Transgender woman shot dead after using women's bathroom in McDonald's
A transgender woman has been fatally shot in an incident in Puerto Rico, after she attempted to use the woman's toilet in a McDonald's restaurant.
According to NBC News, Neulisa Luciano Ruiz (sometimes called 'Alexa') was shot in a branch of the fast-food chain in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. In the hours leading up to her death, a number of calls had been placed to local police, claiming that the homeless woman was attempting to 'peep' on other people using the bathroom.
A video of the transphobic homicide (which is too graphic and distressing to post) has allegedly been uploaded to social media, and features a number of young men verbally and physically harassing Ruiz, before opening fire and shooting her 20 times.
In the video below, Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced says all evidence points to the incident being classed as a hate crime. The Governor accompanied the video using the hashtags #SeLlamabaAlexa and #HerNameWasAlexa.
A number of prominent LGBT+ campaigners in the region have since commented on the brutal killing. For instance, San Juan-based activist Pedro Julio Serrano stated on his website:
"The terrible murder of a trans woman, revealed in a video where she is stalked and hunted, is nothing more than a hate crime motivated by intolerance. The authorities have the obligation to investigate this murder without prejudice.
"The media also have the responsibility of using correct pronouns and no longer promoting transphobia by cataloging a trans woman as a 'man dressed as a woman'. In addition, we must denounce the hate speech of the fundamentalist groups that have promoted a climate where they are prosecuted and persecuted by a trans person for the mere fact of using a bathroom."
David Begnaud, the lead national correspondent for CBS This Morning wrote on Twitter: "'Alexa' was a transgender woman killed in Puerto Rico after social media posts accused her of peeping on people in a public bathroom. Police found no proof. The complainant didn't file charges after finding out Alexa was homeless. Despite that a narrative spread on social media."
Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, stated: "This is a horrifying crime that must be investigated with the utmost thoroughness and care. [Alexa] had dreams, hopes, hobbies and did not deserve to have her life taken from her.
"HRC has heard that Ruiz was experiencing homelessness, further highlighting the ways a toxic mix of transphobia and misogyny conspire to put the transgender community at risk of extreme violence."