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  • The scene outside the La Madame bar in Veracruz, Mexico

    The scene outside the La Madame bar in Veracruz, Mexico | Photo: Yerania Rolón, Blog Expediente

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The LGBT community in Latin America regularly faces violence, and Islam has nothing to do with it.

While reactions to the horrific shooting of an Orlando LGBT club have focused on attacker’s alleged links to Islamic extremists—despite pledging allegiance to both the Islamic State group and nemesis Hezbollah—news of a similar attack on a popular LGBT bar in Mexico three weeks before travelled little farther than the state’s border.

RELATED:
LGBTI Latin Americans Still Fighting for their Lives

In the early morning May 22, gunmen entered La Madame, a gay club in Veracruz, and processed to fire into the crowd of approximately 180 people. In total, seven people were killed and at least 12 injured in the attack. The secretary of public security said that the killing was motivated by a territorial fight over drug sales, but LGBT activists protested, saying that they were hiding the homophobic aspect of the violence.

Violence against the LGBT community is nothing new to Mexico, nor to Latin Americans, who made up the vast majority of victims in Orlando. 

Numbers on victims to homophobic hate crimes are tough to collect since the sexuality of victims is often not disclosed, but activists estimate several hundred deaths for each of the continent’s bigger countries. The Organization of American States counted almost 600 in 25 member states over 15 months, recognizing underreporting.

Though Latin America has been seen as a global leader in gay rights for gay marriage legislation, protections against discrimination and general tolerant views, violence—fatal or not—persists.

A report by the AIDS alliance found that 80 percent of transgender activists in Latin America said they have been physically attacked.

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