Gay man hospitalised after being shot while holding hands with his partner on holiday
A gay man has been hospitalised after being shot in the leg in an attack he believes was motivated by homophobia.
Carl Blea and Marc Lange of California, US, were on holiday in the Puerto Vallarta region of Mexico when they were reportedly attacked.
According to the Desert Sun, Blea and Lange were returning to their rented holiday apartment at around 2:30am on Sunday when they were approached by a man who began to yell at them.
The suspect then allegedly drew a gun and shot at Blea, hitting him in his right leg.
Police have reportedly claimed that the attack was an attempted robbery, however Blea and Lange maintain their belief that this was a hate crime motivated by homophobia, as the pair were holding hands.
The chief of police and a representative of the Mayor of Puerto Vallarta have both visited Blea in hospital.
The couple have criticised the Mexican authorities and press for describing the attack as a failed robbery.
“They’re not really listening to us. No matter what we say, they’re not going to pay attention to us,” Blea said.
Blea reflected on the incident and how it had affected him — and acknowledged it could have been deadly.
“In one moment, both of our lives could’ve been changed. It just gives you a different perspective for your life,” he said.
More from PinkNews
He then reportedly went on to express his regret for not being more careful. “If anything, that’s the biggest lesson I learned. You just never know who you may come across who may hate that.”
Mexican civil rights organisation Letra S SIDA reported in 2017 that criminals had formed gangs dedicated to targeting gay men, whom they first seduce before attacking and robbing them.
Speaking to news site EFE, Letra S SIDA executive director Alejandro Brito said this worrying trend was unprecedented.
Other LGBT rights issues are still to be addressed in Mexico.
Currently only 10 states in Mexico have marriage equality, including Mexico City, but there has been a large debate over same-sex marriage being rolled out across the entire country.