala is 25. Oppressive “Christian” moral values are reinforced by the powerful Roman Catholic Church.

Danish authorities don’t take transphobia seriously. Fernanda was told by police to accept personal responsibility for her rape because she “chose” to be trans. The Danish Red Cross –  who run Centre Sandholm – appear to deny all responsibility for the incident. “Basically a transgender woman is likely to be placed in a male dormitory but in a single room. But we would not place her in a women’s dormitory because that is definitely for women, where cannot permit ourselves to place a man.” says Red Cross head of asylum Anne La Coeur.

Denmark does not recognise gender identity as grounds for asylum, meaning that Fernanda now faces deportation on Monday 17 September. Denmark, along with the UK and Ireland, opted out of the new EU directive on asylum that includes gender identity.

“What I’m most afraid of when I go back, isn’t being killed. What really petrifies me is being attacked and tortured,” says Fernanda.

This shocking miscarriage must justice must not go ahead.

You can take action to support Fernanda by signing this petition.

(Petition is in Danish: Fornavn = 1st name, Efternavn = Surname, By = Town/city. For country select “Storbrittanien” if you are a UK citizen living in the UK)

There is also a protest taking place outside the Danish Embassy in London on Monday 10th September.

6 thoughts on “Save Fernanda Milan

  1. if i can make and afford the costs of getting to the demo i will be there to report on it for Bournemouth Digital Productions. I can not make the demo and other readers do please use your camera phones to record it in either photos or video and send me at your photos and reports. I will edit them together and post it to youtube, here and Bournemouth Digitial Productions Facebook page.

  2. (Being Danish, the petition uses ‘efternavn’ not the Norwegian ‘etternavn’)

    It’d be nice to see the new left block government start actually doing something about the situation with regard to trans rights in Denmark, but sadly, it doesn’t look particularly like they will. The last government (which included the godawful Dansk Folkeparti – racists) managed to make the debate around asylum seekers so heated and hysterical that I suspect it’s going to be thought important not to seem to be supporting asylum seekers too much. Politics. Meanwhile, a person’s life hangs in the balance.

    Sandholm is pretty fucking awful all round, as well.

  3. If you do not understand Danish, then do seek the assistance of a bilingual Dane the next time you write a blog-post on affairs, where all the primary sources are in Danish.

    The Red Cross have not commented on the incident, because for legal reasons, they can’t disclose Fernanda Milans personal affairs. Fernanda Milan can demand a statement from them, and then she would be free to publish it. But due to tight protection of privacy-laws in Denmark, the Red Cross can’t speak to the press about the case. They can speak to Miss Milan, who can then relay their words to the press.

    I can find no primary source, where Fernanda Milan accuses the police of telling her to accept responsibility for the rape. One policeman have, according to Miss Milan, said being trans was a choice. That is as far as her accusations against the police have gone, as best I can tell.

    I do not believe in giving asylum, if you are not individually prosecuted. Denmark is a small country, and can’t house every sexual, ethnic or sectarian minority, that is currently prosecuted, somewhere around the world. We would almost quadruple our population from the Saudi Arabian women alone.

    Rape is horrific, and I believe Miss Milan should be granted asylum under a “you break it, you buy it”-clause, because we let her too close to asylum-seekers from violently misogynistic cultures.

  4. ‘Rape is horrific, and I believe Miss Milan should be granted asylum under a “you break it, you buy it”-clause, because we let her too close to asylum-seekers from violently misogynistic cultures.’

    That is some rather unfortunate language choice, there…

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