Mexico has become the world’s second-deadliest country after Brazil for transgender people, with 261 transgender women murdered between 2013 and 2018, according to a recent study by the LGBTQ rights group Letra S.
According to the Associated Press, sixteen transgender women were reported killed in the first four months of 2019 and at least six more since then.
Nearly all of the slayings have gone unsolved and unpunished — less than 3 percent of the killings of LGBTQ members have resulted in convictions since 2013, reports NBC News.
The study notes that the numbers are likely even higher due to a lack of data collection on crimes against LGBT+ people and that “due to fear of their sexual orientation being revealed, fear of suffering more violence or distrust of law enforcement, many LGBT + people prefer not to report when they have been victims of acts of discrimination and violence”.
NBC News reports:
Last year, 53 transgender women were killed in Mexico. They include a woman found in a trash bin with her face pummeled beyond recognition by a rock. One was tortured to death by captors while her family heard her last moments over the phone. Another was found naked and strangled in her bedroom. No suspects have been publicly identified in those cases.
Most recently, on Aug. 13, a transgender woman died from eight stab wounds in Mexico City, local media reported. Her attacker escaped and police have named no suspects.
Lina Pérez, president of the pro-LGBTQ organization Cuenta Conmigo, said slain transgender women rarely receive justice because authorities often look down on them.
“It’s easier to grant impunity because the same people that oversee the law think that they’re sick, that there is something wrong with them,” Pérez said.
The study noted: “In ministerial investigations, prejudice is activated from the precise moment when a homicide victim is perceived as ‘homosexual’”.
The study also found that perpetrators of hate crimes are often allowed to defend themselves using a gay or trans “panic” defense.
Six out of 10 LGBT+ participants in the study said they had been discriminated against during the last year, and more than half suffered hate, physical aggression and/or harassment.