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Thousands of people marched in Mexico City on Monday evening, demanding justice for Jesus Oziel Baena


Baena was the first openly non-binary person to hold a judicial position in Mexico, serving as a judge in the state of Aguascalientes' electoral court. They had overcome various barriers in a country where LGBTQ+ individuals often face violence.

The state prosecutor confirmed that Baena was found dead on Monday morning alongside another person, identified by local media and LGBTQ+ rights groups as Baena's partner, Dorian Herrera.

State prosecutor Jesus Figueroa Ortega stated at a press conference that both individuals had injuries, presumably caused by a knife or some other sharp object.

"There are no signs or indications to determine that there was a third person at the crime scene, other than the deceased," Figueroa Ortega said.

The speculation that suicide might be a possible cause of death quickly sparked outrage, with LGBTQ+ groups viewing it as another attempt by authorities to dismiss violence against their communities. People who knew Baena said the judge had been lively in recent weeks and passionately discussed the future.

Federal Security Minister Rosa Isela Rodriguez stated at a briefing that authorities are investigating the death, and it remains unclear whether it was a "homicide or an unfortunate event." In Mexico, some murders are often swiftly attributed by authorities to crimes of passion.

Alejandro Brito, director of the LGBTQ+ rights group Letra S, said Baena's visibility on social media made the judge a target. He called on authorities to consider this in their investigation.

"This was a person who received many hate messages and even threats of violence and death, and you cannot ignore this in these investigations," Brito said. "They, as a judge, broke through invisible barriers within the non-binary community."

Thousands gathered in downtown Mexico City, lighting candles over photos of Baena and other victims of LGBTQ+ violence. They chanted "Justice" and "We will not be silent," demanding a thorough investigation into the deaths.

Among them was Nish Lopez, who declared their non-binary identity in March, partly in response to inspiration from Baena.

"I loved them because they made people uncomfortable, but they knew what they were doing," Lopez said. "Through the institutions, they showed that you can inspire change regardless of your gender identity."

Baena, who became a judge in October 2022, was considered the first non-binary person in Latin America to hold a judicial position. In May of this year, Baena became one of the first people in Mexico to receive a passport designating them as non-binary.

The judge regularly appeared in publicly shared photos and videos wearing skirts and heels, carrying a rainbow fan in court buildings, and engaged on social media, amassing hundreds of thousands of followers.

"If this crime was motivated by prejudice, these kinds of crimes always aim to send a signal," Brito said. "This message is intimidation; it says, 'This is what can happen to you if you disclose your identity.'"

But for Lopez, a non-binary Mexican who walked among the crowd in heels and many others on Monday evening, the overwhelming feeling was not fear. They wanted to continue Baena's legacy.