This morning I got an e-mail from Oscar Lopez with the Latino Commission on AIDS regarding the recent murders of two trans women in Puerto Rico.
Angie Gonzalez Oquendo’s body was found Monday, May 24 in Caguas, and Ashley Santiago was murdered in her home in Corozal on April 19. Lopez says police are investigating both murders and have not ruled out the possibility that these were hate crimes.
If these latest killings are determined to be hate crimes, Lopez says, they will be “the continuation of a disturbing trend,” noting that these murders come less than a year after gay teen Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado (right) was murdered, dismembered and his body set on fire by a man who said the teen was wearing a dress when he picked him up looking for sex, and he thought the young man was a woman.
Juan Jose Martinez Matos confessed to killing Lopez Mercado and earlier this month was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
The e-mail from Oscar Lopez included a statement from Latino Commission on AIDS President Guillermo Chacon, who urged his fellow Puerto Ricans to fight the violence by working to end homophobia, transphobia and all kinds of discrimination.
Chacon said: “I urge the Latino community to be united as one voice and with our personal actions reject any type of homophobia, transphobia and discrimination. We are one family; we must pursue the well-being of all our members. We must address homophobia and transphobia by putting a stop to the jokes, slurs, discrimination and hatred faced by our LGBT brothers and sisters, not just in Puerto Rico but across the entire country. Hatred and violence are never the answer.”