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Mexico’s First Nonbinary Magistrate and Their Partner Found Dead

Mexico’s First Nonbinary Magistrate and Their Partner Found Dead

The couple were found dead in Aguascalientes, which is 300 miles away from Mexico City.

By Belén Zapata, CNNE

Guadalajara, Mexico (CNN) — Mexico’s first openly non-binary magistrate and prominent LGBTQ activist Jesús Ociel Baena Saucedo was found dead at home in the central state of Aguascalientes on Monday.

A second person, who was identified as Baena’s romantic partner, was also found dead in the home where they both resided, according to authorities in Aguascalientes, the state nearly 500 kilometers (300 miles) northwest of the capital city.

Mexico’s Security Minister Rosa Icela Rodríguez said the cause of death is so far unknown, while Aguascalientes’ Attorney General Jesús Figueroa said there is no evidence of foul play for the moment.

“The investigation is going to be done,” Rodríguez said during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s daily press conference, also on Monday.

The prosecutor’s office said that preliminary findings indicate that no traces of blood were found outside the crime scene, that there was no damage found in the accessways to the home, and that they are ruling out the “presence of a third person” involved in the deaths. The office added that “one of the lifeless bodies found was holding a cutting instrument.”

Figueroa said the case would be investigated from a gender perspective because Baena identified as a non-binary person, though there was no mention of the deaths being potentially linked to a hate crime.

For a little over a year, Baena was a member of the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes’ Electoral Tribunal.

Baena told CNN en Español in October last year that there was no record in Latin America of a non-binary magistrate. Baena said that being the first was an achievement and recognition for years of work in favor of LGBTQ rights.

“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.

While Latin America has made impressive progress on marriage equality over the decades, LGBTQ+ activists and gender minorities continue to suffer high levels of violence and discrimination from social and religious conservatives.

Same-sex marriage was made legal across all 32 states of Mexico after Tamaulipas became the last state that voted to authorize such unions in 2022.

Mexico’s Guadalajara city also co-hosted the Gay Games this month, alongside Hong Kong, marking a first for both continents to host the gender inclusive sporting event amidst opposition from conservative politicians.

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