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04/19/2007


Man Arrested for Bomb Threat Directed at Activist, Gay Rights Demonstration in Puerto Rico

SerranoA man has been arrested in Puerto Rico for a bomb threat directed at LGBT rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano and an upcoming LGBT rights demonstration, the AP reports:

Special Agent Moises Quniones says the suspect was taken into custody at home in San Juan on a cyberbullying charge. Joseph Morales Serrano is accused of using the micro-blogging site to post a threatening message directed at activist Pedro Julio Serrano ahead of gay rights demonstration. The two men aren't related.

The message in Spanish said "watch out during the demonstration, it can end like in Boston," an apparent reference to the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing.

The suspect is to appear before a judge today and faces up to five years behind bars.


Two Men in Women's Clothing Found Shot Beside Road in Puerto Rico

Two men in women's clothing were found dead beside a road in Puerto Rico on Monday, the Canadian Press reports:

Puerto-rico "A police officer discovered the victims, each one shot in the head, during a pre-dawn patrol in the city of Juana Diaz, according to a police statement. An unidentified 28-year-old man has been arrested and his car seized in connection with the case. Pedro Julio Serrano, the founder of the gay rights group Puerto Rico for All, said the island's laws obligate authorities to investigate whether the double slaying was motivated by the victims' sexual orientation or gender identity. Serrano said nine gay and transsexual people have been killed over the last 10 months in Puerto Rico, which has recorded a total of 682 slayings this year. He said authorities have not responded adequately to what he called a wave of crime targeting gays."

More (in Spanish) from Noti Uno.

(image source)


News: Dinosaur, Ted Koppel, Atlantis, Marina Abramovic, Sweden

 road

The Rise of GetEQUAL.

 roadPolitico's Ben Smith profiles SLDN executive director Aubrey Sarvis, 'Don't Ask Deal's Unlikely Activist'...

Horns  roadRecently-discovered dinosaur was extremely horny...

 roadJeremy Piven is a waxing fanatic.

 roadTexans hold "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest outside Fort Hood: "More than two dozen people from all over Central Texas held up signs that read 'Gay or straight, all are heroes' and 'Stop unjust discharge of gays and lesbians.' Organizers say they gathered there not only to honor gay and lesbian soldiers who have served and died, but to show their support for gay and lesbian soldiers who are currently serving as well. 'They can't reach out to us. They can't be out to tell us. We have to reach out to them,' organizer Irene Andrews said."

 roadTed Koppel's son found dead after daylong drinking binge.

 roadSenate confirms Laura Duffy as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California in San Diego: "Duffy, an out lesbian, is known for her successful efforts fighting drug cartels that operate on the U.S.-Mexican border. Her prosecution of Tijuana’s Arellano Felix cartel resulted in a life sentence for its leader, a notorious drug kingpin."

 roadPuerto Rican activist Pedro Julio Serrano has cancer biopsy.

Burtka  roadNeil Patrick Harris threw a surprise party for David Burtka in NYC.

 roadThe artist is no longer present: Performance Marina Abramovic finishes sitting at the MOMA.

 roadIs the real Atlantis beneath the isle of Santorini in Greece?

 roadNew Hampshire to celebrate first anniversary of marriage equality: "New Hampshire Stonewall Democrats are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Gov. John Lynch signing gay marriage into law. The group and other supporters will celebrate Tuesday in Concord. Lynch signed the law a year ago this coming Thursday... Senate President Sylvia Larsen, House Speaker Terie Norelli and other legislative leaders are expected to attend as is Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes. The celebration will be a 105 N. State St. at 6 p.m."

 roadBackpacker shoots Grizzly with handgun in Denali National Park.

 roadEllen and Portia spend Memorial Day in Mexico.

Cooper   roadBradley Cooper does Details.

 roadThe NYT looks at the vetting of priests by the Catholic Church: "Beyond his assertion that 'I know it when I see it,' no one interviewed for this article was able to describe exactly how screeners or seminary directors determine whether someone’s sexual orientation defines him. Some Catholics have expressed fear that such vagueness leads to bias and arbitrariness. .. 'And not the least irony here,” he added, 'is that these new regulations are being enforced in many cases by seminary directors who are themselves gay.'"

 roadA League of Their Own inspiration dies.

 roadMale model fix: Bruno Rosendo.

 roadDavid Silver is looking good.

 roadSweden named Europe's most pro-gay country.

 roadBritain's youngest mayor is a gay man: "Apart from their red robes and gold bling, mayors are known primarily for their venerable age. But Retford, in Nottinghamshire, has taken the radical step of appointing the youngest mayor in the country, 23-year-old Ian Campbell. Campbell was this month elected as a Labour district councillor for Bassetlaw, beating his Conservative rival by just 15 votes. Surprisingly, the Conservative-controlled council then nominated and voted Campbell to be mayor for the year...Campbell rose to prominence as a gay rights activist after being thrown out of his family home for coming out. In 2009, he was named Nottinghamshire's young person of the year for his work visiting schools and colleges nationwide, and running workshops to counter homophobic bullying. His sexuality was not an issue during his campaign to be elected a councillor, which pleased him.


