Things That Matter

Mexico Is Rated The 2nd Most Dangerous Country On Earth For Trans People, But Mexico City Is Moving To Protect Trans Youth

Mexico City has long been a hub for some of the more progressive policies to take hold in Mexico. Despite being the capital of a largely conservative and religious country, the capital has enacted several much-needed human rights policies that have helped some of the nation’s most at-risk populations.

From becoming the first city in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage (in 2009) to being the only city in the country to offer legal on-demand abortion (from 2007 until Oaxaca also decriminalized it in September 2019), Mexico City has been a leader for progressive values.

And it’s been leading the cause for transgender rights for years. So news that the city government was planning additional protections for transgender Mexicans, didn’t surprise many but has still managed to spur some protests.

The Mexico City law would allow youth to change their legal names and gender to match those of their identity.

Children in Mexico City might soon be able to legally change their name and gender through a “quick” formality at a government office.

A proposal to allow minors to change the details on their birth certificates with the authorization of one of their parents will be presented in the Mexico City Congress next week after it won support from two congressional committees.

Nineteen lawmakers voted in favor of the bill while just three voted against it. The Morena party-backed bill proposes changing Mexico City’s civil code to enable transgender children and adolescents to change their name and gender by completing an administrative procedure at civil registry offices.

To do so they would have to be accompanied by either their mother, father or legal guardian.

Morena Deputy Paola Soto, one of the bill’s two main proponents, said the proposed law would guarantee the rights of transgender minors. “. . . Above all, it doesn’t imply a revictimizing judicial process as is now in force,” Soto said.

Allowing children to choose gender is all about respect.

Credit: NurPhoto

Those who identify as a gender that doesn’t “match” the sex they were born with pose no threat to anyone.

Just because Mexico has other, bigger problems doesn’t mean that we need to ignore all the ones we consider smaller in the meantime. If we can help children to accept themselves and be respected by others by giving them the legitimacy of a standardized bureaucratic procedure, then it should do that.

The statistics are clear: any kind of gender or sexual identity “deviance” is correlated with sky-high rates of depression, suicide and self-harm . . . and that’s just on the individual level. Family estrangement, abuse and homelessness are also too prevalent in this population. Then of course there’s the run-of-the-mill everyday discrimination they face by society at large.

However, the proposal isn’t without its opponents who have taken to the streets to protest.

Credit: National Front For The Family

A coalition of anti-abortion and other groups protested outside the city council building Tuesday, holding signs reading “No to The Trans Law,” and “Don’t Confuse Children.”

They argued children cannot be expected to make such a decision.

The bill also faces opposition from lawmakers with the other three major parties but Morena (the current President’s political party) has a majority in the 66-seat unicameral Congress.

National Action Party Deputy Christian von Roehrich said that only the federal Congress is authorized to make civil code changes as per a Supreme Court ruling.

Mexico City has a long history of taking progressive values and turning them into concrete policies.

Credit: Animal Politico

From becoming the first city in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage (in 2009) to being the only city in the country to offer legal on-demand abortion (from 2007 until Oaxaca also decriminalized it in September 2019), Mexico City has been a leader for progressive values.

The city has also lead the battle for transgender rights and is even piloting a program to provide a monthly stipend to more than 100 trans individuals so that they can have proper access to medical care and hormone replacement therapy.

However, the city and country still suffer from extreme violence targeting members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Credit: NurPhoto

According to the Mexico Global Impunity Index, 99 percent of all crimes in the country go unpunished. This shocking level of impunity adds up to lethal equation for the trans community, which already faces widespread social prejudice. The organization Transgender Europe documented 217 murders of trans men and women in Mexico between 2008 and 2016, ranking it the second deadliest country in the world for trans people after Brazil. Rocio Suárez, a spokesperson from the Mexico City-based pressure group Center of Support for Trans Identities, tells Broadly that 12 trans people have been killed in October of this year alone.

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Residents Cite Negligence After Mexico City Train Collapse Leaves At Least 23 Dead

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Residents Cite Negligence After Mexico City Train Collapse Leaves At Least 23 Dead

A segment of a Mexico City Metro train line with a history of structural problems collapsed on Monday night leaving nearly two dozen dead and many more injured. As the dust begins to settle, many residents of the city are already pointing fingers at local officials who have done little to ensure the line’s safety.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador has said that his government will allow for a transparent investigation and will “hide nothing” from the public but many have little faith in the government to do what’s right.

