Killings of transgender activists trigger demonstrations in Mexico News
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Killings of transgender activists trigger demonstrations in Mexico

The Attorney General’s Office of Mexico City confirmed the death of transgender woman activist and politician Samantha Gómez Fonseca on Monday from gunshot wounds. According to Yaaj, an LGBTQ+ human rights organization in Mexico, Samantha’s killing was part of recent violence against trans women in the country. Transgender activist Miriam Nohemí Ríos also died in a shooting last week.

LGBTQ+ rights have developed in Mexico over the past few years, with the Supreme Court ruling that bans on same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples were unconstitutional in 2015 and 2016 respectively. In 2020, Mexico City became the country’s first jurisdiction to outlaw conversion therapy.

Nevertheless, harassment and violence continue amid a perceived sense of impunity for hate crimes against the community. According to the National Human Rights Commission, there is severe physical and psychological bullying of teenagers who identify as part of the community in several Mexican schools. In November 2023, Jesús Ociel Baena, a prominent LGBTQ+ activist and the country’s first non-binary magistrate, was found dead along with their partner leading to protests by thousands of people. The National Observatory of Hate Crimes Against LGBTQ+ in Mexico, a human rights group which documents cases of hate crimes and violence, reported that at least 43 LGBTQ+ people were killed in the country between January and April 2021, with some experts believing the real number is even higher.

Following the violence this month, LGBTQ+ rights groups staged demonstrations on Monday. “We demand justice for Samantha, not only in terms of punishment for those responsible for her cowardly homicide but also in concrete actions to prevent these terrible events,” Yaaj said. Ivan Tagle, the director of Yaaj, added that it is time to add to and amplify their demands for justice and dignified life. also appealed to securing freedom and justice for the community and criticized the government for its inaction on this issue.

Salma Luévano, a legislator and LGBTQ+ activist, strongly condemned Samantha’s killing and demanded justice from the country’s prosecutor. On January 9, President López Obrador had apologized for misgendering Salma.