Mexico. A dangerous place for the LGBTIQ+ community

Hate crimes: LGBT+ has recorded more than 200 murders since 2014; this year, there are 25. It is estimated that there is a black figure of three other cases that remain invisible to every record of hate crimes.

MEXICO (Animal Politico) – Anel Valenzuela was in her business, a beauty parlor in the municipality of Fortín, Veracruz, when a burst of gunfire from a motorcycle killed her on June 25. She was from Tijuana, Baja California, she was a human rights activist, and she was killed because she was also a trans woman.

This is the most recent case of a hate crime based on sexual orientation or gender identity recorded in the country, right in the State where there are the most murders of people from the LGBTIQ+ communities.

In Mexico, there is no official record of these crimes, so in 2019 activists created a National Observatory made up of local organizations from 10 entities that, considering only those territories, has recorded at least 209 murders from 2014 to May 2020.

In this year, with everything and confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are 25 cases, more than once a week. Although it is estimated that for every record, there is a black figure of another three cases that remain invisible.

Yesterday, on Monday, was the celebration of the “Sexual Diversity Day,” and the first report of the “Observatorio Nacional” was presented. It was revealed those most affected by these crimes are transexuals, in 44.5% of the cases, followed by effeminate men, in 40.7%.

Worldwide, Mexico is considered the second country with the most murders of trans people, 71 during 2018, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGA-LAC).

Although Natalia Lane, an activist with the Center for the Support of Trans Identities A.C., called attention to the doubts that lesbian homicides are only 5% because it could be that because they are women, if the perpetrator is male in the best of cases, they will have been investigated for gender violence, without taking into account that it would be a biphobic crime.

Of the people killed who are known to be in the profession, 47% were sex workers, and 47% were hairdressers; this coincides with the fact that these are the most common activities among the trans population, which is the most attacked, but it is also something that has caused stereotypes to be perpetuated when investigating and reporting these deaths. However, there were also ten students and three teachers, among other jobs.

One important piece of information is that at least 21 of the victims were identified as defenders of LGBT+ rights or working in organizations dedicated to this.

By type of homicide, the most common is with a firearm, 26.7% of the time, and with a knife, 24.3%. For Lane, this shows that violence against LGBT+ people is blunt, which is intended to kill. Other causes recorded are 15.7% for beating, 12.9% for asphyxiation, and to a lesser extent, torture and running.
“However, it should be mentioned that the mechanisms of torture include stoning, skinning, and chemicals. Other weapons used range from screwdrivers and hammers to machetes and chainsaws; beatings are carried out with fists and other objects,” the report warns.

And 54.7% of the victims had previously been sexually assaulted.

Of the 209 homicides recorded, 49 were in Veracruz, 37 in Chihuahua, 28 in Michoacán, 22 in Guerrero, 18 in Puebla, 14 in Coahuila, 13 in Mexico City, 12 in Nuevo León, 10 in Jalisco and six in Baja California.

The FGR promises to create a registry of hate crimes.
Trans doctor Maria Elizabeth Montaño disappeared on June 10 when she left her workplace, Centro Medico Siglo XXI in Mexico City, and was found dead ten days later on the highway to Cuernavaca, Morelos. Authorities there said the first line of investigation is that she committed suicide, as she had no traces of violence and left a message to her family saying goodbye.

But that explanation has not been enough for “trans” activists. According to them, it is common for hate crimes to be made invisible by treating them as “crimes of passion.” If it was suicide, the truth is that at the heart of the transphobia, discrimination, and constant violence that these people suffer, it leads many to think about taking their own lives.

Sara Irene Herrerías of the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights of the Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic was invited to the presentation of the report.

She also said that work is being done with the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (Conapred) to include in the new National Penal Code an aggravating circumstance, rather than a criminal type, regarding “prejudices” of this type that may have motivated a crime.

Currently, only 12 states have classified attacks on people based on their orientation or identity: Mexico City, Baja California Sur, Colima, Coahuila, Guerrero, Michoacán, Nayarit, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz and Aguascalientes. While in most of the country, this element is not taken into account for research, and therefore many times, it is not even possible to make a record.

Gloria Careaga, director of the Arcoíris Foundation and promoter of the National Observatory of LGBT+ Hate Crimes, criticized the fact that the State has failed to address international recommendations to prevent violence against these communities begins with having data to understand their situation.

In 2018, several LGBT+ organizations lobbied the U.N.U.N. to have the Human Rights Council make recommendations on these issues to the Mexican State in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Others were to harmonize legislation to remove the concept of the family being formed by men and women; to guarantee changes in legal sexual identity, and to include the LGBT+ population in the National Development Plan 2018-2024.

The latter was already left out under the current government. Of the remaining recommendations, a response must be given to the U.N.U.N. by this year at the latest.

“The elections of new leaders in 2018 have not favored our work, nor the condition of LGBT people. On the one hand, all the resources that the federal government provided to social organizations for the development of their activities were eliminated. On the other, the president wants no actions in favor of the LGBTIQ+ community. All rights seem to be avoided, even its very mention,” the report lamented.



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