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Rash of alleged anti-LGBT attacks spark outrage in Chile

Esteban Parada Armijo died in a Santiago hospital on Jan. 30

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Chile, vigil, Santiago, gay news, Washington Blade, Daniel Zamudio

Chile, vigil, Santiago, gay news, Washington Blade, Daniel Zamudio

Chilean LGBT rights advocates maintain hate crimes remain a serious problem in the country nearly two years after Daniel Zamudio’s death. (Photos courtesy of Fundación Daniel Zamudio.)

Two fatal anti-gay attacks in less than a month in Chile have sparked outrage among LGBT rights advocates in the South American country.

Esteban Parada Armijo, 22, died in a hospital in Santiago, the Chilean capital, on Jan. 30, nearly two weeks after two men stabbed him in the city’s Bellavista neighborhood where a number of gay bars and clubs are located. The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh), a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, said Parada suffered a punctured right lung and broken ribs that damaged arteries and blood vessels during the Jan. 17 attack that took place after he left the bar where he worked.

Authorities have detained one of Parada’s alleged assailants whom Movilh identified as Fernando Medina Medina.

Movilh said Parada told his relatives before his death that his alleged assailants attacked him because he was gay. The LGBT advocacy group noted he was able to identify those whom he said assaulted him.

“My brother did not rob anyone,” said Parada’s sister, Camila Armijo, in a Movilh press release. “They only attacked him.”

Chilean media reports indicate hundreds of people attended Parada’s funeral in Santiago on Sunday.

“Todo Mejora Foundation laments the death of yet another young Chilean, Esteban Parada, in the hands of hatred and violence,” Juan Pablo Fuentealba of the Chilean It Gets Better Foundation (Fundación Todo Mejora in Spanish) told the Washington Blade on Saturday while in New York with a group of seven Latin American LGBT rights advocates who are currently in the U.S. on a State Department-sponsored trip. “Our condolences go to his family and loved ones.”

Parada died less than a month after Guillermo Aguilera Guerrero, 18, allegedly stabbed Alejandro Alfredo Bustamante Godoy in the head, throat and leg during an attack inside his home in the coastal city of Valparaíso. Movilh and Bustamante’s relatives said Aguilera had previously taunted the fast food restaurant owner because of his sexual orientation.

Bustamante, 59, succumbed to his injuries on Jan. 15.

Willian Villanueva, a small-time drug dealer, reportedly said he was going to “kill a faggot” before he allegedly shot Arturo Lomboi to death in the Santiago suburb of Puente Alto in December.

Doctors last June amputated Esteban Navarro Quinchevil’s leg after a group of six men attacked him in the Santiago suburb of Peñalolén because he is gay. A transgender teenager from the coastal city of Cartagena the month before lost an eye during an alleged anti-trans attack.

President Sebastián Piñera in 2012 signed into law a hate crimes and anti-discrimination bill that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The statute is named in honor of Daniel Zamudio Vera, a 24-year-old whom a group of self-described neo-Nazis beat to death in a Santiago park earlier that year because he was gay.

The convicted mastermind of the attack against Zamudio last October received a life sentence for his role in the crime.

“Attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexuals have not stopped,” said Movilh President Rolando Jiménez during the Jan. 20 dedication of a Santiago memorial to honor Zamudio, referring to Bustamante and Lomboi. “They continue with cruel violence.”

Jiménez reiterated his calls for the Chilean government to do more to prevent these attacks – including advancing “more and better conditions of equality in a country where everything indicates that abuses against sexual minorities are on the one hand less, but at the same time more bloody and violent.”

The Chilean Senate last month advanced two bills that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions and permit trans people to legally change their name and sex without sex-reassignment surgery, hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations.

Fuentealba pointed out to the Blade that Chile has the highest rate of school bullying in Latin America.

“If this tide of violence is to change, decision makers must allocate funds for the prevention [of] bullying and violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation,” he said.

Santiago Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello also spoke out against Parada’s death, but Movilh pointed out the Roman Catholic Church remains a vocal opponent of LGBT rights in the South American country.

