Jesús Ociel Baena, Mexicos’s first openly non-binary magistrate, was found dead at home on Monday, sparking protests from the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico City.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community and supporters gathered in one of Mexico City’s main avenues and lit candles to demand justice and truth for the death of magistrate Jesús Ociel Baena.
Baena, the first openly nonbinary person to assume a judicial position in Mexico was found dead in their home on Monday in the central Mexican city of Aguascalientes after receiving death threats because of their gender identity, authorities said.
The Aguascalientes state prosecutor’s office confirmed that Jesús Ociel Baena was found dead on Monday morning next to another person, who local media and LGBTQ+ rights groups identified as their partner.
Baena would regularly publish photos and videos of themselves in skirts, heels and a rainbow fan in court offices and advocating on social media platforms with hundreds of thousands of followers.
They were among the most visible LGBTQ+ figures in a country where queer communities are often violently targeted and had already received death threats.
Baena, an openly nonbinary person, made history in October 2022 when they assumed the role of magistrate for the Aguascalientes state electoral court.
They were believed to be the first in Latin America to assume a judicial position.
In May, Baena broke through another barrier when they were among a group to be issued Mexico’s first nonbinary passports.
Just weeks before their death, Baena was presented with a certificate by the electoral court recognising them with gender-neutral pronouns as a “maestre,” a significant step in Spanish, which historically splits the language between two genders, male and female.
Mexico Security Secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez said in a press briefing that authorities were investigating the death and it remained unclear if “it was a homicide or an accident.”
Some murder investigations in Mexico have a history of being quickly minimised by authorities as crimes of passion.