Penélope Díaz Ramírez, a 31-year-old trans woman, was beaten and hanged to death at the Bayamon correctional complex, a men’s prison in Puerto Rico. She was murdered on April 13, but her death, was not reported until April 27, 2020.
There are no other details about Penelope available at this time.
In addition to the murders, there have been reports of attacks targeting LGBTQ individuals. The Coalition for the Search for Equity, or CABE (in Spanish), an LGBTQ group in Puerto Rico, has called a press conference on Wednesday morning to denounce the trend of anti-LGBTQ violence on the island.
“There is no longer any doubt, this is an epidemic of anti-LGBTTIQ violence,” Pedro Julio Serrano, of CABE, said in a statement. “The police have the obligation to disclose the status of the investigations of at least eight murders, one death without a determined cause and several attacks in which LGBTTIQ people have been injured since January 2019.” (via Metro Weekly)
Serrano told Metro Weekly that Penelope had been misgendered by prison authorities, denied access to healthcare, and that her death was not reported until other community members began speaking out.
The US has now lost nine transgender individuals to brutal crime, an epidemic of violence that shows no sign of abating. That five of these nine folks died in one region, Puerto Rico, is a disturbing new trend within this epidemic. My heart aches for my trans neighbors, especially those in Puerto Rico.
Rest in power, Penélope. Your life had value and meaning. We will not forget you.
My list of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary neighbors who have lost their lives to violent deaths in the US during 2020.