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Remembering The Victims Of The Orlando Shooting, Many Of Whom Were Latino

On early Sunday morning, 49 people were killed and countless more injured when a gunman armed with an AR-15 and a pistol opened fire at Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, Flo. The attack on the was the deadliest mass shooting in American history, and it fell on the club’s Latin Night. At least 32 of the people killed were Latino and young, the very same individuals who comprise our readership. These were our brothers and sisters. mitú stands in solidarity with the victims, their families, and the entire LGBTQ community.

Below we’ve compiled profiles on those that have been lost. It’s by no means complete, and we’ll be updating as more information comes to light.

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Credit: Edward SotoMayor/Facebook

“He was always part of the fun,” David Sotomayor, who identified himself as his cousin, told the Associated Press.

Edward Sotomayor worked for Al and Chuck, a travel agency that catered to the LGBTQ community. His cousin told the AP that Edward was a charismatic and caring man.


Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Credit: Stanley Almodovar III/Facebook

Stanley Almodovar III was “an amazing with a good soul,” according to his aunt, who spoke with the Orlando Sentinel. Almodovar III was a pharmacy technician working towards completing his degree in pharmacy.

Prior to Saturday night’s horrific events, Almodovar had posted a Snapchat video of himself singing and laughing. “I wish I had that (video) to remember him forever,” Rosalie Ramos, his mother, told the local paper.


Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Credit: Omar Capo/Facebook

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo lived in Cleveland but was visiting family in Orlando. Ocasio-Capo was a dancer who was coming into his own as an adult, according to his cousin, Leonarda Flores, who spoke to Fusion.

“[He] did not care, he loved himself and he loved others,” Flores told the news outlet, referencing the homophobia Ocasio-Ocampo experienced. “He was very open, he lived who he was. He knew he was beautiful, he knew it and he flaunted it.”


Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

A photo posted by Juan Guerrero (@juang0628) on

Credit: Juang0628/Instagram

“He was always this amazing person (and) and he was like a big brother to me,” Robert Guerrero, his cousin, told the Associated Press. “He was never the type to go out to parties, would rather stay home and care for his niece and nephew.”

Juan Ramon Guerrero worked as a telemarketer but had enrolled at the University of Central Florida; he wasn’t sure what he wanted to study but was glad to be enrolled in school.

Guerrero came out to his family earlier this year. According to his cousin, his family was “very accepting. As long as he was happy, they were okay with it.”

Guerrero’s boyfriend, Christopher Andrew Leinonen, was also among the victims.


Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Credit: Provincetown Magazine/Facebook

Christopher Andrew Leinonen was originally from Detroit but moved to the Orlando area in the last year. His boyfriend, Juan Ramon Guerrero, was also one of the victims. He was the son of Christine Leinonen, the mother who spoke to various media outlets in tears wanting to know what had happened to her son.

According to ABC News, Christopher Andrew Leinonen established a gay-straight alliance at his high school, for which he was given a humanitarian award.


Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Credit: Eric Ortiz/Facebook

“He was very artistic,” Orlando Gonzalez, his cousin, told the New York Times.

Described as “a goofball,” Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera was originally from Puerto Rico and is survived by his husband.”His husband called me in the morning,” Gonzalez said. “He was hysterical trying to find him.”


Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Credit: Peter Ommy/Facebook

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz was called “Peter Ommy” by his friends and family, and that’s how he identified as on Facebook. Prior to his tragic death, Gonzalez-Cruz worked for UPS and had lived some time in Africa.


Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Credit: @jk_rowling/Twitter

“He was always a friend you could call,” Josh Boesch, who worked with Vielma at Universal Studios, told the Orlando Sentinel. “He was always open and available.”

“Every interaction with guest, he had a smile on his face and always goofy and cheerful. Fun guy to be around,” Linnette Martinez, another co-worker of Vielma’s, told mitú. She describes him as “very sweet and fun.”

The 22-year-old was an attraction operator in the Harry Potter section of the park. Upon learning of his death, Harry Potter author JK Rowling tweeted her condolences, seen above.


Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Credit: KJ Morris/Facebook

“She was such a great person and so full of life,” Starr Shelton, an ex-girlfriend, recounted to the Orlando Sentinel. ” I can truly say heaven has gained an angel.

Morris, who went by KJ, had recently moved to Orlando from Hawaii. She was a bouncer at the club.

“She was just the sweetest person,” added Narvell Benning, a college friend. “I can’t think of a time when I did not see a smile on her face. I’m so thankful for the good memories I have of her. This is just unreal.”


Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Credit: GoFundMe

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice worked as an accountant in Orlando. He texted his mother, Mina Justice, as the act of terror was taking place.
“Mommy I love you,” he texted.

