Gay activists in Puerto Rico to file media complaint
April 07 2004 12:00 AM ET
Gay and civil rights activists in Puerto Rico will file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and the Civil Rights Commission in response to homophobic comments aired on TV and radio talk shows, according to Pedro Julio Serrano, president of the organization Puerto Rico for All.
Serrano explained that such homophobic slurs encourage hatred and negative attitudes toward gay Puerto Ricans: "In recent months we've noticed that the homophobic conduct of a few people in the media has intensified. [Homophobic] statements promote prejudice, hatred, and violence. They also incite people to commit hate crimes against the gay community in Puerto Rico."
In a press conference Monday, Serrano announced plans to file a complaint once recordings of such on-air homophobic comments are gathered. Activists will also seek investigation of the issue by the Civil Rights Commission.
Serrano was joined by more than 20 activists at the press conference in San Juan in expressing anger over the proliferation of homophobic slurs in the Puerto Rican media, specifically comments made on the 94.7 FM radio morning show El Enchufe.
Serrano played for the press an excerpt of the show, during which the host said in reference to gay marriage that "those freaks and punks should stay in the closet." Another homophobic comment came from a caller to the show who said that homosexuals should be beheaded.
The activist compared homophobic slurs to racist comments and said that these remarks should similarly be disallowed in the media. "We cannot permit them to continue presenting distorted images of our community," Serrano said. "It is time for the media to take full responsibility for presenting images that are true to who we really are."
Also at the press conference to demand respect for gay people were Puerto Rico Psychologists Association president David Perez Jimenez, Puerto Rico Bar Association former president Arturo Davila, and human rights attorney Salvador Tio.