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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 2, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 35
Mexican activists stage first national march against anti-Gay hate crimes
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Mexican activists stage first national march against anti-Gay hate crimes

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

On August 13, Mexican LGBT activists and straight allies marched from the office of Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales to the Zócalo square in the center of Mexico City to protest anti-Gay hate crimes.

Organizers said it was the first national demonstration against hate crimes, although it follows a similar march in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, on July 1.

The murder of activist Christian Sánchez on July 23 sparked the demonstration in Mexico City.

Sánchez, was a well-known activist in the largest left-wing party, the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), and a member of la Coordinación de Diversidad Sexual del PRD (the Coordination of Sexual Diversity of the PRD), the party's LGBT group.

He was found dead in his apartment in the neighborhood of Tlatelolco on July 23, with nearly 100 stab wounds.

The Guerrero demonstration followed the murder of activist Leija Herrera, who was found in stoned to death on May 4.

According to LGBT rights activists, more than 700 people have been killed in Mexico this year because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Activists say that most murders of LGBT people outside Mexico City go unreported. Activists in Puebla state have reported at least 10 hate crime murders of LGBT people since 2005. In July, five Trans women were reported murdered in Chihuahua state.

The Mexico City march was led by the Sánchez family, with local activists and legislators participating.

Representatives of Amnesty International, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, Agenda LGBT Foundation, Project 21, the Gay and Lesbian Business Association, and Mexican ProDiana Association also attended.

Protesters called on Mexican federal authorities to confirm that they will treat the murder of Sanchez as an anti-Gay hate crime and punish those responsible 'in exemplary fashion.'

They also demanded that the case be transferred to the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED), the agency charged with dealing with hate crimes against minority communities.

Daniel Sánchez Juarez, the victim's brother, read a statement on behalf of the organizing committee to demand that all hate crimes in Mexico 'are rigorously defined [to include] homophobia, Lesphobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.'

They demanded a federal law to 'prevent and punish homophobic, anti-diversity, anti-progressive, and intolerant behavior that generates an environment conducive to hate crimes.'

Organizers also demanded that CONAPRED 'launch in full force a national campaign against violence against the LGBT community; it has become urgent that all states have hate crimes laws in the their penal codes.'

Linked to this was a demand that murders of LGBT people can no longer be excused as 'crimes of passion.'

Another of the demands was a campaign to raise the awareness of police officials on issues of sexual diversity, and the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and try hate crimes.

Following the march, a contingent met the attorney general of Mexico City, Gabriel Hernandez, to demand a report on the progress of his investigation of the Sanchez murder.

Activists also requested a meeting with federal attorney Miguel Ángel Mancera.

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