The two communicated intermittently until he stopped responding. Mina Justice would eventually get news that her son was among the victims.

“Going To Try &Get Some Rest. Please Keep The Prayers Coming,” Mina Justice wrote on Facebook, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “The Prayers Of The Righteous Availeth Much. We Will Get Through This Tragedy . One Day At A Time. Sleep Tight Eddie , Mommy Loves You Son.”

A GoFundMe page was set up in honor of Justice.


Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Credit: Jacksonville Jaycees/Facebook

Darryl Roman Burt II (second from left in picture above) was a financial aid officer at Keiser University in Jacksonville, Flo., who was working towards his master’s degree. According to people who knew him, he was a positive individual whose optimism rubbed off on others.

“He always had a smile on his face and was a very nice guy,” Lisamarie Winslow, president of KU’s Jacksonville Campus told the Florida Times-Union. “He definitely leaves an impression and had a big personality and he is missed.”


Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Credit: Patricia Drayton Banks/Facebook

Deonka Deidra Drayton, or DeeDee, was working at Pulse when she was killed, according to a woman claiming to be her aunt on Facebook. It’s unclear whether Drayton was an actual Pulse employee.

“While keeping the others in Orlando in prayer, keep my brother, his wife and both our families in your prayers,” Patricia Drayton Banks wrote on her Facebook page. “My neice, Deonka “Dee Dee” Drayton was killed in this horrible tragedy. Senseless. She was at work !!!. ??????. R.I.P Dee Dee. You know this Auntie will miss you.??✌✌????”


Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 years old

Credit: Lucas Daniel Acosta D’Oleo/Facebook

Laureano, originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, was known and beloved in Orlando for his drag persona, Alanis Laurell. In a Reddit thread dedicated to Laureano’s gorgeous drag performances, one commenter bid him good-bye with, “Go make the heavens beautiful.”

Here’s Laureano, as Alanis, performing at Miami’s Azucar nightclub:

Credit: Christopher Morales/YouTube

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Credit: Naej Mendez/Facebook

Jean Carlos and his partner Luis Daniel, known to friends as Danny, died together at Pulse. Jean, who was originally from Puerto Rico, is remembered as being a happy, warm, funny person who loved his job at Perfumania, where he met and fell in love with Danny.


Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Credit: Lestat Wilson/Facebook

Jean’s partner, Danny, was also originally from Puerto Rico, and is remembered by friends as a “protector, confidant and hero.” Growing up in a small town, Danny is remembered as always marching to the beat of his own drum, and was bullied as a result, but that didn’t stop him into growing up into a compassionate and much-loved person.


Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Credit: Jimmy Dejesus/Facebook

Originally from Puerto Rico, Dejesus was a professional Jîbaro dancer whose Facebook presence was positive and inspiring, filled with motivational sayings and pictures of his loved ones.


Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Credit: Amanda Alvear/Facebook

Amanda was dancing at Pulse with her best friend Mercedez, who also died during the attack. She had been recording herself dancing on Snapchat when the shots first rang out. Her sister, Ashley, shared her heartbreak on Facebook.


Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Credit: Mercedez Florez/Facebook

Mercedez, who died alongside Amanda, has a GoFundMe page set up by loved ones to help her family. Mourners there remember her as a “bright star.”


Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Credit: Martin B’Nitez/Facebook

Martin’s Facebook page is filled with pictures of his friends and his life in Orlando. Originally from Puerto Rico, Martin’s Facebook bio described him as a “fighter” who aimed to soar.

Con la family en Orlando

Posted by Martin B’nitez on Saturday, June 11, 2016

Credit: Martin B’nitez/Facebook

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Credit: Xavier E. Serrano/Facebook

Xavier was a dancer who worked at Disney Live! and performed at the annual Atlanta Bachata Fest.

According to Buzzfeed, he is remembered by Splash Bar, an old employer, as always happy to help those around him.

“He took his time to work with Flagpole, Grant, Vadim and some of the other dancers to improve their moves and was quick with a smile,” they reported.

Others took to social media to lament his passing.

“I writhed in bed for hours in my head wrapped in all of this,” friend Matt Molandes said, according to Buzzfeed. “Sleep was nearly impossible and waking up to the news that Xavier E. Serrano has passed, it’s soul crushing. My heart aches for his family and Wilma Lozano and their beautiful baby boy. I’m am so happy you are no longer in pain, but this entire world feels the impact of you not being here. Look over us, watch over us, we live in your name.”

He is survived by a young son.


Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Credit: Miguel Honorato/Facebook

Miguel’s brother, Enrique, took to Facebook to reminisce about their trips to Mexico and to Tennessee, noting that Miguel loved mango lemonades from Auntie Anne’s.

