On Wednesday June 15, Puerto Rican advocates for LGBT equality met with federal and local officials to discuss investigating violence against LGBT people on the island as hate crimes. Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Puerto Rico Para Todos (Puerto Rico for Everyone) met with representatives from the Department of Justice, Puerto Rican Justice Minister Guillermo Somoza Colombani and Police Superintendent José Figueroa Sancha, as well as federal prosecutors.
According to a report in daily El Nuevo Día, the group discussed the fact that 23 LGBT people have been murdered in Puerto Rico in the past two years. Four of those murders have taken place in the last month alone.
Serrano told GLAAD he felt the meeting went well and expressed confidence that the crimes will be, when applicable, investigated as hate crimes. The meeting comes two days after the ninth annual Gay Pride Parade in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, attended by a record-setting 15,000 people. Many participants carried signs with messages such as "We will always remember you Karlota. We will give you justice," in reference to the most recent victim, Karlota Goméz Sanchéz.
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