Connect with us

News

Activists in violence-plagued Honduras city hold Pride parade

Gangs, police target San Pedro Sula’s LGBT residents

Published

on

LGBT rights advocates in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, take part in a Pride parade on July 15, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Freddy Funez)

Hundreds of people from across Honduras on Saturday participated in a Pride parade that took place in one of the world’s most dangerous cities.

Kendra Stefani Jordany, a transgender woman who is running for the Central American Parliament, is among the roughly 400 people who took part in the march in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula.

A bill that would allow trans Hondurans to legally change their names on legal documents are among the issues that Jordany and other parade participants highlighted. They also marched in support of LGBT Hondurans’ participation in the country’s general election that is scheduled to take place on Nov. 26.

Freddy Funez, a local LGBT rights advocate, told the Los Angeles Blade the first Pride parade in Honduras’ second-largest city took place in 2000. He said people lined the streets on Saturday and watched the parade as it made its way through the city.

“What we want is that our vote, our voices are included in these public political processes,” he told the Blade.

Funez told the Blade a group of “homophobes” shot guns into the air during the parade. He said a group of evangelical Christians with loud speakers gathered in a park in downtown San Pedro Sula, but parade participants “did not realize what they said because we were in our celebration.”

Funez said nobody was injured during either incident.

“We want to demand the same rights that any other Honduran has in this country,” he told the Blade.

Parade participants seek ‘more inclusive society’

San Pedro Sula, which has a population of more than 700,000 people, is roughly 150 miles northwest of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

San Pedro Sula in 2015 had 171.2 murders per 100,000 people, which made it the most dangerous city in the world that it is not in a war zone. This figure dropped to 111.03 murders per 100,000 people in 2016.

René Martínez, a prominent local activist who was a member of President Juan Orlando Hernández’s ruling National Party, was found strangled to death in June 2016 after leaving his home in San Pedro Sula’s Chamelecón neighborhood.

Funez, who worked closely with Martínez, and other activists with whom the Blade spoke earlier this year while reporting from San Pedro Sula said police officers and gang members frequently target trans sex workers for extortion and violence and force them to sell drugs. They also said local residents who publicly criticize the gangs and the police and file formal complaints against them often receive threats that force them into hiding.

A lack of employment, education and health care and poverty have made many members of San Pedro Sula’s LGBT community susceptible to violence and discrimination. Many of them have chosen to flee the country for Mexico, and ultimately the U.S.

“We marched with the entire LGBTI community for a more inclusive society,” Javier Carrington, a local LGBT rights advocate, told the Blade.

The parade took place less than a week after David Valle of the Center for LGBTI Development and Cooperation, a Honduran advocacy group, was brutally attacked inside his home in Tegucigalpa.

Valle was scheduled to attend a meeting of Honduran advocacy groups in San Pedro Sula on Monday the U.S. Agency for International Development has organized.

Valle was expected to attend a meeting of Honduran LGBT and intersex advocacy groups in the city of San Pedro Sula on Monday that the U.S. Agency for International Development has organized. Valle, who ran for office in 2011, has participated in Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute-sponsored meetings and conferences in Honduras, the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

U.S. Federal Courts

Suspended prosecutor files suit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

“What’s happening here is, he’s trying to throw out a free and fair election,” Warren said on CNN early Wednesday

Published

on

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (L) Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren (R) (Screenshot/YouTube WFTX-TV, Fox 4 News Cape Coral)

FORT MYERS, Fl. – Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, an elected Florida prosecutor removed from office by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for signing a national pledge to not prosecute women and doctors for violating Florida abortion statues or families seeking treatments for transgender minors, filed suit Wednesday in United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Governor DeSantis’ office issued a statement two weeks ago saying: “We are suspending Soros-backed 13th circuit state attorney Andrew Warren for neglecting his duties as he pledges not to uphold the laws of the state.”

DeSantis’s move, per a clause in the state’s constitution, would have the effect of removing Warren from office. 

“DeSantis’s Order does not identify any actual conduct by Warren related to his official duties involving alleged criminal activity for seeking gender-affirming healthcare or abortion,” the lawsuit said. “DeSantis’s Order does not identify any other conduct by Warren or other reason sufficient to justify a suspension.”

“What’s happening here is, he’s trying to throw out a free and fair election,” Warren said on CNN early Wednesday. “Even my 8-year-old understands this.”

Warren described the pledge circulated by prosecutors around the country as “a value statement,” not a definitive decision on how he might handle any particular case. He also noted that Florida’s new ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation has been ruled unconstitutional and that the state doesn’t even have a law against hormone treatments for transgender minors.

“The First Amendment protects the right of elected officials to speak out on matters of public controversy, and in fact, it does so because it’s so important that the voters who choose these elected officials know where they stand on these issues,” Jean-Jacques Cabou, a lawyer for Warren, said in a phone interview with Fox affiliate WFTX-TV, Fox 4 News Cape Coral.

