Mexico violence against trans women claims at least three lives in 2024 already

Members of the LGBTQ+ community take part in a protest following the murder of a trans activist in Mexico

Protests have erupted in Mexico after authorities have said at least three trans people have been killed in the country so far in 2024. 

The LGBTQ+ community and allies took to the streets in Mexico City on Monday (15 January) after it was reported that trans activist and politician Samantha Gómez Fonseca was killed on Sunday (14 January), ABC News reported.

Around 100 people reportedly marched chanting: “Samantha listen, we’re fighting for you”, while another group of protesters spray-painted “trans lives matter” on Mexico’s National Palace.

Fonseca’s death follows two other deaths of trans people reported by authorities in 2024, with activist Miriam Nohemí Ríos reportedly shot to death in Michoacán on 11 January, and Jalisco authorities confirming they had found a trans person’s body in a ravine with gunshot wounds.

Two other cases that were not immediately confirmed by authorities included a trans woman known as Ivonne, and trans stylist Gaby Ortíz, whose body was reportedly found in the Hidalgo state, with local media claiming a “threatening message” written on a piece of cardboard had been found by her body. 

Law enforcement reportedly said they would investigate the deaths.

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Paulina Carrazco, a 41-year-old trans woman marching in the protests on Monday, told reporters it felt like “the violence was knocking on our front door.”

“We are scared, but with that fear we’re going to keep fighting,” ABC News reported Carrazco as saying. “We’re going to do everything in our power so the next generations won’t have to live in fear.”

A tribute to trans activist Samantha Fonseca, who was killed in Mexico on Sunday 14 January (Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The deaths come after comments made by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in early January, when he described a trans congresswoman as a “man dressed as a woman”. 

He later issued an apology, telling press: “I want to… offer an apology to a colleague who identifies as a woman.”

The murders in Mexico follow reports that a total of 321 trans and gender diverse people were murdered globally in 2023, though actual numbers may be higher due to some trans victims being misgendered or misreported in death notices.

Reported by the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, the study found that 94 per cent of the reported victims were trans women or trans-feminine people, and up to 80 per cent of the reported murders concerned trans people affected by racism.

One of the victims in 2023 was “beautiful and hilarious” 16-year-old trans student Brianna Ghey, who was tragically stabbed in Warrington in February last year. In December, two teens were found guilty of her murder.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.