Gone Too Soon: Mexico Mourns for Jesús Ociel Baena, it’s 1st Non-Binary Judiciary Member
In a tragic turn of events, Mexico mourns the loss of Jesús Ociel Baena, its first openly non-binary member of the judiciary and a prominent LGBTQ+ activist. Baena, 38, was found dead alongside their partner, Dorian Daniel Nieves, on Monday in their home in the central city of Aguascalientes.
Officials suspect murder, revealing that Baena had sustained 20 wounds, with one on the neck likely being the cause of death. Shockingly, a razor blade was discovered at the scene, leading authorities to speculate that Nieves may have taken their own life after allegedly killing Baena. The investigation is ongoing, with forensic evidence suggesting Nieves as the perpetrator, though no definitive conclusions have been reached.
Baena, who made history in October 2022 as the first non-binary person in Latin America to hold a judicial position, served as a magistrate for the Aguascalientes state electoral court. In June, they were among the trailblazers issued gender-neutral passports, marking a significant step toward greater inclusivity in official documentation. Baena’s commitment to advocating for the LGBTQ+ community was evident in their various achievements, including fostering a message of inclusion and equality in the state and the country.
Family members dispute the authorities’ hypothesis, emphasizing the need for a thorough and accurate investigation. Juan Baena, Jesús’s father, expressed concern about the justice system potentially making an incorrect judgment, challenging the credibility of the prevailing narrative. Rights organizations are urging authorities to explore the possibility of a hate crime, citing death threats that Baena had reportedly received.
In a heartfelt tribute held at the Aguascalientes electoral court, fellow magistrate Laura Hortensia Llama praised Baena’s dedication to promoting LGBTQ+ rights. Thousands of people across several cities attended vigils and demonstrations on Monday evening to honor the slain activist. Humberto Dena, a supporter in Mexico City, emphasized the importance of a comprehensive investigation beyond categorizing the incident as a mere “crime of passion.”
As Mexico grapples with the loss of a trailblazer in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, the investigation into Jesús Ociel Baena’s death remains a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by the community. The circumstances surrounding this tragedy underscore the urgent need for continued efforts to address hate crimes and ensure justice prevails, resonating not only in Mexico but throughout the broader struggle for human rights worldwide.