The Brutal Reality Faced by Mexico's Transgender Community

Mexico's LGBTQ+ community fights for equality. Decades of activism led to same-sex marriage, but trans people face violence and limited rights. They can't change IDs before 18 & endure social stigma.

The Brutal Reality Faced by Mexico's Transgender Community
Beyond the binary: Mexico's LGBTQ+ movement embraces a spectrum of identities.

After at least 40 years of activism, the LGBTQ+ community is more visible and has significant demands; “There are rights achieved such as equal marriage, which has already been effective throughout the country since the end of 2022, but for the trans population there are still many problems, although — from my perspective — they are the ones with the strongest activism. “They are asking for gender identity laws, which only exist in three states in the nation.”

The researcher at the Center for Research and Gender Studies (CIEG) at UNAM, César Torres Cruz, affirms the above and says that data from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights indicates that the life expectancy for trans women in Mexico is 35 years. , due to the large number of murders due to “LGBTQ+phobia”.

Interviewed on the occasion of the International Trans Day of Visibility — which is commemorated on March 31 — he explains that it is important because this population is highly violated in their labor, educational and human rights.

“According to civil society organizations, 500 murders of LGBTQ+ people take place per year throughout the country; “The majority are trans, which means that in reality they do not even have the right to live,” he estimates.

He explains that in 13 states of the Mexican Republic, if they are over 18 years of age, they can request, through an administrative procedure, changes in their official documents (birth certificate or voting credential) with their new chosen name.

If they are under 18 years of age, they have the possibility of doing so only in Jalisco and Oaxaca. In the rest of the nation, if they want to modify them before that age, they need the authorization of the mother, father or guardian, he explains.

And many times it is the family who opposes it. There is an adult-centric view, which considers that someone under the age of 18 is incapable of knowing what they want, as if by magically fulfilling them you know what you want in your life, he points out.

“They are minors who have a very bad time, for example when they are studying and want to have another uniform or go to another toilet, but they cannot do so because they do not have legal recognition that allows them to be named as they want and exercise their new identity”, he points out.

He adds that those who are certain of their identity with another gender since they are children, suffer childhoods of marginalization and social inadaptability.

Trans activism abounds, it is the most current, so much so that its category has expanded a little, and it accounts for people who, in some sense, move with some normative ideals that were imposed on us in childhood: sex, gender or expression of this.

A split image. On the left side, a student with short hair and a worried expression is wearing a traditional school uniform. On the right side, the same student with a smile is wearing a more casual outfit that reflects their gender identity.
A fight for self-expression: Transgender youth in Mexico battle for the right to be themselves.

Transvestites, transgender or transsexuals are called that because they go through the binary transition (from man to woman or vice versa), or in the non-binary one, which marks the emphasis from masculine to feminine or vice versa, but in a broader, more fluid way. , details.

Within the non-binary aspect there are also those who consider themselves to be “agender”, because they would rather not present themselves in identity terms and do not want to express masculinity or femininity, she explains.

According to the website of the National Human Rights Commission, the commemoration was created with the purpose of highlighting the value of life in an open way, without any type of prejudice, also without failing to recognize the strong struggle they have carried out.

Torres Cruz affirms that these are people whose gender identity does not coincide with the one assigned at birth, and who make a change to another or others; They can adapt it to the masculine or the feminine, or not. This necessity is punishable, especially because rigid mandates prevail in the country.

“A trans person positions themselves even with their body, showing that they do not want to be in the gender that was imposed on them, or they want to move fluidly between the feminine and the masculine. For this reason, they are socially punished, since it is not well regarded by conservative sectors.” But it is a personal decision, where the individual assumes himself as he wishes to be and admits his human rights, she says.

Beyond the binary: Mexico's LGBTQ+ movement embraces a spectrum of identities.
Close-up portrait of a young person with a shaved head and a colorful earring.