Tao Baja Transgender Murdered
Last month in Tao Baja, Puerto Rico, a homeless, transgender woman was shot and killed just hours after someone reported to the police that she had been using a women’s restroom at a McDonald’s restaurant. Due to the craze of coronavirus, stories like this have floated under the radar. The victim was later identified as Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, better known as Alexa. A video has spread across social media that shows Ruiz’s killing with at least two voices yelling threats at her including, “we are going to shoot you” and “you bet I am going to go and shoot him”. In the video, the sound of a loaded gun can be heard, followed by 10 shots (NBC News).
At this time, the Puerto Rican police have announced that they have received tips that at least four teenagers were involved in the crime. One teenager was arrested this week, a 17 year old boy who was suspected of trying to leave the island after the incident (Telemundo Puerto Rico). He’s claiming that they shot Alexa, but only with a gotcha gun to try to scare her, but that they never fired with a regulatory firearm. Pedro Julio Serrano, a LGBTQ+ activist, has demanded that the authorities investigate the murder of Alexa as a hate crime, stating that she was, “stalked and hunted” prior to the killing, and that the video shows “a hate crime motivated by intolerance” (The New York Times). Serrano claims that many Puerto Rican groups have promoted panic around the idea of transgender people using the bathrooms that correspond to their identity, This has become a factor in the murders of transgnender people. He also scolded the media who kept misgendering Alexa as “a man dressed in a black skirt”.
Others have also stood up for Alexa looking for justice in this case. Bad Bunny, aPuerto Rican Latin Trap and Reggaeton artist,, recently appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to promote his new album, and while doing so, brought the attentionto Alexa’s case. While performing his new song, “Ignorantes” he moved his blazer to expose his shirt that read “Mataron a Alexa, no un hombre con falda” which translates to, “They killed Alexa, not a man in a skirt” (Independent). It was a reference to the aforementioned Puerto Rican media, who were ignorant of their own transphobia. Along with this, he performed in a black skirt, similar to what Alexa was wearing when she was killed.
Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vazquen Garced said on Tuesday that the murder of Alexa will be treated as a hate crime. “That is violence against women, it was a cruel performance of these people to take her life that way, record it and lack of sensitivity, That shows that these people to be brought to justice as soon as possible”.