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Puerto Rico Ignores Trans Murders, May Reverse LGBT Protection

Puerto Rico Ignores Trans Murders, May Reverse LGBT Protection

Puerto Rico appears to be going through a wave of viscous murders of transgender people.

The US territory has had a hate crime law since 2002 covering crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but activists say that authorities are not using it.

Now Puerto Rican politicians, in response to the murders, want to eliminate LGBT-specific protections from the hate crimes law.

The Puerto Rico Senate late last month approved a provision that would eliminate sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, ethnicity and religion from the current criminal code statute — but leave in political status, age and disability. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the amended penal code during a special legislative session.

Representative Héctor Ferrer, Sen. Eduardo Bhatia and LGBT and Dominican activists blasted the proposed provisions:

“It’s an outrage and now we’re calling upon the House to restore this to where it should be,” said Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

“To eliminate these groups as protected categories is to invite the commission of hate crimes in Puerto Rico,” said Ferrer. “It is a setback in the country’s public policy.”

At least six transgender people have been murdered in Puerto Rico in the last 12 months — but none have been recorded as hate crimes.

According to Sophia Isabel Marro Cruz, the spokeswoman for Transexuales y Transgeneros en Marcha (Transexuals and Transgenders On The Move):

“None of these cases have been considered by the State as hate crimes despite offenders even admitting that their motivation was the ‘homosexual panic’. This shows an extreme level of homophobia and transphobia.”

The Justice Department noted a lack of prosecution under the island’s hate crimes law in a damning report on the Puerto Rico Police Department it issued in September.

The Puerto Rico Department of Justice’s own reports indicate that prosecutors have yet to convict anyone of a bias-motivated crime on the island.

Related stories:

Murders of Trans People in Puerto Rico Go Unrecorded

Honoring Murder Victims on Transgender Day of Remembrance

In the Philippines, Gay People Shot in Drive-By

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Image: Tyler Keegan Grigsby, DC's Transgender Day of Action protest

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35 comments

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3:26PM PST on Jan 17, 2012

It's shameful to kill them based on their sexuality if that's what is happening. These people are disgusting humans. What has happened in their lives to make them so hateful? They certainly aren't filled with joy of living or working on themselves

4:26AM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Thanks.

1:36PM PST on Dec 9, 2011

This is so sad. I find it hard to believe that there are still people who think it is acceptable to judge, criticise and condemn others in this way. I can only hope that step by step we WILL move forward to a world of love, acceptance, tolerance and understanding for all people.

1:46AM PST on Dec 9, 2011

Thank you.

5:29AM PST on Dec 8, 2011

Who is behind this bigotry, the Christian evangelist Republicans? This is criminal.

4:24AM PST on Dec 8, 2011

Very disappointing and disturbing. People's hatred and intolerance is getting worse. People needed to be treated with respect and equally. I wish that officials and people that target those are LGBT in these countries would actually recognise that there are far more disturbing problems with heterosexuals than the people they find easier to target. It's shameful.

10:25PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Hi,

I took the image you're currently using for this article. I request that you either take it down or put a credit to me, Tyler Keegan Grigsby. GetEqual used my images without crediting me, as well. I'm currently working to resolve that issue.
I also think context for the image is also important, saying that it was from DC's Transgender Day of Action protest, specifically about trans violence in our city.

I love Care2 and would be happy to allow you to use my image credited, and given the necessary context. Photography is my profession, I can't just have my work floating around uncredited.

Thanks for your time and understanding,
Tyler K. Grigsby

9:28PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Noted,thanks.

6:54PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Ridiculous!

5:04PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

to date an additional record death rate of 1200 violent deaths approaches for yearend. God bless

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