Baena and their partner were found dead in their home on Monday. According to police, both were stabbed with a sharp object. The police are investigating whether a murder took place, although there are no indications of an intruder.
The judge, who served as a magistrate in the electoral court of Aguascalientes, Mexico, was known for their LGBT+ activism. In their position, Baena ensured that steps were taken in the field of gender-neutral language. Instead of 'maestro' or 'maestra', Baena was addressed in their position as the gender-neutral 'maestre'. Moreover, they were the first Mexican to receive a gender-neutral passport.
Their death is therefore a huge shock to the Mexican LGBT+ community, although Baena's activism was also known to provoke many angry reactions. “They were a person who received a lot of hate messages, even death threats,” said Alejandro Brito, director of the Mexican LGBT+ organisation Letra S. “This should not be forgotten in the [police] investigation.”
On Tuesday night (Nov 14th), thousands of people took to the streets to demand justice. The demonstrators want the police to thoroughly investigate the death. According to Brito, it is clear that it is a hate crime. “The message is intimidation, it means: 'This is what can happen to you if you reveal your identity.'”
“Baena's goal was to promote the people of the LGBT+ community with a strong message of inclusivity and equality,” said fellow magistrate Laura Hortensia Llama during a tribute at the headquarters of the electoral court of Aguascalientes. “We will never forget Baena's essence, perseverance and desire to achieve a better world.”