Last weekend, 19 year old George Steven Lopez Mercado, a popular member of the Puerto Rican gay community, was found murdered.
According to the towleroad.com website, "he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso."
Making matters worse, the police investigator suggested he "deserved" his fate, because of his "lifestyle."
I have been to Puerto Rico, since coming out, and, like many other areas of the Caribbean, anti-gay sentiment runs deep. I remember feeling a bit threatened by some local hoods that were lingering around the gay club at the beach in San Juan that I went to...they were very vocally predatory. It may have been in the 90s, but it is no secret that this is hardly a gay-friendly environment.
According to the AmericaBlog report on what the police had to say:
Here's the Spanish version of what the investigator reportedly told Univisión about the victim:
"Este tipo de personas cuando se meten a esto y salen a la calle saben que esto les puede pasar."
I speak Spanish fluently, so let me give you a rough translation:
Someone like that, who does those kind of things, and goes out in public, knows full well that this might happen to him.
John Aravosis also writes that it is time for the Justice Department to investigate, now that we have a Hate Crimes law in effect.
To sign an online petition asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate, go to the online action center that AmericaBlog set up by pointing here.
As towleroad.com reports, an arrest has been made and a "gay panic" defense has been initiated.
To follow this story at towleroad, click here.
To visit the newly created facebook page on this crime, click here.