In his confession to the decapitation murder of gay teen Jorge Mercado, Juan Martinez Matos (left) claimed that Mercado had been dressed as a woman in an area known for prostitution, driving him, he claimed, to murder Mercado in “gay panic” once he discovered Mercado’s true gender. But according to Puerto Rican activist Pedro Julio Serrano, those close to Mercado are calling bullshit on that claim. Via Doug Ireland at Gay City News:
“None of Jorge Steven’s friends, and I’ve spoken to many of them, knew anything about his ever having engaged in sex work, not his family, and not the police,” Serrano, who met with investigators on the case, told this reporter. “Nor was he known as a cross-dresser. He identified and lived as a very proud gay man, he was very genuine and authentic. He was just very fashion-oriented and what you could call a gender-bender, but not in a transgendered way.” Serrano added, “We do not know if the murderer’s claim that Jorge Steven was wearing a dress is true or not, because the body had been so dismembered, its legs and arms and torso strewn in different locations, and it had also been burned along with the clothes he was wearing.” In footage aired on Telemundo-Puerto Rico, Martínez was asked by a reporter if he was gay, to which he replied no, and added, López “tried to kill me.” When he realized that López was a man, Martínez said he regressed to an incident when he was sexually assaulted during a prison term, Telemundo and local reports said. “He had a deep-seated rage,” said prosecutor Bermudez. Martínez’ lawyer has since indicated that he will employ a “gay panic” defense.
Obviously, whether Mercado was in drag or not, or was a sex worker or not, is completely irrelevant to the horrific crime committed against him. That his killer is claiming such is evidence that he knows he can gain more sympathy if others believe he was “tricked” by a man pretending to be a woman. Sadly, that belief is not limited to outsiders. Below, Pedro Julio Serrano ferociously criticizes the audience at a gay nightclub for anti-trans comments made in the wake of Jorge Mercado’s murder.