Jeanine Huerta López, originally from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico was a well-known activist and defender of the rights of transgender, transsexual and transvestite persons as well as those of sex workers and people living with HIV in Baja California, Mexico where she worked in the SER Community Center. She was the first trans woman to collaborate in a research project at the University of California in San Diego.
On Thursday, 27 August 2020, defender Jeanine Huerta was found murdered in her home in Tijuana, with several stab-wounds on her body.
Jeanine is one of 4 trans women human rights defenders killed in México in 2020 and featured on the HRD Memorial. The three other trans women defenders killed in 2020 from Mexico are; Karla Camarena (March 2020), Dr. María Elizabeth Montaño (June 2020) and Mireya Rodríguez Lemus (September 2020).
Her family members denounced the fact that when they went in person to reclaim the activist’s body at the Forensic Medical Services (SEMEFO) in Tijuana, after specifying the gender with which she identified herself, the authorities refused to comply, alleging that “for them, she is a man because that’s what it says on her original birth certificate”. This happened even though a birth certificate was issued to Jeanine in Mexico City after her change of gender, which verified her new identity and cancelled the first.
In Mexico there is no official registry of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity; for this reason, in 2019, activists created a National Observatory made up of NGOs from ten states in which at least 209 such murders have been registered since 2014.
“I remember Jeanine as a strong woman, I will always remember her as a proactive woman, always looking for improvement, she worked hard, because there was a resistance in her, in which her story was going to be different, she trusted that there would be working conditions for trans women… She was committed to her community, she did not seek recognition, she always worked behind the scenes”, noted the director of Centro de Servicios Ser A.C.
Source: Remembering Our Dead
At the time of writing, authorities had not made any arrests in connection with Huerta’s murder. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico in a 01 September 2020 tweet urged them to thoroughly investigate it.
“We are shocked by the murder of Jeanine, an activist for the rights of the LGBT community, in Baja California,” reads the tweet. “Authorities should carry out a thorough investigation to find those responsible and give justice to Jeanine”.
Centro de Servicios Ser A.C. in a lengthy statement echoed the embassy’s call for a thorough investigation. The group also urged Baja California lawmakers to add a formal recognition of murder based on gender identity to the state’s Penal Code.
Centro de Servicios Ser A.C. on 30 August 2020 held a memorial service for Huerta at their Tijuana offices. Many of the activists who attended wore t-shirts that read, “We seek justice for Jeanine!”
Centro de Servicios Ser A.C. in the statement it issued after Huerta’s death also noted Mexico is the second most dangerous country in Latin America for LGBTQ people. It cited statistics that indicate more than half of the 473 reported victims of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in the country between 2012-2018 were trans women.
“Jeanine, we promise you that we are going to keep your fighting spirit and fervent conviction that our lives must be respected and lived with dignity alive,” reads the Centro de Servicios Ser A.C. statement. “We are in pain. We are sad, but we are also angry and not powerless because we will fight to ensure that no other transgender woman has to suffer the agony that you suffered and that deprived you of your hopeful smile.”
Source: Washington Blade