Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Mother of Slain Gay Puerto Rican Teen Speaks Out; Protests and Vigils Break Out Worldwide

Miriam Mercado and Pedro Serrano show Jorge's Signature Gesture (Nueva Dia photo)

San Juan, Puerto Rico – The mother of brutally murdered gay teen, Jorge Steven López Mercado, has broken her silence concerning the social and religious environment in Puerto Rico that led to the loss of her son (see Nueva Dia photo, left).  In a statement issued to the press, Miriam Mercado said, “When my son told me he was gay, I told him, ‘Now, I love you more’. I want to tell the world that hatred is not born with human beings, it is a seed that is planted by adults and is fostered creating a climate of intolerance and violence. We must change our ways and understand that anyone… could have been my son. And I want everybody to know that Jorge Steven was a very much loved son.”  Meanwhile, the investigation into López Mercado’s murder continues, even as protests and vigils spring up on his home island and around the world, condemning the violence that took his life.  After Juan A. Martínez Matos confessed to the beheading, dismemberment, and burning of young López Mercado, his home was intensively searched.  Forensics experts recovered a knife believed to have been used in the murder that had been thrown into a septic tank.  Statements Matos has made about the events leading up to his savage crime make it likely that he will plead a form of the “gay panic defense,” claiming temporary insanity after ‘discovering’ López Mercado’s sexual identity.  Matos is being held in San Juan on $4 million bail.  At a large protest on the grounds of the Puerto Rican capitol on Thursday, Pedro Julio Serrano, a leading LGBT activist, called out political and religious leaders who have characterized gay and lesbian people as “perverts,” condemning their hate speech for contributing to lethal violence against members of the sexual minority.  Serrano also decried the refusal of these same leaders to extend condolences to López Mercado’s mother and family.  On Sunday, vigils took place around the United States, Latin America, and Europe in memory of the 19-year-old Puerto Rican and another gruesomely slain gay teen, African American Jason Mattison, Jr., who died within days of López Mercado, making last week one of the most shocking in recent anti-LGBT hate crime history.  Thousands of mourners gathered to remember the teens in Anchorage, Alaska, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, CA, San Francisco, Chicago, Terra Haute, IN, San Antonio, Dallas, Abilene, Lubbock, New Orleans, Atlanta, Durham, NC, Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia and New York City, as well as in San Juan and at others sites in Puerto Rico.

November 23, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Blame the victim, Condolences, Decapitation and dismemberment, gay men, gay panic defense, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, immolation, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Politics, Protests and Demonstrations, Puerto Rico, religious intolerance, Remembrances, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings, Torture and Mutilation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!?” It would be so easy to blame God for the hatred that we ourselves are responsible for nurturing. I pray that our voices of justice will be heard around the world, and I know that someday, with the help and perserverance of people like Dr. Sprinkle, there will be equality for our community. From a Native American legend, I can dream of and see a day when the White Buffalo will be born so that we will all love each other and the Mother Earth as the Creator intended us to do. My heart and love go out to the families and friends of these young men, as well as all the past victims’ families. Know that you are loved and I will continue to pray for you and for a better world! May the Great Spirit bring you peace and comfort. Love in Christ, Norma Gann, Brite Divinity School student.

    Comment by Norma Gann | November 23, 2009

  2. […] Mother of Slain Gay Puerto Rican Teen Speaks Out – Unfinished LivesNov 23, 2009 … Miriam Mercado and Pedro Serrano show Jorge’s Signature Gesture (Nueva Dia photo). San Juan, Puerto Rico – The mother of brutally … […]

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