LGBTQ Activists in Mexico Decry Trans Activist's Murder with Theater, Demonstration

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday September 4, 2020

A transgender activist was stabbed to death in her home in Juarez, Mexico, binging to six the number of trans women who have been murdered in the city in 2020. Protestors say the police did nothing to investigate death threats she received - and they put on a play in the street in front of a police station on Sept. 3 to raise public consciousness about anti-trans violence, media reports say.

News reports said that Mireya Rodriguez Lemus was a leader in the trans rights movement, and the founder of the Union of Trans Women of Chihuahua. Reports say that critics claim the police are minimizing anti-trans violence by taking the position that murdered trans women are victims of drug criminals who put women's clothing on their victims in order to humiliate them after death.

Mexican newspaper El Popular reported that Lemus " 'stopped being seen last Saturday' in the spaces where she practiced sex work and supported companions," and that concerned friends went to check on her at home. They found Lemus dead in her living room, "with signs of violence" present in the house.

Lemus' murder is also the sixth slaying of LGBTQ activists, El Popular reported, following the killings of "Jonathan Santos, in the state of Jalisco, and Javier Eduardo Pérez, in Morelos, and trans activists Samanta Barrios, in Puebla; Jeanine Huerta, in Baja California, and Brandy Ronzón Huerta, in Veracruz."

Activists have demanded that in its investigation of Lemus' murder, the attorney general's office "take into account the vulnerability of trans women to violence motivated by their gender identity or expression in addition to their status as human rights defenders," El Popular reported.

Friends went to Lemus' Facebook page to posts messages of grief and love. "You taught me to embrace differences and break paradigms, to smile at life, and today you will no longer be, but your strength and memory will always accompany me," one friend posted.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.