Connect with us

Mexico

Lawmakers in Mexico’s Yucatán state approve same-sex marriage bill

Vote caps off decade-long fight

Published

on

(Bigstock photo)

MÉRIDA, Mexico — Lawmakers in Mexico’s Yucatán state on Wednesday approved a bill that will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The marriage equality bill in the Yucatán Congress passed by a 20-5 vote margin.

“We celebrate that after more than 10 years of fighting for marriage equality in the state, the Yucatán Congress has recognized it,” said Colectivo por la Protección de Todas las Familias en Yucatán (Colectivo PTF Yuc), in a statement.

Enrique Torre Molina, a Mexican activist who is originally from Mérida, the capital of Yucatán state, also celebrated the vote.

“Finally,” he tweeted.

Yucatán will join neighboring Quintana Roo state, Mexico City and other jurisdictions in the country that allow same-sex couples to legally marry.

The Mexican Supreme Court in 2015 ruled laws that ban same-sex marriage are “discriminatory.” Baja California state, which borders California and Arizona, earlier this month officially extended marriage equality to same-sex couples.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Mexico

Non-binary judge found stabbed to death in their Mexican home

Jesús Ociel Baena was Latin America’s first nonbinary judge. They were found dead in their home on Nov. 13, 2023

Published

on

Jesús Ociel Baena was Latin America's first nonbinary judge. They were found dead in their home in Mexico's Aguascalientes state on Nov. 13, 2023. (Photo credit: Baena/Facebook)

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico – Authorities in Mexico’s Aguascalientes state on Monday found Latin America’s first nonbinary judge dead in their home.

The Associated Press reported Jesús Ociel Baena’s body was discovered next to another person who media reports and an LGBTQ rights group identified as their partner. State prosecutor Jesús Figueroa Ortega told reporters during a press conference the two victims showed signs they had been stabbed.

Aguascalientes state is located in central Mexico.

The AP reported Baena in October 2022 became a magistrate on Aguascalientes’ electoral court. Baena in June was one of the first people in Mexico to receive a passport with a nonbinary gender marker.  

Violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation remain commonplace in Mexico. 

The AP reported Baena in the weeks before their death had received death threats. Federal Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez on Monday said it remains unclear if the murders were “a homicide or an accident.”

The New Gay Times, the Washington Blade’s media partner in Mexico, reported LGBTQ rights groups across the country have demanded “a definitive and specialized investigation” into Baena’s murder. Thousands of people on Monday who took part in a march in Mexico City demanded justice for Baena.

“We are and will be there for you, dear Ociel,” said Casa Refugio Paola Buenrostro, a shelter in Mexico City that Casa de las Muñecas Tiresas, a local transgender rights group, runs, on Monday in a post to its Facebook page. “Your fight will not be in vein.”

Continue Reading

Mexico

Mexico City hosts LGBTQ+, intersex rights conference

LGBTQ+ Victory Institute co-organized 3-day event

Published

on

LGBTQ+ Victory Institute President Annise Parker, second from left, with Mexican Congresswoman Salma Luévano, second from right, in Mexico City on July 20, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Editor’s note: International News Editor Michael K. Lavers was on assignment in Mexico City from July 17-23.

MEXICO CITY — More than 400 people from around the world attended an LGBTQ+ and intersex rights conference that took place last week in Mexico City.

Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ+ and intersex rights, and Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the independent U.N. expert on LGBTQ+ and intersex issues, are among those who spoke at the LGBTI Political Leaders from the Americas and the Caribbean Conference that the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute co-sponsored. Maryland state Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery County), Massachusetts state Rep. Jack Lewis, Brazilian Congresswomen Erika Hilton and Duda Salabert, Mexican Congresswoman Salma Luévano, Venezuelan National Assemblywoman Tamara Adrián, former Colombian Congressman Mauricio Toro, former Peruvian Congressman Alberto de Belaunde, Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality Executive Director Kenita Placide and Fundación Triángulo (Spain) President José María Núñez Blanco are among those who also participated.

