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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Equality Florida: LGBT community outraged by Daytona murder


By: Steve Rothaus

Gay South Florida:

Steve Rothaus' blog for and about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people throughout Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

News release:

Represents the Latest Victim of Brutal Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes in Florida

DAYTONA -- Equality Florida today expressed deep sorrow and outrage at the Sunday morning murder apparently motivated by anti-gay and anti-transgender bigotry.

Troubling also are early reports that the accused killer is using the "homo-panic" defense, claiming an unwanted sexual advance led to the shooting.

According to police reports, Oscar Mosqueda, 34, was shot in the head around 2:20 a.m. following an argument with Cesar Israel Villazano, 18, of DeLand, the police report stated. Mosqueda was transported to Halifax Medical Center, and died about noon Sunday, police said.

Details remain sketchy. News accounts describe Mosqueda as "a man in a mini-skirt and heels" increasing the likelihood that this is yet another in a long line of transgender murders.

The Daytona Police Department told Equality Florida that the murder has not been classified as a hate crime.

“We will continue to gathering information from the community and work to ensure this case is properly investigated and that appropriate charges are brought,” said Brian Winfield, Equality Florida spokesperson. “We will not allow yet another brutal murder apparently spurred by bigotry to go ignored."

According to the Florida Attorney General’s Hate Crimes Report, physical assaults against LGBT people in Florida have increased in 6 out of the last 7 reported years.

In 2003, Attorney General Crist described anti-gay hate crimes as increasing “relentlessly over the past 5 years.” The following year saw an additional 21% increase in the number of physical attacks against LGBT people.

During 2005, the most recently reported year, 62% of hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were in the most violent categories. No other group came close.

Equality Florida is also working in partnership with Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to challenge any media coverage of this horrific murder that is not respectful of the victim and accurate in the portrayal of Florida’s LGBT community.

Equality Florida is Florida’s only statewide human rights organization dedicated to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Through education and advocacy, the organization is committed to building a state of equal rights for all Floridians, inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

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