Prominent LGBTQ+ Activist and Mexico’s First Openly Non-Binary Magistrate Found Dead at Home in Aguascalientes
In a tragic turn of events, Jesús Ociel Baena, a renowned LGBTQ+ activist and Mexico’s first openly non-binary magistrate, was discovered dead at their home in Aguascalientes. Baena, who preferred they/them pronouns, had gained significant recognition across Latin America for their tireless efforts in advancing LGBTQ+ rights.
The cause of Baena’s untimely demise is currently being investigated by Mexican authorities, who remain uncertain as to whether it was a homicide or an accident. Disturbingly, human rights activists are calling for a thorough inquiry into whether Baena’s death may be linked to their gender identity, citing the history of Mexican authorities dismissing murders as crimes of passion.
Baena had long been the target of hate messages and threats of violence and death, owing to their visibility on social media platforms. Tragically, their body was discovered alongside another person, identified as their partner, according to local media reports. Preliminary findings indicate no evidence of a third party at the scene, leading investigators to consider the possibility that the deaths could be a “personal matter.”
Renowned for their dedication to LGBTQ+ rights advocacy through social media, Baena made history in October 2022 when they were appointed as a magistrate on the Aguascalientes state electoral tribunal. Their impact and influence were far-reaching, making their loss all the more devastating for the queer community.
As authorities continue to conduct a forensic analysis to ascertain the cause of death, concerns surrounding the escalating violence against queer communities in Mexico have reached an alarming level. Human rights defenders and activists have organized vigils and demonstrations in honor of Baena in various cities, including Aguascalientes, Mexico City, and Monterrey. These gatherings serve as a testament to Baena’s extraordinary legacy and aim to raise awareness about the urgent need for equality and protection for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Arturo Zaldívar, the former chief justice of Mexico’s supreme court, expressed deep sorrow over Baena’s passing, acknowledging their immense contributions as a strong champion for equality and the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. Baena’s tragic death serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and dangers faced by LGBTQ+ activists in their tireless pursuit of justice and acceptance.
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