Victory Institute spokesperson Pita Juárez noted to the Washington Blade the 438 people who attended the conference came from the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Afghanistan, China, Panama, Paraguay, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Honduras. 

The following groups from across the region co-organized the conference along with the Victory Institute. 

• Yaaj México

• Caribe Afirmativo (Colombia)

• Diversidad Dominicana (Dominican Republic)

• Somos CDC (Honduras)

• Promsex (Peru)

• Vote LGBT+ (Brazil)

Stern in her speech at the conference on July 20 noted the U.S. supported the conference and helped organizers cover some attendees’ transportation costs.

‘Fight for global equality is more important than ever’

The conference took place against the backdrop of the passage of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in several U.S. states and in countries around the world and persistent violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation throughout Latin America. 

Cubans last September approved a new family code that extended marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. (Brenda Díaz, a Transgender woman with HIV who participated in an anti-government protest in the country’s Artemisa province on July 11, 2021, is serving a 14-year prison sentence.) Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda over the last year have decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations.

“Our fight for global equality is more important than ever,” said Victory Institute President Annise Parker on July 20 when she opened the conference. “We have always known that we have had much farther to go, but we are experiencing a backlash across the globe.” 

“In the United States a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced and passed last year,” she noted. “LGBTQ+ lawmakers like (Oklahoma state Rep.) Mauree Turner and (Montana state Rep.) Zooey Zephyr were censured and expelled from their offices in the United States, but hate has no borders.”

Parker in her speech said “efforts to discriminate against trans people are increasing” in the U.K. and “we’ve seen an uptick in identity-based harassment” in Latin America. Parker also noted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in May signed his country’s Anti-Homosexuality that contains a death penalty provision for “aggravated homosexuality.”

“This is a moment of alarm; it is also a rallying cry,” said Parker. “The best way to push back is to put LGBTQI+ people into those halls and offices to stand up and speak for us. They’re our anecdotes to hate.”

Parker in her speech also noted LGBTQ+ and intersex rights advances in the Americas over the last year. They include the election of Hilton and Dudabert, who are both Trans, to the Brazilian Congress last October, the five LGBTQ+ people and a nonbinary person who won their respective races for the Colombian House of Representatives in May 2022 and the Mexican Senate’s vote to ban so-called conversion therapy in the country.

“We can make progress,” said Parker.

Continue Reading

Mexico

Marriage equality now legal across Mexico

Country’s Supreme Court in 2015 ruled legal bans ‘discriminatory’

Published

on

The Mexican flag (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico — Same-sex couples can now legally marry across Mexico after lawmakers in Tamaulipas state on Wednesday approved a marriage equality bill.

Mexico City in 2010 became the first jurisdiction in the country to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. The Mexican Supreme Court in 2015 ruled state laws that ban same-sex marriage are “discriminatory.”

Lawmakers in Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, on Wednesday by a 23-12 margin voted to amend the state’s Civil Code to allow same-sex couples to marry. Legislators in Guerrero state in southern Mexico on Tuesday approved a marriage equality bill.

Mexico is the latest Latin American country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Voters in Cuba last month approved a new family code that includes marriage equality. 

Same-sex couples can legally marry in Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba also have marriage equality.

Continue Reading

Mexico

U.S. Consulate warns Americans avoid travel to Tijuana as violence erupts

The U.S. Consulate General Tijuana: Officials are aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, & heavy police activity in Tijuana

Published

on

Burning vehicle in Tijuana (Photo Credit: Screenshot Twitter video)

TIJUANA, Baja California, Mexico – The U.S. Consulate General Tijuana issued an alert to American citizens after threats and two days of violence by a regional drug cartel in this popular tourist destination south of San Diego. Officials also warned its personnel to shelter in place.

In a message the U.S. Consulate General Tijuana wrote that officials are aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate. U.S. government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice.

Baja California Governor Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda tweeted: “We will apply all the strength of our government so that there is peace and we find those responsible for these attacks.”

