Puerto Rico’s first LGBT monument is also a memorial to the victims of the massacre in Orlando.
Last week, Puerto Rico unveiled its first LGBT monument, which proclaims “Love is love, is love, is love…” and also serves as a memorial to the lives lost in the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.
The monument is located in San Juan’s Third Millennium Park, at the entrance to the Escobar the Sixth Stadium, and is made up of seven rectangular columns in the colours of the rainbow.
This vibrant memorial is particularly resonating for the US territory because out of the 49 victims killed in Orlando, 23 were Puerto Rican.
A plaque at the base of the monument highlights the names of Puerto Rican victims, with the other 26 victims also listed below.
Alongside the names, there is a phrase in Spanish that references Puerto Rican playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda’s moving speech from the 2016 Tony Awards – given just hours after the shooting.
The text reads: “This tribute to life strengthens our commitment to fight hate — the product of homophobia — with love and respect. Our slogan resounds in all our hearts: Love is love, is love, is love…”
The monument was unveiled during San Juan’s Pride celebration, where Mayor Carmen Yulín said: “Today, we celebrate life. We must work together to eradicate discrimination and homophobia.
“We must raise our voice for justice, and the equality of each of us who are human. We must aspire to have a country where everyone is equal, and no one is judged for who they love.”
The monument’s dedication took place almost exactly one year after Puerto Rico adopted marriage equality.
However, despite the island making some progress regarding LGBT rights, homophobia is an ongoing problem in the US territory.
Following the attack in Florida last month, Orlando Latino reported that the father of one of the Puerto Rican victims did not want to claim his child’s remains because he was ashamed of his son’s homosexuality.
The publication says this highlights an ongoing problem within the Latino community, where hatred towards the LGBT community is still prevalent – especially in Puerto Rico.