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Mexico's First Openly Nonbinary Judicial Member Found Dead

Jesús Ociel Baena, the first openly nonbinary person to assume a judicial post in Mexico, was found dead in their home Monday, the New York Times reports. Their partner was also found dead. Mexico’s LGBTQ community has called for authorities to determine if the magistrate was targeted for promoting the rights of nonbinary people. Authorities in the state of Aguascalientes, where Mx. Baena, 38, was a magistrate on the electoral court, have said that Baena's 37-year-old partner, Dorian Herrera, appeared to have killed them with a razor blade before dying by suicide. But LGBTQ leaders in Mexico are questioning whether such a swift assessment fits what they say is a pattern by the authorities of effectively dismissing grisly killings involving LGBTQ people as crimes of passion.


Mx. Baena, often clad in skirts and heels while wearing makeup, said they had received death threats as a result of their prominence as one of Mexico’s most visible L.G.B.T.Q. figures. “Yesterday it felt like the whole community was in shock,” said Alex Orué, a nonbinary activist in Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán. “If someone with that level of visibility, with that public position being a magistrate, and also with the protection of the state because they were living under threat, has this happen to them, what can the rest of us expect?” Mx. Orué said. Marches were organized across Mexico on Monday night to demand that the authorities conduct a thorough investigation. Cristian González Cabrera, an L.G.B.T.Q. rights researcher who focuses on Latin America for Human Rights Watch, said it was “disappointingly common” in Mexico for prosecutors to share information before a probe is finished. Mexico ranks second behind Brazil in Latin America for the highest number of hate crimes against the L.G.B.T.Q. community, according to advocates.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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