Two Transgender Women Found Murdered in Puerto Rico

Two transgender women were found murdered in Puerto Rico on Monday, reports El Nuevo Dia. According to the media outlet, local police discovered the bodies of two individuals “dressed in women’s clothes” along Highway 512 in Juana Diaz with bullet wounds to the head. Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian task Force urged the Puerto Rican authorities to investigate the deaths as hate crimes, according to Edge. In a statement Serrano said: "At the very least it is probable that these crimes could have been motivated by prejudice based on the victims’ sexual orientation or gender identity." He added "the authorities have an obligation under the law to investigate this hate angle." Serrano said "We urge the police and the prosecutor to appropriately and quickly investigate this double murder and to classify them... as hate crimes if they discover enough evidence to determine it was motivated by prejudice." The murder of these two women is the latest in a rash of anti-LGBT murders happening on the island. Since 2002, more than 25 gay or transgender individuals have been murdered. Among these were: Ashley Santiago Oscasio, who was stabbed to death in her home in April, and Jorge Steve Lopez Mercado who was stabbed, decapitated, dismembered and partially burned late last year. Two months ago, the New York City Council, which represents the largest Puerto Rican constituency in the Continental US, declared July 13th the “Day Against Homophobia” in direct response to the anti-gay and transgender murders in Puerto Rico. GLAAD is working to elevate these stories to a national platform as well as monitor the coverage.