“Any person, regardless of their life choices, regardless of their deeds, is a person and therefore for us is an image and likeness of God,” said Ezzati. “Everything that opposes the dignity of people is for us a grave offense; not only for this person or these people, but is also a grave offense to God who has made us in his image and likeness.”

President-elect Michelle Bachelet supports efforts to strengthen the country’s anti-LGBT hate crimes law. She also backs the trans rights bill and nuptials for gays and lesbians.

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National

65% of Black Americans support Black LGBTQ rights: survey

Results show 40% have LGBTQ family member

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(Logo courtesy of the NBJC)

The National Black Justice Coalition, a D.C.-based LGBTQ advocacy organization, announced on June 19 that it commissioned what it believes to be a first-of-its-kind national survey of Black people in the United States in which 65 percent said they consider themselves “supporters of Black LGBTQ+ people and rights,” with 57 percent of the supporters saying they were “churchgoers.”

In a press release describing the findings of the survey, NBJC said it commissioned the research firm HIT Strategies to conduct the survey with support from five other national LGBTQ organizations – the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Family Equality, and GLSEN.

“One of the first surveys of its kind, explicitly sampling Black people (1,300 participants) on Black LGBTQ+ people and issues – including an oversampling of Black LGBTQ+ participants to provide a more representative view of this subgroup – it investigates the sentiments, stories, perceptions, and priorities around Black values and progressive policies, to better understand how they impact Black views on Black LGBTQ+ people,” the press release says.

It says the survey found, among other things, that 73 percent of Gen Z respondents, who in 2024 are between the ages of 12 and 27, “agree that the Black community should do more to support Black LGBTQ+ people.”

According to the press release, it also found that 40 percent of Black people in the survey reported having a family member who identifies as LGBTQ+ and 80 percent reported having “some proximity to gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer people, but only 42 percent have some proximity to transgender or gender-expansive people.”

The survey includes these additional findings:

• 86% of Black people nationally report having a feeling of shared fate and connectivity with other Black people in the U.S., but this view doesn’t fully extend to the Black LGBTQ+ community. Around half — 51% — of Black people surveyed feel a shared fate with Black LGBTQ+ people.

• 34% reported the belief that Black LGBTQ+ people “lead with their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Those participants were “significantly less likely to support the Black LGBTQ+ community and most likely to report not feeling a shared fate with Black LGBTQ+ people.”

• 92% of Black people in the survey reported “concern about youth suicide after being shown statistics about the heightened rate among Black LGBTQ+ youth.” Those expressing this concern included 83% of self-reported opponents of LGBTQ+ rights.

• “Black people’s support for LGBTQ+ rights can be sorted into three major groups: 29% Active Accomplices, 25% Passive Allies (high potential to be moved), 35% Opponents. Among Opponents, ‘competing priorities’ and ‘religious beliefs’ are the two most significant barriers to supporting Black LGBTQ+ people and issues.”

• 10% of the survey participants identified as LGBTQ. Among those who identified as LGBTQ, 38% identified as bisexual, 33% identified as lesbian or gay, 28% identified as non-binary or gender non-conforming, and 6% identified as transgender.

• Also, among those who identified as LGBTQ, 89% think the Black community should do more to support Black LGBTQ+ people, 69% think Black LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights and freedoms than other Black people, 35% think non-Black LGBTQ+ people have fewer rights and freedom than other Black people, 54% “feel their vote has a lot of power,” 51% live in urban areas, and 75% rarely or never attend church.

Additional information about the survey from NBJC can be accessed here.

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U.S. Federal Courts

Club Q shooter sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes

Five people killed in 2022 mass shooting in Colo.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. (Justice Department YouTube screenshot)

Anderson Lee Aldrich, 24, formerly of Colorado Springs, Colo., was sentenced to 55 concurrent life sentences to run consecutive to 190 years in prison after pleading guilty to 74 hate crimes and firearms charges related to the Nov. 19, 2022, mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ establishment in Colorado Springs.  

