Trailblazer for LGBTQ+ rights in Mexico and Partner Killed in their Home
By Dolores Quintana
Jesús Ociel Baena Saucedo, Latin America’s first openly nonbinary judge, and their partner, Dorian Herrera, were discovered at their residence in Aguascalientes, Mexico, on Monday morning. Their bodies exhibited signs of violence with a knife or other weapon, as reported by the state attorney general’s office.
Baena, 38, was elected in October 2022 and was a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, frequently sharing images and videos showcasing their identity and addressing issues like same-sex marriage and the well-being of transgender children in their role.
Latinx author Myriam Gurba Serrano said via Twitter post, “People who casually lash out against non-binary language, like those who decry the use of Latinx, are all implicated in the murder of Jesús Ociel Baena Saucedo.”
Despite the attorney general’s assertion of violence, State Police Chief Manuel Alonso García seemingly contradicted this statement, claiming no signs of violence were evident at the scene. Baena, who faced death threats due to their activism, had been under federal protection since July, with initial reports suggesting that a guard assigned to safeguard them made the tragic discovery.
Baena’s death follows the earlier killing of LGBTQ+ activist Ulises Nava in Aguascalientes, marking a somber period for the Mexican LGBTQ+ community. Víctor Espíndola, Executive Director of the nonprofit Movement for Equality in Mexico, characterizes Baena’s demise as a “crucial moment” and calls for a thorough investigation with a focus on hate crime protocols and a sexual diversity perspective.
While authorities have not officially confirmed whether the apparent killing was motivated by hatred based on Baena’s gender identity, Espíndola emphasizes the perceptible “climate of hate” preceding their death. In June, Baena filed a complaint against Senator Martha Márquez Alvarado for discouraging their school visits, claiming that they were trying to spread “gender ideology.”
Javier Martín Reyes, a law professor at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, expresses deep concern within the legal community, highlighting the sensitivity of the issue and the need for an impeccable investigation to eliminate doubts about the motive behind Baena’s tragic demise.