Mexico City Metro train collapses and leaves 23 people dead and many more injured.

A metro train traveling on an overpass in the southeastern part of Mexico City collapsed late on Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring more than 70. One person trapped in a car underneath the wreckage was pulled out alive.

The two train carriages were seen hanging from the structure, above a busy road. This is the deadliest incident in decades in the city’s metro system, one of the busiest in the world.

A crane was sent to the scene to stabilize the carriages amid concerns they could fall onto the road, which forced officials to temporarily halt rescue efforts at night.

In chaotic scenes, anxious friends and relatives of those believed to be on the train gathered in the area. Efraín Juárez told AFP news agency that his son was in the wreckage. “My daughter-in-law called us. She was with him and she told us the structure fell down over them.”

Gisela Rioja Castro, 43, was looking for her 42-year-old husband, who always take that train after work and had not been answering his phone. She said the authorities had no information about him. “Nobody knows anything,” she told the Associated Press.

Mexico City’s metro system is one of the world’s busiest but has long suffered from underfunding.

Mexico City’s metro system is one of the most used in the world, carrying tens of millions of passengers a week. In North America, only New York’s subway carries more people every day. Yet the incident did not occur on one of the older lines, which have been through at least two major earthquakes in the past 35 years. Rather it happened on Line 12, completed as recently as October 2012.

There will be difficult questions for the mayor’s office to come about the construction of the line, including for several former mayors.

They include Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who was in office when Line 12 was unveiled and who championed the metro’s expansion. He called the accident a “terrible tragedy”.

Mexico City’s current mayor has promised a thorough investigation.

The tragedy puts the spotlight on Mayor Sheinbaum and Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, two key allies of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who are both seen as early front-runners to be Mexico’s next president. Lopez Obrador said at the Tuesday briefing that his government would “hide nothing” from the public about the accident.

Sheinbaum, who has been mayor for more than two years, said the city was going to inspect the entire Line 12, on the southeast side of the city, which she said had been undergoing regular maintenance. She said the rest of the subway lines are safe, though she pointed out that as recently as January, the metro system had had another major problem, a fire in the main control room that stalled operations through mid-February.

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A Small Victory For Trans Ohioans As Transphobic Violence And Legislation Persists

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A Small Victory For Trans Ohioans As Transphobic Violence And Legislation Persists

Prior to 2016, trans people were able to change the sex marker on their birth certificates. That was until the Ohio Department of Health under former Republican gov. John Kasich “re-reviewed” its policy denying this right.

Upheld for four years, state government officials claimed the regulations were necessary to maintain “accurate birth records” and prevent “fraud.”

Though for trans folk, not having an accurate ID can be dangerous.

Ohio’s former four-year-old policy explicitly targeted transgender people.

Stacie Ray, a transgender woman, attended a job orientation back in 2016 that required new employees to present their birth certificates. When a human resources staffer called Ray up, she was outed in front of the other new employees.

According to the ACLU, she was called a “freak” and received harassment from co-workers threatening to “beat her ass” if she used the women’s bathroom. Ray quit after two weeks, though her troubles didn’t end there.

Although her driver’s license correctly identified her as female, her mismatched birth certificate prevented her from receiving higher paying jobs. Humiliated she went to change her birth certificate, but was rejected.

Fed up Ray, alongside three other transgender people sued the state against the policy refusing to change their birth certificates.

Ohio, until recently, was one of two states that banned trans people from updating their birth certificates to match their lived gender.

Last December, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled in their favor condemning the state’s unconstitutional policy.

After examining the Plaintiffs’ evidence, Judge Michael Watson wrote in a 28-page-order that, “It is not just the Plaintiffs’ own experiences that have caused them to fear disclosing their status but also a broader reality that, unfortunately, many transgender individuals do face a heightened risk of ‘discrimination, harassment, and violence because of their gender identity.'”

In a 2015 state report by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 36 percent of trans people who presented an ID that didn’t match their lived gender were “verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.”

The Ohio Department of Health was expected to challenge the court ruling, but have since recanted their appeal. A process for trans people to rectify their birth certificates is set to be unveiled by June 1st.