R.I.P Brother Miguel Honorato, man i wouldve never thought this would happen to you… I remember the good old times…

Posted by Enrique Ezequiel Honorato on Monday, June 13, 2016

Credit:Enrique Ezeguiel Honorato/Facebook

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Credit: Jackiii Rios/Facebook

Brooklyn native Enrique is survived by his mother and five siblings. His mother shared that Enrique had been in Orlando for vacation and has set up a GoFundMe page to help with transportation and funeral costs.

The 25-year-old was on vacation in Orlando. He studied social work at St. Francis College and was working at True Care Home Health Care Agency at the time of his untimely passing.


Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Credit: Juan P. Rivera/Facebook

Originally from Puerto Rico, Juan owned a spa and salon in Kissimmee, Florida.

“It is very hard to deal with this and the worse pain is the pain of being here without knowing what happened to him,” Baron Serrano, his brother, told the New York Times as he waited at the hospital to find out what had happened to Juan.


Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Credit: Silva Gilbert/Facebook

Originally from Manati, Puerto Rico, Gilberto had come to Orlando to pursue his studies in healthcare management. He was at Pulse with his friend, “Peter Ommy” Cruz, who was also killed during the shooting.


Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Credit: Harvey George King/Facebook

A supervisor at Gucci, Javier is remembered by his close friend as having a contagious smile and “making me feel like a beautiful woman and mother even on days I couldn’t see it.”

Today I woke up to the news I spent all night hoping not to hear! An old and dear friend lost his precious life in the…

Posted by Ellen Taaffe on Monday, June 13, 2016

Javier had studied tourism at the Academia San Antonio de Guayama in Puerto Rico. A co-worker took to Facebook to thank Javier for his humor and “for all the talks and advice on pursuing my passion.”


Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Credit: Cory Connell/Facebook

Cory was studying Sports Journalism and Broadcasting at Valencia Community College, and is described by family members as a “superhero.” His family has taken to his Facebook page to express their sense of loss and how much he meant to them.

Cory Connell im doing my best to be as strong as i can man. But being here without you man. Its tough. I can you feel…

Posted by Ryan Connell on Monday, June 13, 2016

Credit: Ryan Connell/Facebook

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Credit: Joseph Bebe/Facebook

One of the youngest casualties from the shooting, Jason called his mother as shots rang out. Jason was a student at Valencia College, studying computer science.

He was still figuring who he was, and prior to his passing, he’d started developing new passions

“He mentioned to me that he wanted to start taking pictures, he had a passion for photography,” Christopher Long, his uncle, told the Orlando Sentinel. “He was just real special.”

On Facebook, he tended to express self-love and positivity.

i love myself so much right now i really really do ??????

Posted by Jason Bebe on Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Credit: Jason Bebe/Facebook

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Credit: Jonathan A. Camuy/Facebook

Jonathan, who had moved from Puerto Rico to Miami, worked on the Telemundo show “La Voz Kids.” He was a proud member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

On Monday, Telemundo tweeted their condolences.

Credit: TelemundoNews/Twitter

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Credit: Shane Tomlinson/Facebook

A graduate of East Carolina University, Shane managed and sang in the Orlando-based Frequency Band. His Facebook bio describes him as an “ordinary guy living an extra-ordinary life using my God-given gift to navigate through this journey.”

Here is Shane performing with his band:

A little snippet from our shoot last night.

Thank You All ?

Posted by Frequency Band on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Credit: Frequency Band/Facebook

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Credit: Tevin Crosby/Facebook

Though young, Michigan native Tevin owned his own business. His brother Chavis described him as “very ambitious,” telling the Orlando Sentinel that “[w]hatever goal he had in mind, he worked hard. Whether alone or on a team, he worked on that goal.”

Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Credit: Oscar Aracena/Facebook

Oscar’s cousin remembered him on Facebook as being a humble and inspiring young man who will be missed dearily. Oscar was at Pulse with his partner Simon, and the two were remembered by a mutual friend who shared that she will miss “the arepas you made for me with so much love, our conversations” and the advice that they shared.

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Simon, who lost his life alongside Oscar, leaves behind a Facebook page that offers a portrait of a young man who loved the beach and who adored and was adored by his family and friends. According to a friend’s post, Simon and Oscar had recently found a home together. Another friend posted that their passing has taken a huge toll, calling them both “princes” and promising that they’d never be forgotten.

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Brenda was a mother of 12 who had beat cancer not once, but twice. She was at Pulse with her son, who survived the shooting. The Orlando Sentinel reports that, that night, Brenda had been sharing videos from the club on Facebook, showing happy couples dancing to Latin music.

Our hearts are with you, Orlando. Don’t forget to click share.

