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Trans Day of Remembrance 2009

By Charlotte Robinson, November 20, 2009
Let's put aside our political agendas & take a moment to memorialize those who were killed merely because of the hatred & prejudice against our Transgender Community...... Today we honor Jorge Steven López Mercado who was murdered last Saturday in Puerto Rico. Mercado, a Puerto Rican native, was found partially burned, decapitated & with his arms & legs dismembered, on the side of the road near his home town Caguas, Puerto Rico on November 14th. Read More... "We must stop the homophobic slaughter," stated Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum. "Since Matthew Shepard's murder in 1998, there have been over 16,000 gay hate crimes & on average, about 1,450 LGBT hate crimes per year."
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Malcolm Lazin said...

We call on US Attorney General Holder to investigate and prosecute in federal court this horrific crime. The decapitation and
dismemberment of Jorge Lopez Mercado reminds America that we need to eliminate homophobia in our schools, communities and culture. There will also be a Vigil in New York City on Sunday, November 22nd. It is our hope that communities around the nation will hold Vigils to remember Jorge and that his memory will be a call to conscience.

Malcolm Lazin, Equality Forum Founder & Executive Director

Lambda Legal said...

We offer our sincerest condolences to Jorge Steven's friends and family. His death is shocking, and we stand with them and the entire LGBT community of Puerto Rico in saying, 'No more.'
The tragic murder of a young person underscores the danger that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face every day, and the need for strong laws that protect all of us equally, without exception. When the government and the legal system make clear that each of us has a right to a life free from violence and discrimination, it strengthens society for all its members. Puerto Rico has a hate crimes law, but as far as we know, it has never been used to prosecute any crime involving sexual orientation or gender identity. If it turns out that Jorge Steven was killed for his sexual orientation or gender identity, his suspected killer may be the first to be tried under that law. It encourages us that local authorities are investigating the murder as a possible hate crime, and that the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office in San Juan are considering applying the new Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, signed into law last month by President Obama.

This weekend the LGBT Latino communities of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and other cities will join that of San Juan in a vigil for this young man, and this Friday, November 20, we also mark the third annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance in honor of all transgender victims of violence. But vigils and remembrance must lead to action. Through Lambda Legal's Proyecto Igualdad, Transgender Rights and Youth in Out-of-Home Care projects – and all the work we do – we are making the case every day for equality, safety and dignity for all LGBT people.

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