Guadalajara [Mexico]: Mexico faced a sombre moment as Ociel Baena Saucedo, the nation’s first openly non-binary magistrate and a prominent LGBTQ activist, was found dead at home in Aguascalientes, CNN reported.
The body of Baena’s partner was also found in the same residence.
Authorities, including Mexico’s Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodriguez, reported the deaths in the central state, nearly 500 kilometres northwest of the capital. While the cause of death remains unknown, Aguascalientes’ Attorney General, Jesus Figueroa indicated no immediate signs of foul play, according to CNN.
Speaking during President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s press conference, Rodriguez emphasised the ongoing investigation.
Preliminary findings suggested no traces of blood outside the crime scene, no damage to home accessways, and the absence of a third person involvement. It was noted that one of the lifeless bodies held a cutting instrument, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Figueroa emphasised a gender perspective in the investigation due to Baena’s non-binary identity. However, there was no immediate mention of the deaths potentially being linked to a hate crime.
Baena served for over a year in the Electoral Tribunal of the central state of Aguascalientes. In October of the previous year, Baena highlighted the absence of a non-binary magistrate in Latin America. Becoming the first was regarded as a significant achievement, recognising years of LGBTQ rights advocacy.
‘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 at the time.
Despite strides in marriage equality across Latin America, LGBTQ+ activists and gender minorities face continued violence and discrimination from conservative sectors. Same-sex marriage was legalised across all 32 states of Mexico in 2022.
Guadalajara, Mexico, recently co-hosted the Gay Games alongside Hong Kong, marking a historic moment for both continents. This event, promoting gender-inclusive sports, faced opposition from conservative politicians. The tragic loss of Baena adds a poignant note to Mexico’s LGBTQ+ landscape, CNN reported.