NewsFirst non-binary judge murdered? Mexicans take to the streets

First non‑binary judge murdered? Mexicans take to the streets

Jesus Ociela Baeno is dead. On Monday, people who do not believe in the suicide of the country's first non-binary judge took to the streets of Mexico.
Jesus Ociela Baeno is dead. On Monday, people who do not believe in the suicide of the country's first non-binary judge took to the streets of Mexico.
Images source: © Facebook
6:15 PM EST, November 14, 2023

Thousands of Mexican residents are protesting on the streets of the capital following the unexplained death of Jesús Ociel Baena, who rose to fame for advocating LGBTQ+ rights. Known as the nation's first non-binary judge, Baena's death, authorities conclude, was suicide. However, word has it that Baena's death was preceded by several threats via social media.

Protesters crowded Mexico City on Monday evening, calling for justice for Jesús Ociel Baena, demanding investigations, and urging the murderers be found. The widespread demonstrations were initiated in response to Baena, a significant figure in the LGBTQ+ community, and their partner, Dorian Herrera, who were found dead in their Aguascalientes home. Collectively, the police suggested that possibly both had committed suicide.

Local prosecutor Jesús Figueroa Ortega stated in a press conference that both bodies presented injuries akin to those inflicted by a sharp object like a knife. He furthered, "No tangible signs or traces suggest the presence of a third individual at the scene other than the deceased."

This assertion by the prosecution sparked public outrage. LGBTQ+ activists branded this statement as another effort by the authorities to trivialize and conceal violence against their community. The judge's acquaintance disclosed that Baena had been in a jovial spirit recently and had talked passionately about the future.

National security chief Rosa Icela Rodríguez communicated with ABC News, saying that the authority has launched an inquisitive probe into the deaths. Whether it was an accident or a murder remains elusive. Previous murders of a similar nature are often hastily written off by authorities alleging passion crimes.

Alejandro Brito, leading the group advocating LGBTQ+ rights, Letra S, stated that Baena's active presence on social media platforms notoriously singled out the judge. Brito insists that the authorities must consider this crucial point during their investigations.

Murder of Mexico's First Non-Binary Judge Spurs Public Protests

"Baena was a person who experienced a significant amount of hatred and even threats of violence and death. Overlooking this in the ongoing investigations would be unacceptable. The judge was shattering invisible barriers for non-binary communities," Brito asserted.

Thousands of people bearing lit candles and pictures of Baena and other victims of violence against the LGBTQ+ marched through the streets, calling for a comprehensive investigation into the deaths with chants of "We will not be silent".

It's speculated that Baena, who became a judge in October 2022, was the first person in Latin America to identify as non-binary to step into the role of a judge. In May of the same year, Baena shattered another social barrier by being among the individuals who were issued the country's first non-binary passports.

Regularly seen in photographs and videos wearing skirts and heels, holding a rainbow fan in court, and maintaining an active social media presence, Baena attracted hundreds of thousands of followers. They stated on Twitter in June, "I am a nonbinary person. I have no interest in being perceived as either a woman or a man. This identity is mine alone, for me and no one else. Accept it."

Just last month, the electoral court presented Baena with a certificate that officially recognized them by the gender-neutral term "Maestre," marking a considerable move in Spanish. This language predominantly divides words into masculine and feminine categories.

Despite Mexico's significant improvements in reducing violence against the LGBTQ+ community, Letra S's data reveals the harrowing death toll of 117 lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals with a documented record of grotesque violence, including brutal knife attacks and public murders.

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