One of Mexico’s most prominent LGBTQ+ activists has been killed in an apparent knife attack in his home in the west-central state of Aguascalientes, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced during a morning news conference on Monday, October 13th.
“We are just finding out,” Lopez Obrador said from the Mexican state of Sonora, “The investigation is going to be carried out, it is not known up to this moment if it was a homicide or an accident.”
Thirteen months after being sworn in as the first non-binary electoral magistrate in Latin America, Jesus Ociel Baena Saucedo was found dead in his Agauscalientes home Monday morning, the apparent victim of a knife attack. The state prosecutor’s office said Baena was found with injuries consistent with knife wounds about 9 a.m. Monday. A person thought to be Baena’s partner was also found dead in the home, also with knife wounds.
“We don’t know if it is a homicide or an accident,” said Rosa Icela Rodríguez, the head of Mexico’s Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection. “An investigation is going to be done.”
The death of Baena and his partner prompted LGBTQ+ rights groups, who expressed shock and outrage, to call for stronger anti-discrimination laws in Mexico.
Baena was born in 1984 according to a social media profile, and was an appointed judge with the Electoral Tribunal of the State of Aguascalientes, a division of the Mexican justice system that specializes in election-related matters.
Baena was born in Saltillo, Coahuila, and has lived in Aguascalientes for 11 years. Baena earned a law degree from the Faculty of Jurisprudence of the Autonomous University of Coahuila and also received a master’s degree in constitutional law and government policies.
Baena made history by receiving a reissued birth certificate with a box added for “non-binary,” and later obtaining Mexico’s first non-binary passport from the Civil Registry of Coahuila in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia.
Baena addressed a roundtable discussion Sunday in Oaxaca on LGBTQ+ rights and related issues. Baena pioneered initiatives on behalf of trans children, same-sex marriage, and gender-identity recognition, among other rights issues.
In addition to support from the LGBTQ+ community, Baena faced resistance, criticism, and hate speech from those outside it. “There were calls from bar associations and people from these bars who [asked] the presiding judge how it was possible that they allowed this type of daring [appointment], especially in a highly conservative state,” Baena had said.
Mexico still faces discrimination and violence targeting LGBTQ+ individuals. According to LetraEse, a digital news site focused on sexuality and gender, murders of LGBTQ+ people in Mexico increased by nearly a third from 2020 to 2021.
Source: El Universal