This small victory comes as anti-trans laws are piling up nationwide.

2021 is on the cusp of surpassing 2015’s record for the most anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in recent history. More than 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced with states like Texas, Montana, Tennessee, and Arkansas leading the country’s bills.

Eight of them have already been enacted into law. But a vast majority of the anti-trans legislation will affect trans youth.

LGBTQ+ people and their allies are fighting back against a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ bills.

Currently, at least 66 proposed bills are anti-trans sports bills. At least 35 bills would prohibit youth from receiving access to gender-affirming medical care.

Last month, Arkansas became the first state to pass the most extreme anti-trans law yet. Despite a veto by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, lawmakers passed the bill which will ban transgender youth from receiving proper medical gender-affirming care.

House Bill 1570, also known as the SAFE Act, would ban doctors from providing care to trans and non-binary youth under the age of 18 or risk losing their medical license.

LGBTQ+ activists have continuously advocated that these bills are increasingly harmful to trans and nonbinary youth.

In 2020, 52 percent of trans and nonbinary youth considered suicide, according to a survey by The Trevor Project. Twenty-six percent of youth without access to gender-affirming care attempted suicide.

Unfortunately, the horrors of transphobic rhetoric has not ceased.

Anti-trans violence is also rising as another trans woman of color is killed.

At least 17 transgender people have been killed in 2021 with the majority of victims disproportionately being Black and Latinx trans women.

In April alone, five trans women were killed as the recent news of Natalia “Smut” Lopez emerged last week. A 24-year-old Afro-Puerto Rican trans woman, Lopez was a beloved drag artist in her local San Jose LGBTQ+ community.

Senselessly killed by her partner, her assailant admitted to having stabbed Lopez in a 911 call, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and is now facing murder charges.

Intimate partner violence disproportionately affects trans women of color compared to the general population. Since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign has tracked over 202 cases of fatal violence against trans and nonbinary people.

Last year was marked as the worst year for transphobic violence as 44 trans people were killed. So far, 2021 is on track to surpass that.

Local organizers and friends of Lopez have held a vigil for her which was attended by over 100 people. In addition, Lopez’s longtime friend Kiara Ohlde organized a GoFundMe to support Lopez’s family and funeral expenses.

To help donate, you can access the GoFundMe here.

As 2021, shows little promise in protecting and uplifting trans life, it is adamant that we continue to fight for trans and LGBTQ rights.

As the fight for justice prevails the Human Rights Campaign has compiled a list mourning the trans lives lost in 2021 so far.

Say their names! Share their stories! Continue to fight for your fellow trans brothers and sisters.

  • Tyianna Alexander, who was also known as Davarea Alexander, was a 28-year-old Black trans woman. Tyianna was shot to death in Chicago on January 6.
  • Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, a transgender man, was killed on January 9 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. Samuel was looking forward to starting a new year.
  • Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Atlanta, Ga. on January 17.
  • Dominique Jackson, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Jackson, Miss. on January 25.
  • Fifty Bandza 21-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 28.
  • Alexus Braxton, also known as Kimmy Icon Braxton, a 45-year-old Black trans woman, was killed on Feb. 4 in Miami.  
  • Chyna Carrillo, who also went by Chyna Cardenas, was killed in the morning hours of February 18, 2021, in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
  • Siblings Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old trans boy, and Jasmine Cannady, a 22-year-old non-binary person, both from Ambridge, Pennsylvania, were killed on February 22.
  • Jenna Franks, a 34-year-old white transgender woman, was killed in Jacksonville, North Carolina in February.
  • Diamond Kyree Sanders, a 23-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 3.
  • Rayanna Pardo, a 26-year-old Latina trans woman, was killed on March 17 in Los Angeles.
  • Jaida Peterson, a 29-year-old Black trans woman, was killed on April 4 in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Dominique Lucious, a 26-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot and killed on April 8 in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Remy Fennell, a Black transgender woman in her 20s, was shot to death on April 15 in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Tiara Banks, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman, was killed in Chicago, Illinois on April 21, 2021. According to a news report, Tiara was sitting alone in her Ford Fusion when the shooter approached the vehicle and shot Tiara multiple times. Tiara was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Natalia Smut, a 24-year-old Black and Puerto Rican transgender woman, was killed on April 23 in Milpitas, California.

Read: More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

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