Sexual Discrimination and Hate Crimes in PR
By: Jan A. Robles Berríos
How much do Puerto Ricans know about hate crimes against LGBTT members? Dr. Luis E. Nieves Rosa developed a survey to know more about these victims.
As part of V Coloquio ¿Del Otro La’o?: Perspectivas sobre Sexualidades Queer (5th Colloquium From the Other Side? Perspectives on Queer Sexualities), Nieves Rosa, professor at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, spoke to a small audience of less than 20 in the Ramón Figueroa Chapel Amphitheatre at UPRM on March 6, 2014.
Nieves Rosa explained that statistical data on hate crimes in Puerto Rico, so he decided to develop a survey.
The instrument was distributed in social networks to gain knowledge of this situation. The population who was able to fill the survey was all people older than 21 years old. Eighty-six people completed the survey, including a 70 year- old man.
Nieves Rosa’s analysis of the data revealed that San Juan and Mayagüez were two regions which 16.24 percent of the respondent had issues related with hate crimes.
He emphasized the importance of collecting this information because, once you have the information, you can start creating programs to inform and educate Puerto Ricans about the situation.
Joel Ayala, a legal adviser at the Civil Rights Commission of Puerto Rico, followed up the professor’s presentation with a discussion of existing related laws in Puerto Rico.
Ayala pointed out the importance of including sexual discrimination as aggravating to hate crimes because it is a very important reason when the judge is making his decisions because this detail impact and support the evidence. This means the penalty could be higher and LGBTT members could feel better protected. According to the Constitution of Puerto Rico, this detail is now included under hate crimes. So, this was very important for LGBTT members.
Finally, Dr. Luis Nieves Rosa indicated that he will continue his job of collecting results about hate crimes in Puerto Rico.