MEXICO CITY – At least 202 murders of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community occurred between 2014 and 2016 in Mexico, a rate of nearly six homicides per month, with female trans individuals bearing the brunt of the violence.
A total of 108 trans women (transvestites, transgender individuals and transsexuals), 93 gay men and a lesbian woman were killed, the non-governmental organization Letra S said in a report based on media monitoring.
It marked the first time that the number of slain trans women exceeded the total amount of murdered gay men, while the report also documented a shift in the way these hate crimes are being perpetrated.
“We hadn’t seen gang attacks before, like those that occur in the United States or Europe,” Letra S Executive Director Alejandro Brito told EFE on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which is observed on May 17.
The activist also noted that the pattern of violence was different depending on the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Gay men are often targeted by robbers, with gangs even specializing in this type of crime. The modus operandi is for the criminal to seduce the person either in person or via Internet and then, once inside the victim’s home, to steal his belongings and kill him.
“It’s not enough for the criminal to rob him. He kills him and does so with cruelty, with extreme brutality, as if he were punishing (the victim for) his sexual orientation,” Brito said.
Trans women are also victims of savage violence, with the difference being that their bodies are often dumped in vacant lots and other public areas, he added.
Paulett Gonzalez, a transgender beauty queen from the western state of Nayarit, was found dead on July 29, 2016, in Irapuato, a town in the central state of Guanajuato, after a weeks-long search. Her charred remains were found in a vacant lot.
In June 2015, the body of a transsexual woman who had been shot and killed, bore signs of torture and was wrapped in a Mexican flag was found in the northern state of Chihuahua.
Of the 202 LGBT murder victims, at least 33 (16 percent) showed signs of torture and 15 bore evidence of sexual violence, the report said.
The state with the highest number of these murders was the Gulf coast state of Veracruz with 22, followed by the central state of Mexico and Chihuahua with 15 and 14, respectively.
In only 64 of the homicide cases, or around one-third of the total, were any suspects identified.