Legal researcher Allison Davenport describes the work of Salvadoran gay-rights activist William Hernández.
El Salvador. For many in the United States, the name conjures up memories of the bloody civil war that ravaged the country from 1980 until 1992, leaving 75,000 dead and resulting in the migration of nearly a fifth of the population. More recently, it triggers images of earthquakes and devastating natural disasters or of a crime-ridden country, where violent gangs terrorize the population with relative impunity. But as with all countries, there are many important stories to be told beyond those captured by U.S. headlines. One of those stories is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community’s struggle to secure human rights protections. Since 1994, William Hernández has been at the forefront of that struggle, fighting for the rights of the Salvadoran LGBT and HIV-positive community, at great personal risk.