A Gay Man Has Been Shot In Mexico, Claims Authorities Refuse To Label It A 'Hate Crime'
A getaway to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico took a near-deadly turn for a Palm Springs, CA gay couple after they were attacked in what they're alleging to be a hate crime. Husbands Carl Blea and Marc Lange were walking through a plaza at around 2:30 am when they heard a gunshot - firing a bullet that would end up piercing Blea in a non-fatal injury. Here's how the horrifying encounter went down according to a Facebook post from Lange:
Last night my husband and I were walking home hand in hand from an evening out in Puerto Vallarta. As we cross the street walking into a well lite area, Cardenas Lazaro park, we pass a white car and a person who looked like he had done hard time in prison, wife beater and tattoos both face and body (circle tattoo on right side of face). As we walk [past] him he shouts something. I turn to look and then turn away, Carl Blea looks and see this person pull out a gun which is now pointed at us. Carl begins to run and pulls me away from the shooter. A bullet is shot and Carl goes down. Shot. We have no idea what is happening. A concrete building separates us from the shooter. I scream for help….. someone finally helps, police arrive, 45 min later the ambulance arrives.
In addition to opening up about the details of their vacation gone wrong, Blea and Lange are letting the world know that this was indeed a hate crime - whether the Mexican authorities believe them or not. According to The Desert Sun, via Towleroad, Lange is concerned that the local police are covering up the incident in an attempt to avoid deterring tourists from visiting the popular destination for foreign gays. Lange continues on Facebook:
This person was there for no other reason than to kill innocent people. We happened to be his target. There is nothing in the local newspaper or news warning people of this incident. Please share with anyone who is there.
The Desert Sun states that a local news station is painting a different picture of the incident, claiming that the assailant was a robber and that there were "struggles" between the assailant and the husbands.
Crimes against the LGBT community are not new to Mexico, with Pink News reporting that between the years of 2014 and 2016, over 200 homosexuals were murdered. CNN paints a larger picture of LGBT issues in all of Latin America, stating:
[Latin America] has the highest rates of violence against the LGBT community, according to research done by Transgender Europe.
But, interestingly, they add that the region:
...also has some of the most progressive laws for LGBT equality and protection.
All of this leads to the question: Is traveling to Mexico as a member of the LGBT community safe?