Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Another Horrific Trans Murder in Puerto Rico: Anti-Trans Violence Epidemic Continues

Corpse of slain transwoman transported to coroner (Primera Hora photo/ David Villafañe)

Caguas, Puerto Rico – In less than two months, police in Puerto Rico are investigating the savage murder of another transgender woman.  Angie González Oquendo, 38, was found strangled to death with an electrical cord in her home in Caguas.  Police have not yet designated the murder as a hate crime, but LGBT activists familiar with the outbreak of anti-LGBT violence in Puerto Rico are calling for a full hate crime investigation.  EDGE Boston reports that the last time Ms. González Oquendo was seen alive was May 20.  Investigators believe she was murdered later that same day. El Nuevo Día reports that the body of the slain transgender woman was found when neighbors reported a repugnant odor coming from her apartment. Though Ms. González Oquendo’s father believes that her boyfriend murdered his daughter, Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said to reporters that a hate crime investigation must be launched nonetheless.  Speaking to EDGE, Serrano said, “At the very least, I suspect that a crime could have been committed by prejudice against the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The authorities have an obligation under the law to investigate this hate angle.” Angie González Oquendo is the most recent in a grim series of anti-LGBT hate murders in the United States Territory.  Five weeks ago, police discovered the body of Ashley Santiago Ocasio who had been stabbed to death in her home in Corozal.  In November of last year, Jorge Steven López Mercado’s decapitated, dismembered and partially immolated body was found on a lonely rode outside Caguas.  His murderer, Juan Martínez Matos, was sentenced to 99 years in prison after pleading guilty to the Silence-of-the-Lambs-style killing.  The transgender community in Puerto Rico is understandably on edge as this latest news of murder sweeps through the population.  Transgender people are among the most vulnerable citizens of the island paradise, and transphobic murder is emerging as a substantial indicator that such violence is reaching epidemic proportions. EDGE reports that Guillermo Chacon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS, issued a statement just as the story of Ms. González Oquendo’s brutal murder broke in the press.  In part, Mr. 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 is never the answer.”

May 25, 2010 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Decapitation and dismemberment, gay men, gay teens, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, immolation, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Puerto Rico, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings, Strangulation, transgender persons, transphobia, Uncategorized, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Another Horrific Trans Murder in Puerto Rico: Anti-Trans Violence Epidemic Continues

   

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