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Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

Things That Matter

Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico has remained a popular tourist destination as people seek out places with fewer restrictions. However, Mexico’s popular beach destination of Tulum apparently still has some restrictions – for LGBTQ folks – that the police are quick to enforce.

A Canadian couple was briefly detained by police for allegedly kissing on the beach.

Police in the popular resort town of Tulum, about 90-minutes south of Cancun, briefly arrested a gay couple for kissing in public on a beach, alleging that the couple was not allowed to kiss in public because children were present.

According to local media reports, police said they were reacting to a report by someone else on the beach who had claimed that the men were “committing immoral acts.”

The couple were handcuffed together and ordered in to the back of a patrol vehicle until a crowd of onlookers formed and began to shout disapprovingly at police after one of the men explained to the crowd why they were being detained.

Outraged bystanders gathered around the couple and urged the police to let the men go.

The crowd began shouting in support of the couple, calling the actions homophobic and demanding the couple’s release.

The pressure from the crowd apparently prompted officers to release the men after a few minutes of dialogue. The presence of Escalante herself might also have been a factor.

In response to the arrest, Quintana Roo Tulum Police said: ‘We are an inclusive and impartial police both for residents and tourists who visit the state of Quintana Roo. So no abuse of authority will be tolerated.’

Video of the incident quickly went viral on social media with outrage being the common reaction.

Video and photos of the arrest went viral after on social media accounts, including that of local politician Maritza Escalante Morales, who denounced the actions of the officers. Escalante happened to be at the beach with her family when she noticed the officers approach the couple, she said, and joined the crowd to advocate for the couple’s release.

“I want to file a PUBLIC COMPLAINT, because the treatment and type of authorities we have in our municipality is inexcusable. Yesterday while I was on the beach with my family, we noticed around 4:30 that 2 police squads in their ATVs approached a group of young foreigners. After about 20 minutes, a patrol arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs,” she explained on TikTok.

“The policemen were VIOLENT,” Morales added, “and gave arguments such as ‘there are families and children and they cannot be seeing this. I am FURIOUS because it is not possible that in the XXI century this type of oppression against the LGBT+ community continues. We all deserve the same treatment, and appropriate sanctions must be applied to these authorities.”

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Pedro Pascal Supports His Sister, Lux, As She Publicly Comes Out As Trans: ‘Mi Hermana, Mi Corazón’

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Pedro Pascal Supports His Sister, Lux, As She Publicly Comes Out As Trans: ‘Mi Hermana, Mi Corazón’

Credit: Getty Images; pascalispunk/Instagram

We always knew there was a reason that Pedro Pascal was one of the internet’s favorite boyfriends. He has always radiated an energy of warmth and kindness–turns out he also walks the walk.

On Tuesday, Pedro Pascal took to Instagram to support his sister, Lux Pascal, who recently came out as a trans woman.

On his Instagram page, Pascal shared a picture of his sister on the cover of Spanish-language Chilean magazine, Ya. The caption read: “Mi hermana, mi corazón, nuestra Lux.”

In an interview with Ya magazine, Lux Pascal opened up about how supportive Pedro has been of her transition.

Lux explained that Pedro “has been an important part of [my transition].” Lux, who is currently studying acting at Juilliard, says that Pedro was able to be a “guide” to her because of his artistic spirit.

“He’s also an artist and has served as a guide for me,” she said. “He was one of the first people to gift me the tools that started shaping my identity.”

But her brother wasn’t the only one that was very accepting of her decision to transition. Lux explained that her transition has been “been something that’s very natural for everyone” in her family.

And like many folks who are gender non-conforming, her family seemed to have known ahead of time. “It’s almost something that they expected to happen,” she said.

Lux revealed to Ya that, for a number of years, she identified as non-binary. But she eventually realized that she actually identifies as a woman.

“Moving through the world as a woman is much more simple for me, but I still advocate for nonbinary identities to have a space in society,” she explained. While she says that existing as a woman was the right decision for her, she still “advocates for nonbinary identities to have a space in society.”

Lux is also passionate about LGBTQ activism, saying that the world needs trans activists who are good, smart, informed, and who can be strong voices against transphobia, homophobia and racism.”

When asked if she feels discomfort at seeing images of herself before her transition, Lux said, “I don’t feel anxiety when I see old photos of mine. The same happens to me with theater: I see someone who was doing what they liked.”

As for her new name (she was previously known by the name “Lucas”), Lux said she didn’t want to lose the meaning of her old name, which meant “he who brings the light.”

She looked to one of her favorite movies for inspiration. “One of the characters in Sofia Coppola’s ‘Virgin Suicides’ was named ‘Lux’ which is light in Latin,” she said. “I was pleased with my childhood memory and that my previous name had signified something I was looking for myself.”

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