Director & President of Colectivo Alejandría and Secretary General of the LGBTI Salvadoran Federation
Karla Guevara is a feminist activist and human rights defender in El Salvador who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Alejandría Collective (Colectivo Alejandría) and as well as Secretary General at the Salvadoran LGBTI Federation.
Karla has made been making significant contributions to advancing LGBTQI+ rights in El Salvador since 2015, when she collaborated with other LGBTQI+ activists in advocating for reforms to the penal code to effectively address and criminalize hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2018, she worked in support of the Gender Identity Law, championing the demands for name changes for four transgender women in family court.
Karla’s pioneering research on access to justice for transgender women, specifically focusing on the role of prosecutors’ offices, shed light on critical gaps and barriers within the justice system and paved the way for much-needed improvements. In 2021, she presented a bill for Equality and Non-Discrimination to the Legislative Assembly, aiming to rectify systemic injustices and foster a more inclusive society. Karla’s trailblazing continued into 2022, when she became the first transgender women in El Salvador to successfully obtain legal recognition for her name and gender in Family Court.
That same year, with support from USAID’s Global Elections and Political Transitions award, the Alejandría Collective and CEPPS/IRI jointly organized an “Inclusive Elections” forum during Global Pride Month. This event brought together transgender women, transgender men, representatives from LGBTQI+ organizations, human rights advocates, activists, and university students. The forum focused on the participation of vulnerable groups, emphasizing the responsibilities of authorities in ensuring the free and safe participation of transgender individuals and necessary legal protections. This collaboration is continuing with another forum later in 2023 focusing on LGBTQI+ experiences during electoral processes in El Salvador, awareness-rising sessions for civil society organizations on the risks facing transgender individuals in exercising the right to vote, and campaigns encouraging the participation of the LGBTIQ+ community in the upcoming 2024 elections.