Story By: Lisa-Maria Goertz, Sub-Editor: Alex Cope, Agency: Real Press
An openly gay teen activist has been found dead in Mexico with a bullet wound to his head, sparking cries for justice against hate crimes on social media.
The victim, 18-year-old Jonathan Santos, was found dead in the middle of the road on Tuesday two blocks from his home in the Balcones de la Cantera neighbourhood, in the city of Zapopan, in the eastern Mexican state of Jalisco.
According to international newspaper El Pais, Jonathan was very active on social media as an activist for LGBTQ rights.
Santos had been at a friends house on Monday evening at a party and had uploaded several photos to his social media pages, report El Pais.
Santos reportedly decided to go home, by then the early hours of the morning, although he never reached his destination.
Several local residents said they believe he must have been killed somewhere else and had his body brought to where he was found as they did not hear anything.
According to national newspaper Infobae, the state prosecutor Gerardo Octavio Solís Gomez reported during a press conference that they are considering two lines of investigation: hate crime and theft.
Solis said: “We have already collected some evidence and we hope in the next few days to have a clearer picture with some conclusive indications regarding the possible perpetrators. “
Solis added that given the circumstances and the context, they are “initiating the femicide protocol.”
The use of the term femicide, which is a sex-based hate crime term used to describe the killing of women and girls, has been harshly criticised by social media users.
Twitter user ‘@hebertosinlao’ posted: “I find it incredible, what a joke from @FiscaliaJal and the government of @EnriqueAlfaroR to classify the murder of Jonathan Santos as femicide! There is a National Protocol for LGBTI + Action to guarantee inclusive justice. What a f*cking p*ss-take!”
Hundreds of netizens have posted online with the hashtag #JusticaParaJonathan (Justice For Jonathan) and a peaceful protest has been organised today outside his school.
According to El Pais, family members and close friends said Santos did not have problems with anyone and despite being so active on social media, had never reported suffering threats or harassment.
He has been described as a cheerful and gregarious young man who loved to update his wardrobe and whose dream was to work in fashion.
According to a member of the LGTB rights association Cohesion of Diversities for Sustainability (CODISE), Luis Guzman: “It is a murder that moves us greatly because he was so young. If it is confirmed to be a hate crime, it depicts the intolerance and the complex situation which LGBT people live through in this country.”
“There are states in which we do not have our rights recognised according to the legal framework. There is still a lot of homophobia and a large part of Mexican society still has a great aversion against LGTB people.”
The investigation is ongoing.
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