LGBTQ+ Activist’s Mysterious Death Sparks National Outcry in Mexico

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Mexico was shaken by the tragic discovery of the lifeless bodies of Jesús Ociel Baena Saucedo. The country’s first openly non-binary magistrate and LGBTQ+ activist, along with their romantic partner, at their home in the central state of Aguascalientes on Monday.

Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez stated that the cause of death remains unknown, and Aguascalientes’ Attorney General Jesús Figueroa indicated that, for now, there is no evidence of foul play. The investigation will be conducted, with preliminary findings suggesting no signs of blood outside the crime scene and no damage to the home’s accessways. The prosecutor’s office mentioned that “one of the lifeless bodies found was holding a cutting instrument.”

Baena, a prominent LGBTQ+ activist, had served for a little over a year as a member of the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes’ Electoral Tribunal. In October of the previous year, Baena spoke with CNN en Español, highlighting their role as the first non-binary magistrate in Latin America, emphasizing that it was a recognition of years of advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights.

“I want to send the message that the LGBTQ population can access these spaces, that there is a possibility, that we have people with enough of a profile that with their own merits can access these spaces where decisions are made,” Baena said during the interview.

A gender perspective will be applied to the investigation, given Baena’s identification as a non-binary person. However, there was no immediate mention of the deaths potentially being linked to a hate crime.

While Latin America has witnessed progress in LGBTQ+ rights, with same-sex marriage becoming legal across all 32 states of Mexico in 2022, activists and gender minorities still face significant levels of violence and discrimination. The recent hosting of the Gay Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, marked a significant event for LGBTQ+ inclusion, despite opposition from conservative politicians.

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