Today, marks the one year anniversary of Daniel Mauricio Zamudio Vera’s death. Daniel self-identified as a gay man in a country where homophobia runs rampant and discrimination of minorities is frequent. Daniel was attacked and beaten to a near death on March 2, 2012 by four men claimed to be neonazis simply because of his sexual orientation. Daniel suffered severe neurologic damage and after two induced comas, Daniel was pronounced dead on March 27, 2012. His death caused a great uproar in the Chilean society and forced the public to start a much needed discussion about homophobia and also the lack of an anti-discrimination law that would hold legal repercussions related to crimes of hate. More than a year later, Chile would realize what would later be known as the "Ley de no discriminacion 20.609" (Anti-Discrimination Law) that introduced measures to promote equality among its citizens and strengthened penalties for crimes based on gender, ideology or other arbitrary discrimination. This law clearly states the protection of the constitutional human rights of every Chilean regardless of sexual orientation, that for a conservative nation signifies a great step forward to a massive cultural change. Even though this law will not stop acts of discrimination, it is a step towards equality, but it is upsetting and irritating that this law would not have been pushed to the forefront of Congress had it not been for the gruesome death of Daniel Zamudio. I take my time today to remember Daniel and countless other members of the LGBTQ* community that have not only been discriminated against, but have also passed away as a result of these hateful crimes.
Que en paz descansen.