Continue Reading

Utah

Prosecutors announce hate crime charges in attack on gay teenage couple

A 17-year-old was charged with assault, the 19-year-old was charged with criminal mischief & both youths with hate crime enhancements

Published

on

Christian Peacock (L) and Jacob Metcalf (Screenshot via KUTV 2 CBS Salt Lake City

SANDY, Ut. – Christian Peacock and his boyfriend Jacob Metcalf were standing at the end of Peacock’s driveway in this suburban Salt Lake City town hugging and quietly chatting in “a long goodbye for the night,” two weeks ago when a Nissan-Infinity sedan with five young male occupants rolled by slowing down and one of them yelled “Fuck you, faggots.”

Minutes later the Infinity returned and one of the young males got out and continued act aggressively using homophobic epithets and then when Christian Peacock stepped in to protect his boyfriend, he was punched sending him to hospital that left him with a mild concussion and brain swelling.

Earlier this week the Salt Lake City Tribune reported that a 17-year-old boy has been charged with allegedly punching Peacock sending him to hospital.

Sgt. Greg Moffitt with the Sandy Police Department told media outlets that the 17-year-old suspect’s friend, Hayden Perry Stowell, 19, also faces charges, after he went back and allegedly vandalized the LGBTQ Pride flags displayed in front of the Peacock home in retaliation for his friend’s arrest.

Prosecutors have added hate crime enhancements added to both of their other court charges.

The Tribune reported that the 17-year-old was charged in juvenile court with assault, a third-degree felony; and initiating a riot, a second-degree felony.

Stowell has been charged in 3rd District Court with retaliation against a witness, a third-degree felony; and criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor.

The charging documents for the 17-year-old say he told police he approached the couple and “clearly targeted” them due to their sexual orientation, the Tribune reported.

He allegedly also told officers that he didn’t like that Peacock and Metcalf were displaying physical affection openly in their driveway. The 17-year-old refused to identify anyone who was in the car with him at the time of the attack, the charges state.

A witness later identified Stowell as also one of the occupants of the car during the attack on Peacock.

Peacock’s boyfriend had recorded portions of the incident which was later posted to social media. According to the Tribune, Jocelynn, 19, Peacock’s sister grabbed her phone and started taking pictures of the alleged assailant and the others in the car. She also chased the car down the street and captured the license plate number. She then shared both on her Instagram and Snapchat pages.

One of her friends recognized the car and knew the person who drove it and gave Jocelynn the kid’s address. Jocelynn went there and spoke to the mother of that boy.

“Do you know what your son has done?” she asked, according to Peacock and Metcalf, who went with her.

The Salt Lake Tribune and other media outlets in the Salt Lake region generally do not identify minors who have been charged with crimes, unless they have been charged and bound over for trial in adult court.

The case could become a test of the state’s new hate crime law, which hasn’t been used extensively since it was put in place in 2019 after a Latino father and son were attacked at their tire shop, the Tribune noted.

A community group had put up Pride flags to show support for Peacock and his boyfriend Metcalf in their neighborhood but surveillance footage taken two weeks after the attack — shows Stowell, the suspected vandal, outside the victim’s home, according to the Sandy Police Department.

Stowell allegedly pulled out the flags, which were found “strewn about” the front yard and the street, police said, and at least one flagpole was broken, the Tribune reported adding that Stowell allegedly “ripped down the pride flags” 12 hours after his 17-year-old friend was booked into juvenile detention in connection with the July 30 assault, charging documents state, noting that the suspected vandal’s “only clear purpose” was to “further intimidate and harass” the victim’s family.

Both the teenage victim and his sister have been “struggling with anxiety and fear since the assault on July 30, 2022,” charging documents note, “and with the continued intimidation they felt by the damage to their flags.”

An attorney for the Peacock and Metcalf families sent KUTV 2News a statement Tuesday afternoon:

“There can be no place in Utah for hate crimes. We appreciate the swift and continuing efforts of the Sandy Police Department, Sim Gill, and the District Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute the hate crimes that targeted our family. We also thank our friends and neighbors in Sandy, including Mayor Monica Zoltanski, for standing by us and making clear that hate crimes will not be tolerated in Sandy.”

Continue Reading

Los Angeles County

LA County Sheriff’s Dept. seeks public’s help in missing person case

Jai Rmanii Hicks, or Rmanii, 23, Black female last seen on July 16, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. on the 200 block of West Woodbury Road in Altadena

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons Unit investigators are asking for the public’s help locating Missing Person Jai Rmanii Hicks, also known as Rmanii.

She is a 23 year-old female Black who was last seen on July 16, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. on the 200 block of West Woodbury Road in Altadena.

Rmanii is 5’10” tall, 185 lbs, shoulder length red hair styled in dreadlocks, brown eyes, symbol of an ankh tattoo on back, picture of a girl tattoo on right thigh, and a tribal symbol tattoo below chest. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, black pants, and a brown backpack.

Her family is concerned with her well-being and is asking for the public’s help.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit at (323) 890-5500.

If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular