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ISLAND SILENCE

GLAAD And Ricky Martin Asked Obama To Speak About Puerto Rico’s LGBT Murders, So Why Didn’t He?

At least 18 gay or transgender people have been killed in Puerto Rico in the last year and a half. Puerto Rico has about the same population as Oklahoma and is about two-thirds the size of Connecticut. So ponder this: How would the LGBT community react, if there 18 Connecticut queers got murdered in the last 18 months?

Puerto Rico is part of America, you realize.

Puerto Rican-born pop singer Ricky Martin joined GLAAD in urging President Obama to speak out against the island territory’s anti-LGBT violence. But Obama didn’t. Why not?

Obama’s trip marked the first U.S. Presidential visit to Puerto Rico since JFK. His speech had mostly feel-good mentions of recent Puerto Rican contributions to mainland culture as well as his usual mentions of alternative energy, better jobs, education, and such. But his visit only lasted four hours; just long enough—by Jon Stewart’s estimation—to court the 847,000 Puerto RIcans needed to win Florida electoral votes in 2012.

Maybe Obama feared that mentioning dead queers would have made his feel-good speech a bit of a downer.

His speech did acknowledge Republican Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño however, a man who aggressively worked to strengthen the island’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. And according to Pedro Julio Serrano, communications manager for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the constitutional ban is only a small part of the island’s larger homophobia problem:

“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.”

The administration’s silence on this issue amounts to a tacit endorsement of the violence and homophobic politics there. He might think that the Puerto Rico LGBT community has been watching the developments of queer politics on the mainland and finds hope there, but his speech demonstrates the importance of speaking directly to a region’s cultural issues and he didn’t do that.

If Obama’s Puerto Rican relations are to amount to anything more than a quest for votes, he has to ask the island to face its challenges instead of just painting a rosy picture for its future.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Jun 16, 2011
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 21 Comments
    • christopher di spirito
      christopher di spirito

      Oh, maybe because Obama is a cowardly piece of shit and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the murders of gay and transgendered Puerto Ricans?

      Jun 16, 2011 at 8:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JayD
      JayD

      Or maybe it’s because it was not the appropriate place to do so? There were kids present right? Do republicans give a rat’s ass about the LBGT community?

      Jun 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Me
      Me

      Puerto ricans are dirty animals and should be cut offfrom welfare and sent back to their backward island.

      Jun 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      @JayD:

      Um, WTF?

      Are you suggesting that it’s inappropriate for the president to mention lynchings if there are children present?

      No.

      The way to end lynchings is to explain why its wrong…to CHILDREN.

      Since evidently the adults don’t see anything wrong. Kinda like you.

      Jun 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JayD
      JayD

      Sure go ahead and explain lynchings to young children at a rally that had nothing to do with that subject matter. Don’t dare presume what I deem wrong or right. You do you Crusty.

      @ No. 3, FU. Don’t be bitter because that hot latino refused your advances. You’re the animal, pig.

      Jun 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      @christopher di spirito: Obama isn’t a piece of shit.

      At least, I don’t think he’s a piece of shit.

      But that’s because I hold all 21st century politicians to REALLY LOW standards.

      Jun 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      @JayD: go ahead and explain lynchings to young children at a rally that had nothing to do with that

      Yeah, okay. Let’s just wait until President Obama prioritizes an epidemic of gay lynchings over fundraising.

      Let’s just wait.

      And wait.

      And waaaaaiiiiiit.

      Until he’s term limited out of office.

      That seems to be the moment when Democrats boldly choose to make a stand on behalf of gay rights.

      Jun 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bob
      bob

      I don’t recall Obama speaking out against the dozens of anti-gay states, so why would he suddenly grow a pair in a territory?

      Jun 17, 2011 at 7:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Seaguy
      Seaguy

      It gets old seeing people trash Obama for not being more outspoken on gay issues but they fail to also discuss the realities of American politics and that is Obama has to pick his battles, otherwise the other guys (GOP) will use everything they can against him with their shady Koch Brother funded groups running ads saying Obama wants to hang the gay pride flag at the White House and whatever other outrageous lies they can drum up so that the idiots who vote based on when the TV tells them will vote for one of the candidates who will want to keep don’t ask don’t tell, fight gay marriage, end any federal same sex benefits and basically screw gays. Because while there are some Democrats who are more supportive and outspoken. Do any of them have a snowballs chance in hell at winning?

      Jun 17, 2011 at 8:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ronbo
      ronbo

      @JayD: If we measure President Obama by his actions (not his words or skin color) we’d see that he is a Moderate Republican several paces to the right of Richard M. Nixon.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 8:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bigots everywhere
      bigots everywhere

      @Me: Yes, this solution would make you realize how bigoted and xenophobic you are. I bet you do not have to go far your ancestry tree to realize that you too, came from some sort of dirty animals.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 9:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SteveC
      SteveC

      Well clearly Ricky Martin and GLAAD getting involved meant that Obama knew he was under no obligation to speak.

      GLAAD as an organisation is more concerned with the AT&T and T-Mobile merger.

      Ricky Martin has no problem earning cash from the procceeds of homophobia (he is a spokeswhore for Target remember) so his opinion is pretty much irrelevant.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 10:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jewed Law
      Jewed Law

      Well, for those of you who blindly believe Obama is gay-friendly, I invite you to check out the homophobic political ads put out by his campaign manager, Jim Messina. Oh wait, I forgot — this is the site where everyone WANTS to be blind to the realities of the left. Sorry about that, chief.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 11:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tanner Efinger
      Tanner Efinger

      @Jewed Law: Could you please share a link to these so called ads? I’ve never seen them.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Markie-Mark
      Markie-Mark

      Probably for the same reason that he doesn’t say a word about the lgbt tortures and murders in Iraq; He really doesn’t care.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tjr101
      tjr101

      @Jewed Law: This is not gaypatriot, please backup your accusations with evidence like a reliable link.

      Jun 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • edfu
      edfu

      Because he’s a total fake. Republican-lite.

      Jun 18, 2011 at 12:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • carlos
      carlos

      @Me: what are you? republican from texas? horryble things you say about puertoricans but oh boy, do you love puerto rican hot hung boys!

      Jun 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fred
      Fred

      The residents of Puerto Rico do not vote in the general election for the President. Thus, he has no incentive to address these 18 murders. See http://www.factcheck.org/2008/05/puerto-rico-and-the-general-election/

      Jun 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rocky
      Rocky

      @Me: AND BIGOTS SHOULD BE PUT INTO A ROCKET AND SHIPPED OFF TO SPACE.

      Jun 19, 2011 at 12:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BONERPILLS 4 ALL
      BONERPILLS 4 ALL

      RICKY MARTIN IS GAY???!!!??!!!!!!

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Jun 20, 2011 at 12:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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