Media outlets in San Diego and Baja California are reporting that the violence started Thursday in a Ciudad Juarez prison after the Sinaloa Cartel, once led by the infamous Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, and a local group, Los Mexicles, began feuding. The riot left two dead and 16 injured before breaking out into the streets. At that time a shelter in place order was issued.

That violence has now spread to other parts of the country including Tecate, Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, Mexicali, and Ensenada in Baja California.

On Friday, cartel soldiers set multiple vehicles on fire, set up multiple road blockades and engaged in shootouts with Mexican security forces. Residents of Tecate, Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, Mexicali, and Ensenada are sharing videos of burnt vehicles in the street on various social media platforms.

Continue Reading

Mexico

Five Calif. Congress members visit Tijuana shelters for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers

Delegation traveled to Mexican border city on May 6

Published

on

Members of Congress and LGBTQ+ activists on May 6, 2022, visited Casa Arcoíris, a shelter for LGBTQ asylum seekers in Tijuana, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Keeffe)

TIJUANA, Mexico — Five members of Congress from California last week visited two shelters for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in Tijuana.

Congress members Mark Takano, Raul Ruiz, Juan Vargas, Katie Porter and Sara Jacobs on May 6 toured Jardín de las Mariposas and Casa Arcoíris.

The Council for Global Equality organized the trip.

Chair Mark Bromley, Co-chair Julie Dorf and Senior Policy Fellow Bierne Roose-Snyder traveled to Tijuana along with Organization of Refuge, Asylum and Migration Executive Director Steve Roth. Representatives of the Transgender Law Center and the Refugee Alliance also met with the group.

The trip began in San Diego.

“As we work to fix our broken immigration system, improve border efficiency, and restore asylum at our borders, we must take a humanitarian approach and proactively protect all vulnerable populations lawfully seeking asylum in our country,” said Ruiz in a statement his office issued before the trip. “The LGBTQI community is one of the most vulnerable to face persecution, violence, and abuse in their home countries, throughout their journey to our borders, and in detention centers. As a trained humanitarian, I am going to assess their vulnerabilities and help provide humanitarian protections that are consistent with our American laws and their human rights.” 

Continue Reading

Mexico

Baja California governor vetoes conversion therapy ban bill

Measure overwhelmingly passed in Mexico state’s Congress on April 21

Published

on

Baja California Gov. Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda (Photo courtesy of Olmeda's Instagram page)

MEXICALI, Mexico — The governor of Mexico’s Baja California state has vetoed a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy.

The bill, which passed in the Baja California Congress on April 21 by a 20-4 vote margin, would specifically amend the state’s Penal Code and non-discrimination law to ban the discredited practice. Anyone convicted of conversion therapy would be fined and receive a sentence of between 2-6 years in prison.

Media reports indicate Gov. Marina del Pilar Ávila Olmeda vetoed the bill in order to send it back to lawmakers “to be able to strengthen this initiative from our points of view.” Eduardo Arredondo, an activist and member of the Congress’ Youth Parliament who pushed for the measure, on Tuesday told the Los Angeles Blade that Ávila made her decision in response “to the pressure that conservative groups put on her.”

“They maintain that each person is free to profess the religion that they want and can therefore act in accordance to their beliefs,” said Arredondo. “This includes seeking ‘help’ or an ‘advisory opinion’ in a situation in which their son or daughter is a member of the LGBT+ community. They also maintain that they, as parents, have the right to seek help to educate their child in the best way.”

Arredondo in a statement further defended the bill.

“The approval of the (conversion therapy) bill in Baja California represents a big step forward in the recognition of the rights of the LGBT+ community in the state,” he said. “The delay in the publication of the law on the part of the governor represents a setback in the guarantee of these rights. As long as this law is not published, therapies will continue to take place and many young people and children will continue to be subjected to these practices.”

Altagracia Tamayo is the president of Centro Comunitario de Bienestar Social (COBINA), a group in the state capital of Mexicali that serves LGBTQ+ people and other vulnerable groups.

