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By Miguel Juarez, Editor, El Paso News

A post recently went out on Instagram stating: “Warning!! Graphic content” and it had an image of a badly bruised man in his hospital bed after a beating on in the garage north of Pride Square in Downtown El Paso on December 25th.  

Displaying an unsettling image of the person in a hospital bed was battered in the parking lot, the Instagram post stated: “On Saturday, December 25th at the time between 1:30 a.m. – 2 a.m., my friend and 2 other friends were harassed and called gay slurs.” The post stated that they were attacked them leaving them with wounds, particularly one person who was left with broken facial bones.

Hundreds on Instagram read the post and many offered their prayers but also their outrage. One person questioned where was the media coverage on this issue? Nothing appeared about the hate crime which occurred against the three people in local press.

What we know is that three people from the LGBT community were verbally assaulted and brutalized on Saturday, December 25th in the parking lot located at 301 E. Missouri Avenue, across the street from the Chiquita’s Bar, in Downtown El Paso.

According to the person who posted on Instagram he stated that the authorities were contacted and they were looking for the footage from the garage to see if they could identify the attackers.   The post asked if anyone had seen anything or if they had for them to offer information regarding what happened.

“The incident is endemic of a country that is sick and needs to heal.”

– Gilbert Salazar, former owner of the Old Plantation

How do we deal with the invisibility of these events against LGBTQ persons that happen on a regular basis and which are often under-reported, if reported at all? On June 28, 2019, Grace Hauck in an article in USA Today reported that “Hate crimes against LGBTQ people have been on a slight rise over the last three years, according to FBI data.”  She added that FBI data reported that many crimes are against gay men.

Hauck states a better gauge of hate crime trends in the U.S. may be the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), a household-based survey administered by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The reality is that crimes against LGBTQ are severely under-reported. Hauck’s article states that compared to the FBI’s estimate that there are approximately 7,500 incidents, there are actually closer to 200,000 hate crimes against LGBTQ persons each year.

The end of the Instagram post stated: “Things like this are still happening, making us and others feel unsafe and there needs to be a stop to it.” We reached out to the person who posted on Instagram for an interview but were told that other media has reached out to them for interviews on this developing story.

If you saw anything or can identity those who committed this hate crime please come forward and contact the El Paso Police Department. People who committed this crime will surely be boasting about this incident to their friends and on social media. Help us bring these people to justice. Gilbert Salazar, former owner of the Old Plantation, said “the whole country is sick and that we need to heal.”

In addition, at El Paso News, we also wonder how organizations like the El Paso Downtown Management District can help the LGBTQ community when these incidents occur?

Miguel Juarez

Miguel Juárez was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. He is a multi-disciplinary scholar, artist and Paseño (El Pasoan) and the Editor at El Paso News. He has an Master of Art degree in Library Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a BA in Communications; an MA in Border History; and PhD in Borderlands History from UTEP; as well as graduate Arts Administration and Museum Studies coursework from CSU Dominguez Hills and CSU Long Beach, Calif.

He was an academic librarian and archivist from 1999 to 2013. He has published two books: _Where Are All the Librarians of Color: The Experiences of People of Color in Academia_, co-edited with Rebecca Hankins (2016, Library Juice Press) and _Colors on Desert Walls: The Murals of El Paso_, with photographs by Cynthia Weber Farah (1997, Texas Western Press).

He has published reviews, articles and opinion editorials in the Bryan College Station Eagle, the El Paso Times, El Paso Herald Post, El Paso Herald Post (online), Fusion Magazine, Latino Rebels, Medium and PlayBuzz.

He was previously on the editorial board of Latinx Talk, an online, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, and moderated forum. He is currently on the editorial board of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) of the American Library Association. You can contact Miguel at: miguel@elpasonews.org or follow him on Twitter @migueljuarez