Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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    Concerns Rise in L.G.B.T.Q. Community Over Tragic Death of Mexico’s Pioneer Nonbinary Magistrate

    Jesus Ociel Baena, who made history a year ago as the first openly nonbinary person sworn in as a judicial official in Mexico, was discovered deceased alongside their partner in their home on Monday. The tragic event has sparked concerns within Mexico’s LGBTQ community, prompting inquiries into whether the magistrate may have been targeted due to their advocacy for the rights of nonbinary individuals.

    Authorities in the state of Aguascalientes, where Mx. Baena, 38, served as a magistrate on the electoral court, have reported that their partner, 37-year-old Dorian Herrera, seemingly took their own life after causing harm to Mx. Baena with a razor blade.

    However, LGBTQ leaders in Mexico are questioning the rapid conclusions drawn by authorities, suggesting a pattern of dismissing violent incidents involving LGBTQ individuals as crimes of passion.

    Mx. Baena, known for their distinctive style of dressing, had disclosed receiving death threats due to their prominent role as one of Mexico’s most visible LGBTQ figures. The news of their demise has sent shockwaves through the community, leading to organized marches across the country to demand a thorough investigation.

    Nonbinary activist Alex Orue in Merida expressed the sentiment that any attack on the LGBTQ community instills fear, but the loss of Mx. Baena and their partner is particularly painful, raising concerns about the safety of those in the public eye.

    Jesus Figueroa Ortega, the attorney general of Aguascalientes, shared initial findings of a domestic dispute, indicating that the couple engaged in a confrontation upstairs, resulting in multiple wounds on Mx. Baena’s body. The investigation is ongoing, but Figueroa Ortega’s public statements have raised concerns about shaping the narrative prematurely.

    Cristian Gonzalez Cabrera, an LGBTQ rights researcher focusing on Latin America, noted the common practice in Mexico of sharing information before investigations are complete, potentially influencing public perception.

    Mexico ranks second in Latin America for hate crimes against the LGBTQ community, following Brazil. Mx. Baena, a trailblazing nonbinary figure, played a significant role in influencing societal changes, including the recognition of nonbinary identity on official documents.

    Despite facing threats and insults, Mx. Baena courageously advocated for gender-neutral language, insisting on being referred to as “le magistrade” instead of the traditional “el magistrado.” This incident, tragic as it is, has the potential to further discussions on gender identity recognition in Mexico, a development that would honor Mx. Baena’s legacy, according to González Cabrera.

    Mx. Orue emphasized Mx. Baena’s commitment to dialogue and equity, highlighting their relentless pursuit of equality, particularly for the nonbinary community.

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