Tamayo on Monday at a press conference that Comité Orgullo Mexicali, another local LGBTQ+ rights group, organized in response to Ávila’s veto said she survived conversion therapy.

“Conversion therapy damages the most intimate part of what makes children and young people a human being,” said Tamayo.  

Seven other jurisdictions in Mexico have banned conversion therapy.

Continue Reading

Mexico

Global Equality Caucus launches chapter in Latin America

Officials from across region attended launch in Mexico City

Published

on

The Global Equality Caucus earlier this month officially launched its Latin America chapter during a meeting it held in Mexico City (Photo courtesy of the Mexican Senate)

MEXICO CITY — A group of LGBTQ+ elected officials from around the world that fights discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity has launched a Latin America chapter.

The Global Equality Caucus earlier this month launched the chapter during a meeting in Mexico City.

Upwards of 100 elected officials in Mexico — local, state and national — joined representatives of LGBTQ+ rights groups and allies at the event. Twenty elected officials from Central America and more than 30 LGBTQ+ activists and human rights defenders from the region attended.

Mexican Sens. Patricia Mercado and Martha Lucía Mícher; Mexico City Assemblyman Temístocles Villanueva Ramos; Mexico City Secretary of Labor and Employment José Luis Rodríguez Díaz de León; Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the independent U.N. expert on LGBTQ+ issues, and Nick Herbert, a member of the British House of Lords who advises Prime Minister Boris Johnson on LGBTQ+ issues, are among those who spoke at the meeting. Guatemalan Congressman Aldo Dávila, Costa Rican Congressman Enrique Sánchez and Mexico City Assemblywoman Ana Francis López Bayghen Patiño, among others, also attended.

“Right now we see different speeds in the advance of our rights, but we have the conviction that we can advance substantively towards full equal rights if we speak to those who make decisions in Congresses, national and local governments and in civil society,” Global Equality Caucus Membership and Projects Coordinator for Latin America Erick Ortiz told the Washington Blade.

Ortiz in 2021 ran for the El Salvador National Assembly. He would have been the first openly gay man elected to the country’s legislative body if he had won.

The Global Equality Caucus’ Latin America chapter will hold its second meeting in Buenos Aires next month.

Editor’s note: The Blade published a Spanish version of this article on April 14.

Continue Reading

Mexico

Mexico activist receives country’s first non-binary birth certificate

Guanajuato Civil Registry issued document to activist on Feb. 11

Published

on

(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

GUANAJUATO, Mexico — An LGBTQ+ activist in Mexico has received the country’s first birth certificate with a non-binary gender marker.

Fausto Martínez last September petitioned Mexico’s National Electoral Institute to list their gender as “NB” on their official documents.

Martínez and Amicus, an advocacy group that is based in the state of Guanajuato, sought legal recourse, known as an “amparo” in the Mexican judicial system, after the National Electoral Institute denied the request. A judge ruled in favor of Martínez last month, and the Guanajuato Civil Registry on Feb. 11 issued them a birth certificate with a non-binary gender marker.

“I have always said what is not named does not exist,” said Martínez in a tweet after they received their new birth certificate. “The fact of the matter is the Mexican state recognizes that we non-binary people exist and with that we are subject to rights and obligations.”

Amicus Director Juan Pablo Delgado on Monday told the Washington Blade the issuance of Martínez’s amended birth certificate is a victory for non-binary Mexicans.

“When looking for the root causes of discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ people, we find that there are at least three imposed social norms where prejudice and stigmatization begin: Heteronormativity, cisnormativity and the gender binary,” said Delgado. “The former two have been continuously challenged since the first same-gender couples and Trans women and men were initially recognized by law in the country. However, this is the first time where the gender binary loses a legal battle as there’s no previous record of the issuance of an official identification in favor of a non-binary person.”

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry last month announced Transgender people who were born in Mexico can receive an amended birth certificate at any of the country’s consulates.

