See No Evil
Listen to Today's Edition
Thousands marched in Mexico’s capital Mexico City Monday night demanding justice for Jesús Ociel Baena, an influential LGBTQ figure who was found dead at his home in the central city of Aguascalientes after receiving death threats, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Baena, the country’s first openly non-binary magistrate, had been found dead along with his romantic partner, Dorian Herrera, earlier that day.
The prosecutor’s office said the two bodies had injuries caused by a knife or some other sharp objects, but ruled out the “presence of a third person” being involved in the deaths.
Officials added that the judge had previously received death threats because of Baena’s gender identity, but have not determined whether the death was “a homicide or an accident,” the Associated Press noted.
The suggestion that suicide was one possibility in the deaths quickly sparked outrage and protests, with LGBTQ groups calling it another attempt by authorities to simply brush aside violence against their communities.
Even so, Alejandro Brito, director of the LGBTQ rights group Letra S, said that Baena’s visibility on social media made the judge a target and urged authorities to consider that context in their investigation.
Baena made history last year when he became a magistrate of Aguascalientes’ Electoral Tribunal, the first non-binary person to assume a judicial position in Mexico – and believed to be one of the first in Latin America.
In June, Baena and others became the first individuals to be issued Mexico’s first non-binary passports.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in all 32 states of Mexico, with Tamaulipas being the last state to vote in favor of such unions in 2022.
But despite achieving a certain level of marriage equality across Latin America, LGBTQ activists and gender minorities continue to face high levels of violence and discrimination.