NYC City Council Speaker, Officials Make Anti-Hate Trip to Puerto Rico to Visit Family of Slain Gay Teen

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To show solidarity with the family of slain gay teen Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado and other victims of anti-gay hate crime, seven elected officials (including five from the NYC city council) traveled to Puerto Rico this week to meet with the LGBT community there, Gay City News reports:

"Quinn said that [Councilwoman Melissa] Mark-Viverito raised the idea of the trip at a fundraising event for López Mercado’s family at Manhattan’s Nuyorican Poets Café on January 12. Mark-Viverito and two Chicago Latina elected officials — State Senator Iris Y. Martinez and Representative Maria Antonia Berrios — had already planned the visit, in part to deliver money raised in support of the murdered man’s family. The East Harlem Council member suggested Quinn join them. Quinn, in turn, quickly enlisted the participation of the Council’s other three LGBT members — Democrats Rosie Mendez of the East Village, Daniel Dromm of Jackson Heights, and Jimmy Van Bramer of Sunnyside-Astoria. Dromm and Van Bramer just took office this year. Another key player in putting the trip together was Pedro Julio Serrano, who made history in 1998 as the first out gay legislative candidate in Puerto Rico and now works for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in New York."

A Show of Solidarity in Puerto Rico [gay city news]


Suspect in Gay Puerto Rican Teen's Murder Sent for Mental Evaluation

Juan Martinez Matos, charged in the murder of 19-year-old Puerto Rican gay teen Jorge Lopez Steven Mercado in mid-November, has been sent a psychiatric ward to undergo an evaluation following a pre-trial court appearance.

Matos Yesterday I received an email from Christopher Pagan, who first alerted me to the murder via an iReport filed on CNN. Pagan was present at the court appearance.

Here's Christopher's full email:

Today December 9, 2009 was the set date pretrial of Juan Martinez Matos the killer of Jorge Steven Lopez. The pre trial was taking place at 10:30 am at the local court in Caguas Puerto Rico, near where he was murdered. As I went upstairs to the courtroom, I immediately heard that the psychological evaluation that was performed on Juan was in the total amount of thirty minutes. That he was noted to have anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and was unable to remember the events of that gruesome night, when he beat, burned, decapitated and dismembered Jorge.

He was deemed as incapacitated to speak and take part in the pre trial and was to be sent later to the Psychiatric Ward of Puerto Rico, where he would then be evaluated again on January 7, 2009, and he is to remain there until that date. Yaritza Carrasquillo the prosecutor on the Jorge case was demanding answers, as to why all of a sudden Jorge’s killer was unable to give a testimony as to what happened that night, and she was then told that he is still under mental trauma.

Later Yaritza told the press that he would be set for another evaluation in early January, and that the main goal for the moment is to prove a cause for first degree murder, and to take the process step by step. She also requested towards the end of the day when the press was gone, but I had stayed, that the Pretrial be immediately followed after the mental evaluation, to avoid “coaching” on Juan’s side once he is evaluated.

I was sitting in the court room later that day which was the only time Juan was seen and ironically when the press had left. Since he had to be present for his future dates. He seemed cold yet scared all at once, had no expression whatsoever on his face. When he realized that there were eight witnesses involved in the case. Including Jorge’s father, Luis (Jorge's Lover), officers and investigators he became a bit nervous and uneasy.

Jorge’s father also made a statement which I was able to capture and record, and translate. Indicating that the killer is using a excuse and ploy, and that he's using the insanity claim to buy time. Also that he is very sure that Juan Matos knows what he did, remembers what he did, and the way he did it. Jorge’s father also demanded that justice be served in this case.

Activist Pedro Julio Serrano told EDGE that he was furious about what's happening: "This is outrageous. The reality is we’re seeking justice and we will not rest until this process is done without prejudice."

Serrano has received assurances from investigators that the case is being investigated as a hate crime.

The next pre-trial date in court is January 13.

Two videos shot by Pagan at the pre-trial — one of Mercado's father and the other of prosecutor Yaritza Carrasquillo, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Suspect in Gay Puerto Rican Teen's Murder Sent for Mental Evaluation" »


Watch: Pedro Julio Serrano Scolds Gay Puerto Rican Nightclub Crowd for Negative Remarks About Transgender People

Serrano

Pedro Julio Serrano, an activist and the Communications Manager for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, scolds the crowd at Krash nightclub in San Juan, Puerto Rico in this recent video, after reportedly hearing negative remarks about transgender people while serving as a judge for a contest at the club.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Jorgemercado Serrano has been extremely active in advocating proper justice in the recent horrific murder of gay teen Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, which is being investigated as a hate crime.

Thousands marched through the streets of San Juan on Wednesday in a vigil for the slain 19-year-old.

Recently, Doug Ireland reports in Gay City News, Serrano contradicted implications in the murderer's confession which suggested Mercado was dressed as a woman.

Said Serrano: "None of Jorge Steven’s friends, and I’ve spoken to many of them, knew anything about his ever having engaged in sex work, not his family, and not the police. Nor was he known as a cross-dresser. He identified and lived as a very proud gay man, he was very genuine and authentic. He was just very fashion-oriented and what you could call a gender-bender, but not in a transgendered way. We do not know if the murderer’s claim that Jorge Steven was wearing a dress is true or not, because the body had been so dismembered, its legs and arms and torso strewn in different locations, and it had also been burned along with the clothes he was wearing."

Watch Serrano's powerful speech to clubgoers at Krash in San Juan, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Pedro Julio Serrano Scolds Gay Puerto Rican Nightclub Crowd for Negative Remarks About Transgender People" »


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