Amicus represented two Trans Mexicans who brought legal action after consulates in the U.S. denied their request for birth certificates that correspond with their gender identity. Victory Institute International Programs Manager Mateo de la Torre on Jan. 19 received an amended birth certificate at the Mexican Consulate in D.C. after the new policy took effect.

“This birth certificate comes after a decade of living in my truth as a Transgender man and after years of advocating for my right to be recognized as such,” De La Torre told the Blade after he received his new birth certificate. “In Mexico and abroad, many Trans people face discrimination, violence and endless bureaucratic hurdles in their fight for legal recognition, and after all this time I am most grateful for the ability to vote in my country’s elections.”

Continue Reading

Mexico

Two charged in lesbian couple’s murder, dismemberment in Ciudad Juárez

Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez killed earlier this month

Published

on

Jaqueline Isela C.R. (L) & David R. are accused in the murders of a lesbian couple Jan. 16 (Photo Credit: Office of Chihuahua Attorney General)

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — Two people have been arrested in connection with the murder and dismemberment of a lesbian couple in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez.

The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday announced authorities arrested a 25-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man and charged them with aggravated femicide.

Authorities on Jan. 16 found the dismembered body parts of Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez in plastic bags that had been placed along the Juárez-El Porvenir Highway. The Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office in a press release notes the suspects murdered Ramírez and Medina in a house in Ciudad Juárez’s San Isidro neighborhood on Jan. 15.

Ciudad Juárez, which is located in Mexico’s Chihuahua state, is across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

Members of Comité de la Diversidad Sexual de Chihuahua, a local LGBTQ rights group, and Chihuahua Gov. María Eugenia Campos Galván are among those who have expressed outrage over the women’s murders. Activists have also urged local and state authorities to investigate whether the murder was a hate crime based on Ramírez and Medina’s sexual orientation.

Local media reports said nine women — including Ramírez and Medina — were killed in Ciudad Juárez from Jan. 1-15.

Continue Reading

Mexico

Lesbian couple murdered, dismembered in Mexican border city

Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez killed in Ciudad Juárez

Published

on

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — Authorities in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez on Sunday found the dismembered bodies of a lesbian couple along a local highway.

The dismembered body parts of Julissa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez were found in plastic bags that had been placed along the Juárez-El Porvenir Highway.

El Diario, a Mexican newspaper, reported the married women lived in El Paso, Texas, which is across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez. Authorities said relatives last spoke with Ramírez and Medina on Saturday afternoon.

A source in Ciudad Juárez with whom the Washington Blade spoke on Thursday confirmed Ramírez and Medina “were lesbian women” and their murder was “very violent.”

Members of Comité de la Diversidad Sexual de Chihuahua, an LGBTQ+ rights group in the state of Chihuahua in which Ciudad Juárez is located, and Chihuahua Gov. María Eugenia Campos Galván are among those who have expressed outrage over the women’s murders. Comité de la Diversidad Sexual de Chihuahua on Wednesday also urged local and state authorities to investigate whether the murder was a hate crime.

“People of sexual diversity are questioned, including their existence through heteronormative discourse,” said the group in a statement. “They have the right to a life free of violence in which they exercise all their rights, in addition to living without fear or fear of rejection and aggressions that can unfortunately escalate to hate crimes.”

El Diario reported Ramírez and Medina are two of the nine women who have been reported killed in Ciudad Juárez since the beginning of the year.

Personas de las Diversidades Afectivo Sexuales, an LGBTQ+ rights group in Ciudad Juárez, and feminist organizations on Thursday organized a protest during which participants demanded local, state and federal authorities do more to end to violence against women in the city. The press release that announced the demonstration specifically cited Ramírez and Medina.

“We seek justice and clarification in the murder of Nohemí and Yulissa, a lesbian couple who was found in Juárez-Porvenir Highway,” it reads.

LGBTQ activists and feminist groups participate in a protest against femicides in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on Jan. 20, 2022. (Courtesy photo)

Continue Reading

Popular