Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, the openly gay teen who was murdered and dismembered two weeks ago in Puerto Rico, was laid to rest Monday. Above is footage from Lopez’s funeral. In case you can’t bear to watch, here’s what Lopez’s mother says, according to the subtitles:
“I said to him, ‘Steven, tell me the truth, trust in me. What’s going on?’ And he lowered his head and started to cry and told me, ‘Mommy, I am gay.’ And I said to him ‘Aw, son, if I loved you, now I will love you even more. … I will love you more.’
“I said to him, ‘What gives me fear is what’s waiting in the streets, the rejection, the stares.’ But he said, ‘Mommy, now YOU know, and that is enough.’ And he was happy for that reason. It took a weight off his shoulders. … And I urge everyone, particularly parents, that if they suffer because of society, they suffer even more when the family condemns them. Steven was happy, I know, he loved me and I loved him. I, who am dumb. But I also gave him advice, because I told him, ‘Steven, there is a lot, a lot of perversion here and there,’ but I loved him. I loved him.”
Michael Lavers, national news editor for Edge Publications, has a post about the funeral on his Boy in Bushwick blog. Lavers says about 1,000 people attended the event in Toa Alta.
El Nuevo Dia further reported López’s aunt and his ex-boyfriend, Luis Rivera, opened the urn that contained the murdered teen’s ashes and placed a necklace and a white rose inside it at the end of the funeral Mass. The newspaper further reported López’s parents hugged their son’s friends and cried.
“We definitely hope people and society wake up and demand justice,” López’s friend José Alicea told el Nuevo Dia (as translated from Spanish into English.)
López’s friends carried balloons and white roses as they walked to the cemetery. Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” played during the procession.
Lavers follows up today with a post saying that Puerto Rican authorities, after meeting with the ACLU, have agreed to investigate the case as a hate crime.