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Obama urged to speak out on gay violence in Puerto Rico. He didn't.

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When Obama made his historic visit to Puerto Rico, Ricky Martin participated in a campaign by GLAAD to ask President Obama to speak out against the spike in violent killings against the Puerto Rican LGBT community.

Singer Ricky Martin also joined the campaign on Monday by re-tweeting a link to the online action.

In the last year and a half, at least 18 gay or transgender people in Puerto Rico have been killed, three of them just last week. Although advocates believe many of these victims' lives were taken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, authorities have not been treating the cases as hate crimes.

"As our gay and transgender brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico are being brutally murdered, the mainstream media continues to turn a blind eye," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "News outlets have a responsibility to report on these vicious, hate-motivated crimes and to hold law enforcement accountable for charging suspects appropriately."
President Obama should have said something. He didn't. And, also it should be noted the climate against the LGBT community has become more hostile because of conservative Republican politicians.
The political climate has grown considerably more hostile for LGBT individuals in recent years. In 2010, Republican Gov. Luis Fortuño aggressively worked to strengthen the island’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. But activists on the island say that’s just the most formal effort in a wide-ranging attack against the island’s queer community.

“Part of the problem is we have a government that’s been silent on these murders,” said Serrano. “The president of the Senate has called LGBT people ‘twisted’ and ‘mentally ill’ and that incites violence.” He added: “Also we have religious leaders that have been using language that also incites that violence, and we hold them accountable for these crimes as well.”

Notably, after Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin came out as gay, he was met with considerable hostility from the island’s top religious leaders. Luis Aponte Martínez, Archbishop Emeritus of San Juan de Puerto Rico, called on the singer to “not promote homosexuality,” according to
If any other minority had experienced this many deaths, obviously based on a climate of hostility against them, would our President at least acknowledge that positive change needs to happen? Another missed opportunity.

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