New York City coalition condemns ongoing murders of members of the LGBT community in Puerto Rico

Published: September 16, 2010

NEW YORK, Sept. 16 — New York City Stands in Solidarity with the Puerto Rican Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community, a coalition of LGBT groups and elected officials, is outraged by an ongoing series of murders of members of the LGBT community in Puerto Rico. This week, two transgender women were found dead alongside Highway 512 in Juana Díaz. Both women had been shot in the head. Also, a local political leader in Aguada was beaten to death. The two male suspects who confessed to this crime alleged that they killed him because he solicited them for “sexual favors.”

New York City Stands in Solidarity with the Puerto Rican Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community is monitoring the details of these cases as they emerge and is working in coalition with community leaders, local politicians and organizations to address this violence. These murders are the ninth and tenth that we know of in the past year that have targeted LGBT people in Puerto Rico.

Pedro Julio Serrano, communications manager of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, founder of the LGBT rights group Puerto Rico Para Tod@s and a founding member of the coalition, says the law requires authorities in Puerto Rico to investigate whether the murders were motivated by the victims’ sexual orientation or gender identity and urges them to respond adequately to this wave of violence.

In July, the coalition released a report illuminating the recent trends of hate-motivated violence against LGBT people in Puerto Rico. It was released in conjunction with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report Hate Violence against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Communities in the United States. The trends in Puerto Rico mirror national findings that show increased violence against LGBT people with a particular surge in violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people.

The coalition is urging those who experienced or witnessed hate violence to report the incidents. Members are also demanding Puerto Rican authorities to investigate these cases as potential hate crimes. They also urge the public to call the governor, the secretary of justice and the chief of police to voice their concerns. Learn more here.

New York City Stands in Solidarity with the Puerto Rican Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community is a network of nonprofit organizations and elected city and state officials that organized in spring 2010 to monitor, respond to, and end hate violence affecting the Puerto Rican LGBT community. Coalition members include:

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