Press

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

Date: 
September 16, 2010

MEDIA CONTACT:
Pedro Julio Serrano
Communications Manager
(Office) 646.358.1479
(Cell) 787.602.5954
pserrano@theTaskForce.org

NEW YORK, Sept. 16New 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: http://www.avp.org/documents/AVP_RapidResponse.pdf.

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:

New York State Sen. Thomas K. Duane
New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn
New York City Councilmember Rosie Mendez
New York City Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito
New York City Councilmember Daniel Dromm
New York City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer
Connected Health Solutions
Lambda Legal
Latino Commission on AIDS
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
New York City Anti-Violence Project
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
Gay Men’s Health Crisis
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
The Puerto Rican Initiative to Develop Empowerment
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Unid@s, the National Latina/o LGBT Human Rights Organization

For a copy of New York City Stands in Solidarity with the Puerto Rican Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community, please visit http://www.avp.org/documents/nycsolidaritypr.pdf and for a copy of Hate Violence against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Communities in the United States, please visit http://avp.org/publications/reports/reports.htm.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.