Two men in Chile have been violently attacked and tortured in two seperate homophobic attacks already this year.
One man had his head held under hot water in a hot tub. Attackers allegedly stomped on the other man’s genitals, burnt cigarettes on his hand and hit him on the head with a large stone.
Attackers allegedly forced José David Muñoz Vargas, 52, into the hot tub because of his sexuality. The attack happened at his home in the town of Porvenir. That town sits in Magallenas, in Chile’s southern Antarctic region.
Muñoz Vargas was rushed to a nearby hospital with severe burns where he remains in a critical condition.
Chile’s leading LGBTI organization, Movilh, reported the attacks and will support the victims. Movilh’s head, Rolando Jiménez said the group is supporting the man’s family.
‘We are in contact with family members who tell us that the attack was homophobic, so we will continue to provide guidance and help in whatever they wish,’ he said.
‘We must thoroughly investigate this outrage and apply Zamudio Law to this hate attack.’
Zamudio Law refers to legislation introduced to protect members of the LGBTI community from violence and discrimination after the murder of Daniel Zamudio in 2012. Four neo-Nazis violently beat Zamudio to death in a park after learning he was gay. The violent murder caused a national outrage in Chile.
A 24-year-old man was also attacked in a suspected hate crime on New Year’s Day in the coastal city of Valparaíso.
The man told Movilh he was travelling in a car with his attackers and at about 8pm the men became violent.
‘Everything was going well until the young man started talking on the phone with his partner,’ said spokesperson for Movilh-Valparaíso, Diego Ríos.
‘The men then began to insult him because of his sexual orientation, as well as to beat him and torture him.
‘It is a sad situation.’
The alleged attackers then drove the young man to Laguna Verde, a salt lake in the Andes Mountain. There they began to violently beat and torture him.
They stomped on his genitals, burnt cigarettes in his hands and beat him on the head with a rock. He fell unconscious and woke up the next day ‘disoriented and lost’.
Movilh has called on authorities to properly investigate the attacks, but to also protect the LGBTI community.
‘We call on local authorities to help victims of this type of abuse, to sensitize people about what life is like for LGBTI community and to educate LGBTI youth about their rights and about the dangers they face, in order to prevent further abuses,’ Ríos said.
LGBTI rights in Chile
Chileans overwhelmingly support LGBTI rights in the South American country. But violence is still an issue there.
A recent survey showed 65% of Chileans above the age of 18, supported marriage equality. That’s a seven point jump since February.
On trans issues, 67% of people agreed a person should be able to transition without surgery or approval for a medical board. But only once they’ve changed their gender markers on official documents such as national ID cards and passports.
Chile currently offers civil partnerships to same-sex couples. The previous president introduced a bill to legalize love but the new Chilean president recently stated legalizing same-sex marriage is not a priority.