According to the plea agreement, Aldrich admitted to murdering five people, injuring 19, and attempting to murder 26 more in a willful, deliberate, malicious, and premeditated attack at Club Q. According to the plea, Aldrich entered Club Q armed with a loaded, privately manufactured assault weapon, and began firing. Aldrich continued firing until subdued by patrons of the club. As part of the plea, Aldrich admitted that this attack was in part motivated because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of any person.

“Fueled by hate, the defendant targeted members of the LGBTQIA+ community at a place that represented belonging, safety, and acceptance — stealing five people from their loved ones, injuring 19 others, and striking fear across the country,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. “Today’s sentencing makes clear that the Justice Department is committed to protecting the right of every person in this country to live free from the fear that they will be targeted by hate-fueled violence or discrimination based on who they are or who they love. I am grateful to every agent, prosecutor, and staff member across the Department — from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, to the Civil Rights Division, the ATF, and FBI — for their work on this case. The Justice Department will never stop working to defend the safety and civil rights of all people in our country.”

“The 2022 mass shooting at Club Q is one of the most violent crimes against the LGBTQIA+ community in history,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI and our partners have worked tirelessly towards this sentencing, but the true heroes are the patrons of the club who selflessly acted to subdue the defendant. This Pride Month and every month, the FBI stands with the survivors, victims, and families of homophobic violence and hate.”

“ATF will not rest until perpetrators like this defendant are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Steven Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “I hope today’s life sentence brings at least some peace to the victims and survivors of this senseless, horrific tragedy. That this sentence should come during Pride month reinforces how far we have left to go before all communities, including all LGBTQIA+ communities, are safe here. It also shows how far ATF and all our partners will go to ensure hatred does not win.”

“The defendant’s mass shooting and heinous targeting of Club Q is one of the most devastating assaults on the LGBTQIA+ community in our nation’s history. This sentence cannot reclaim the lives lost or undo the harms inflicted. But we hope that it provides the survivors, the victims’ families, and their communities a small measure of justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our message today should be loud and clear. No one should have to fear for their life or their safety because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The Justice Department will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who perpetrate hate-fueled, bias-driven attacks.”

“Hate has no place in our country and no place in Colorado” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch for the District of Colorado. “I hope that today’s sentence demonstrates to the victims and those connected to this horrific event that we do not tolerate these heinous acts of violence.”

The FBI Denver Field Office, Colorado Springs Police Department, and ATF investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alison Connaughty and Bryan Fields for the District of Colorado and, Maura White of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.

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Federal Government

EXCLUSIVE: Robert Garcia urges US officials to protect LGBTQ people during Pride Month

Gay Calif. congressman sent letter to top authorities on June 12

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Participants of the Capital Pride Festival in D.C. on June 8, 2024. Gay U.S. Congressman Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) has urged U.S. officials to ensure LGBTQ people are safe during Pride Month. (Washington Blade photo by Emily Hanna)

U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) on June 12 sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray to work to ensure LGBTQ people during Pride events.

“Over the last several weeks, your respective agencies and departments have issued stark warnings, and travel advisories to the public over potential threats from foreign terrorist organizations (FTO), and their supporters during this year’s Pride Month,” said Garcia in his letter. “I understand that these steps have come after deeply concerning increases in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, calls for targeted violence, and foiled violent plots.”

The FBI on May 10 issued an advisory that warned of potential violence at Pride events and other LGBTQ-specific events. The State Department on May 17 — the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia — announced a similar warning.

“Ensuring that people can peacefully and safely celebrate Pride and the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community is of utmost importance,” wrote Garcia, a gay man who represents California’s 42nd Congressional District that includes Long Beach.

June 12 also marked eight years since a gunman killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The massacre at the time was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, even though there is no evidence that suggests the extremist group ordered him to carry out the massacre. 

“This week marks the eight (sp) anniversary of the horrific Pulse nightclub Orlando shooting — during which the attacker deliberately and viciously targeted the LGBTQ+ community,” wrote Garcia in his letter. “It is important to put the recent escalation of extremist anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda and messaging in the context the Pulse nightclub shooter who was influenced by these same forces of extremism.”

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