For about 10 months, Kysha Cristelia López was locked up in a men’s prison, stripped naked, beaten and sentenced to 40 years in prison for allegedly financing the roadblocks in the department of Carazo in 2018. She studied law at the Paulo Feire University, a of the houses of studies confiscated this 2022 by the Nicaraguan dictatorship.
Upon leaving prison in May 2019, he finished his university career. She is a stylist and is currently still besieged by the Police of the Ortega-Murillo regime. She was imprisoned in the “Jorge Navarro” National Penitentiary System in Tipitapa, a prison for men, violating her identity as a transgender woman.
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On July 9, 2018, Kysha López was apprehended at her home in Carazo, in the raid, she says, more than 37 thousand dollars and 58 thousand córdobas were seized. All that money was the fruit of her savings, but nothing was returned to her. She was confiscated. The Police also occupied López’s house for 15 days to loot everything she had. She lost all the furniture and products of a beauty salon and a cosmetics store that she had started in her home.
When he was imprisoned in “La Modelo” he says that he suffered “bullying” by some of his cellmates. In addition, she suffered physical and psychological abuse by the jailers. “In Nicaragua there is no rule of law or respect for citizen rights. Here if you think different you are imprisoned, or they disappear, “said López.
«The situation in Nicaragua, in the month of gay pride, there is no freedom. If the rights of men and women are also violated, worse that they respect the rights of the LGBTIQ+ population. Your sexuality is not a crime. It is a crime by some homophobic citizens, they believe that a world that is natural, created by God to make changes, is going to disappear, “she added.
Disrespect for gender identity
The 30-year-old political prisoner states that her confinement in the men’s prison was a “heartless act” and a violation of human rights because she defines herself as a woman and that must be respected by the Nicaraguan State.
«When I define myself as a woman, they must respect me and take care of me because my physical integrity as a woman is at risk. In Nicaragua we live a diversity of people where they must respect the identity of each person », she argued in an interview with Article 66.
I advocate that every human’s gender identity be respected and that it shouldn’t matter if a person defines themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The trans woman considers that society’s ignorance and lack of respect for the LGBTIQ+ population is also the State’s fault for the lack of education on these issues in schools.
“Being a transgender woman in Nicaragua is a crime, both labor and social, politically. You can’t work, they want to force you to say your name, define yourself and dress as you don’t feel comfortable. I have not seen that someone of sexual diversity has political leadership. Many people of diversity have to live in a glass bubble to be able to eat and survive in this country », she exhorted.
She dressed like a man to work
Kysha López recalled that on several occasions she had to dress as a man to be able to pursue her career as a lawyer. In the Diriamba courts she was told that she had to arrive in a loose male outfit because she has a bust and that she is “a little man”, she had to present herself as Richard López, the name chosen by her parents . She insisted that she “has to lead by example.”
He has handled alimony, property, slander and injury cases, in civil, criminal and family matters. Even the police officers in the courts have made “mockery and ridicule” at her when she arrived dressed as a man saying “here comes the lawyer”.
Kysha was sentenced by Judge Adela Cardoza, she says that the judge made fun of her and discriminated against her for crossing her legs during the reading of the sentence. At the end of the trial she forced her to sit “as a man”.
She considers that the path has not been easy, but she has been fighting against everything that comes her way to get ahead and forge a future as a transgender woman in a conservative society that rejects diversity and has many stigmas against the LGBTIQ+ population.
Transgender women in Nicaragua are mostly dedicated to styling, sex work or start informal businesses due to lack of opportunities, stigma and rejection by Nicaraguan society. Kysha López assures that in Nicaragua the lack of culture of respect for the diverse population prevails.