Saturday, July 07, 2007

ITN: Gay man killed in Mexico after being denied refugee status in Canada, trans panic, more Dupree, Bronx Pride woes

In the news on a Saturday night:

Mexican gay man killed:
Canadian gay weekly X-tra is reporting that a Mexican gay man who was denied refugee status in Canada four years ago - and had no option but to go back to the country he said he feared - was found shot to death in his Mexican apartment on April 7th of this year.

According to the article, Mexican authorities believe the murder of 35 year old
Enrique Villegas (pictured) was drug-related but friends of Villegas in Vancouver say that this is unlikely because he was clean as a whistle and didn't even smoke cigarettes while he lived in Canada. They also believe that he might have been killed by a homeless person Villegas had taken under his wing who might have taken advantage of Villegas because he was gay.

The article does a great job in analyzing the complexities of refugee / asylum cases from countries that Canada might consider to be gay-friendly (particularly with recent gay rights advances in Latin America). Ultimately, though, as someone who has helped hundreds of people navigate the asylum process in the United States, I'm not so sure that the murder in itself - whether it was drug related or at the hands of a man Villegas picked-up from the streets - means that Canada erred in denying refugee status as his friends seem to indicate.

The murder - under either scenario - does not seem to rise to the level of social, institutional, governmental or political persecution which is the basis of such claims in the United States as well as Canada.

Trans panic: In a police blotter blurb that has gone mostly unnoticed in this city, 24 year old Quasim Harris went "bezerk" in early Tuesday morning when he found out that his date was a transgender woman while at her Crown Heights apartment. He first beat her in the face with an iron (classy!) and then came back and stole a stereo, a TV set and and video game console (classier!). No other details in the case.

Also, in not so caliente news: At least local press has taken notice of
Khadijah Farmer and the uncomfortable situation that she experienced at the West Village Caliente Cab Co. restaurant on pride day. When this happens in the gayest part of town it's time to wonder just how welcome we are in this city.

Mike Dupree looks for a job
: In the meantime, the Mike Dupree story refuses to die. A sampling from this week's coverage:
And finally, post-Bronx Pride woes: Last year we told you that Lisa Winters was not a happy woman after having to jump through hoops to get a permit for a pride event in the Bronx after years of not having one. Sorry to tell you but Lisa Winters is still not a happy woman after this year's event.

It's a topic on which we might expand in the future. For now we'll leave you with the following limited reports which do not address the fact that there is actually a vibrant LGBT community in the Bronx nor the fact that Bronx Borough President and rumored future mayoral candidate Adolfo Carrión speaks volumes by being silent and not stepping in to resolve the situation.... for the second year in a row.

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