Trans man killed amid Puerto Rico’s ‘wave of homophobic and transphobic violence’



Puerto Rican police are investigating the dying of a transgender man discovered with a number of gunshot wounds Jan. 9.

A motorist was driving on an unlit part of freeway in Trujillo Alto, a municipality about 15 miles southeast of San Juan, when she hit one thing, based on the native information website WAPA. As she bought out of the automotive, she realized it was a lifeless physique and notified authorities, who recognized the sufferer as Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín.

Police initially misgendered Damián, who listed on Fb his present residence as Juncos, lower than 15 miles from Trujillo Alto.

Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín.by way of Fb

Lt. José Padín, murder director with the legal investigation unit in close by Carolina, advised the San Juan Day by day Star that Damián “had no identifications nor had been there relations who had been in a position to determine him beforehand.” His mom and stepfather had been ultimately in a position to determine his physique, however used his delivery identify, based on the Star. “His mother advised me that he would at all times favor for others to name him Samuel, Sam or Sammy when he was out within the streets,” Padín mentioned.

No motive or suspects have been introduced.

Damián is the seventh identified transgender particular person to die by violence in Puerto Rico since final February, based on the Transgender Regulation Heart.

Pedro Julio Serrano, founding father of the LGBTQ advocacy group Puerto Rico Para Todas, mentioned police aren’t doing sufficient to deal with “the wave of homophobic and transphobic violence that haunts us like by no means earlier than.”

“Police fail to adjust to their protocols and ignore, make invisible and reduce the intense downside,” Serrano wrote Monday in a press release on his web site calling on authorities to “examine the hate angle within the homicide” of Damián.

Puerto Rico’s hate crimes legislation contains each sexual orientation and gender id, however, based on Metro Weekly, native prosecutors hardly ever apply them.

After the charred stays of two trans ladies had been discovered inside a burned-out automotive in Humacao final spring, the FBI stepped in to hitch the investigation. In April, the suspects, Juan Carlos Pagán Bonilla, 21, and Sean Díaz de León, 19, turned the primary individuals in Puerto Rico to face federal hate crime fees.

The victims — Layla Peláez, 21, and Serena Angelique Velázquez, 32 — had been discovered simply days after one other transgender lady, Penélope Díaz Ramírez, 31, was crushed and hanged in a males’s jail in Bayamon.

In February, Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, also called Alexa, was shot to dying in Toa Alta at some point after being reported to police for utilizing the ladies’s rest room in a McDonald’s. Ruiz’s attackers reportedly posted video of the capturing on social media.

The next month, Yampi Méndez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender man, died in Moca after being shot twice within the face and twice within the again. Méndez had reportedly been assaulted by a girl simply hours earlier than the capturing.

The physique of nursing college scholar Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas was discovered late September close to a farm in San German within the southwest. Vargas had been repeatedly shot within the head and left on an remoted highway.

In 2020, at the least 44 transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals had been killed in in the USA, based on the Human Rights Marketing campaign, making it the deadliest yr for the reason that group started monitoring such deaths in 2013.

Damián is already the second identified trans particular person to die by violence this yr, following the dying of 28-year-old Tyianna Alexander, who was shot to dying in Chicago on Jan. 6.

The Transgender Regulation Heart grieved Damian’s dying in a tweet Wednesday, writing, “We’re horrified at what you skilled in your final moments. Trans males deserve dignity and the possibility to thrive.”

Within the early morning hours of New Yr’s Day, Damián posted on Fb about his pleasure for the “new yr to come back.”

“[I’m] grateful for all of the experiences that taught me how sturdy we actually are,” he wrote. “To life, to good and unhealthy, and for all justice that’s to come back forth.”

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