Today, Puerto Rico finds itself once again in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. We mourn the death of Alexa Negrón, the transgender and homeless woman who was a victim of a terrible hate crime earlier this week, gunned down at a stoplight in an urban area near San Juan.
As business and community leaders on our island, we join so many in demanding justice for her death.We also felt it important to speak out a bit about our experiences working with our LGBTQ clients, who represent more than 20% of our business.
As all our team members, vendors, venues, and recommended restaurants and local businesses are 110% LGBTQ-friendly, we’ve married hundreds of gay and transgender couples over the past six years. Many of our weddings are in public places, on beaches, under waterfalls, in town plazas, or on the streets of Old San Juan. Often there are Puerto Ricans and tourists nearby … families enjoying the beach, young people hanging out with friends, couples taking in a romantic sunset.
Not a single time have our couples experienced a moment of discrimination from anyone. Not once. Regardless of gender, color, or appearance, our couples are always greeted with joy and congratulations from everyone around, including the public. We’ve seen the most old-school, traditional, conservative, religious folks join our happy couples in celebration and photos.
It’s a scene that warms our heart every time, and provides endless first-hand evidence that love does win.
Like many places, Puerto Rico continues to evolve as our people learn and understand more about transgender and gay issues, including their basic human rights. Alexa’s tragic death has showed that we still have much work to do. We can only pray that her passing will not be in vain, and that we will all honor her memory by considering how we can grow, and be more loving and open and accepting to all. And, for those who live outside Puerto Rico, we ask that you please don’t judge our entire island on the actions of a few bullies and individuals.
Rest in peace, Alexa. Our hearts and prayers go out to you and your loved ones, you aren’t forgotten. We will honor your life, and your tragic death.