A transgender man was murdered in Puerto Rico on Jan. 9.
Media reports indicate authorities found Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín’s body in the middle of a highway in Trujillo Alto, a municipality outside of the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan, after a motorist struck it.
Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, a Puerto Rican LGBTQ rights group, on Tuesday noted to the Washington Blade that Adrián is the seventh trans person murdered in the U.S. commonwealth over the last year.
Two men who allegedly killed two trans women — Serena Angelique Velázquez and Layla Pelaez — in Humacao last April before setting Pelaez’s car on fire — have been charged under the federal hate crimes law.
Alexa Negrón Luciano, a homeless trans woman, was murdered in Toa Baja on Feb. 24, 2020. Yampi Méndez Arocho, a trans man, was killed in Moca less than two weeks later.
Penélope Díaz Ramírez, a trans woman, was killed in a jail in Bayamón on April 13, 2020. Michelle “Michellyn” Ramos Vargas was shot to death in southwest Puerto Rico last October.
Puerto Rico’s hate crimes law includes both sexual orientation and gender identity, but prosecutors in the U.S. commonwealth rarely apply it. Serrano and other activists have also sharply criticized the Puerto Rican government’s response to the murders, anti-LGBTQ hate crimes and general violence towards LGBTQ Puerto Ricans.
“They (authorities) must investigate the hate angle in the Jan. 9 murder of Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, who the police initially treated as a woman, but it’s about a trans man,” said Serrano in a press release.