Photo from La Izquierda Diario, Chile
Marcelo Lepe Parraguez was training to become a “transformista” [roughly translates to drag queen] in the circus of San Bernardo. Some time ago, he told relatives that for months he was being harrassed by his neighbors.
On February 17, Marcelo went out with his mother to buy groceries, when two female neighbors started to hurl insults at him for being gay. He was defended by his mother, who then began to receive blows by the two women. Marcelo, who was trying to defend himself was intercepted by two men who started to kick him on the ground. The mother and son started to retreat from the scene. Unfortunately, this horrible story doesn’t end here. Marcelo Vega, partner of the victim, states that one of the female aggressors started to yell, ‘’Kill the damn faggot, kill the bastard.’’ At that moment, one of the aggressors, Juan Carlos Altamirana Mattus, shot him close to his neck, missed, and fired again, hitting him in the thorax. This was the bullet that led to Marcelo’s death.
The Santiago district attorney’s office has detained Juan Carlos Altamirana, but the other three accomplices remain free. Among them is the woman with the nickname, ‘’The Russian,’’ who according to family, has contacted them offering money to put an end to the investigations.
During the wake and the funeral, his family and neighbors held signs demanding justice for Marcelo Lepe.
We, the Pan y Rosas Teresa Flores organization, demand a trial and effective punishment with jail time for Marcelo Lepe’s attackers. We also declare that the antidiscrimination law created by authorities following the case of Daniel Zamudio as an insufficient measure for all the violence and discrimination faced by the LGBT community. This is a result of Chile’s homophobic inheritance from the military dictatorship, still conserved today by all sectors of the right and the church.
This is an adaptation of an article originally published in La Izquierda Diario – Chile.