On September 23rd, the first meeting of the Citizens’ Observatory for the rights of the LGBT+ population was held, which was started in July of this year with representatives of the State Congress, the State Commission on Human Rights (ECHR in its Spanish acronym) and various competent authorities in the field such as the Ministry of Gender Equality and the Ministry of Health. The Citizen Observatory aims to be “a space for cooperation and collaboration between society, government and academia, to conduct studies and evaluations, whose actions and proposals are reflected in benefits for the LGBT+ population, due to the need to highlight the reality of this population”, and it meets at least once a month. This is the first time that there is a Citizen Observatory of this type in all of Mexico.
Representatives of the subcommittees of lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual and transvestite people participated in the September 23rd meeting, as well as the aforementioned government representatives. At first, a minute of silence was requested for Itztayana L.H., a trans woman originally from Pijijiapan, who was murdered in Mexico City on September 19th. The subcommittee on transgender people questioned that the authorities refused to recognize her gender identity as well as access to her birth certificate such that she died without official recognition of her gender identity. It also denounced the lack of an identity law, proposed in May this year by Deputy Aida Guadalupe Jimenez Sesma, which would make the modification of official records such as name and sex change easier.
Another point denounced was the poor education of members of some institutions. The development of internal protocols in all institutions was required because lack of knowledge and basic texts facilitate harassment, bullying and discrimination.
The subcommittee on homosexuals demanded recognition of the LGBT+ population at state and federal levels through legislative reforms that include an adjustment in the civil code that allows for equal marriage and the identification of femicide by gender identity among others. It also asked to know the number of investigation files for hate crimes and progress in specific cases of the State Attorney General’s Office (FGR in its Spanish acronym).
The lesbian subcommittee explained that they live the reality of double-discrimination, because they are women and because of their sexual orientation, and that especially the health sector is problematic for them because it has a heteronormative perspective. In other words, it is presumed that women use some type of contraceptive and that is why access to services for gynecological and reproductive diseases is complicated for them. They also propose a training campaign for health workers because there is a lack of education about sexually transmitted diseases that can also affect lesbian women.
The representative of the bisexual subcommittee also stressed the importance of mental health that can affect anyone who is part of the LGBT+ population. That is why she demanded that work be done with children and youth on the subject.
The representative of the Ministry of Health acknowledged that a person from the LGBT+ community is nine times more likely to commit suicide and four times more to fall into some type of addiction. Therefore, a day of mobilization for LGBT+ health and a diagnosis of the population was proposed . He also pledged to propose a working group in the secretariat as well as promote internal training.
He identified security, justice, health and employment as the most important issues, but also emphasized that we must think about socio-geographic determinants and their impacts because a lesbian woman, for example, lives a different discrimination living in a community than in a city like Tuxtla Gutierrez.
Another response from the headlines came from the Commissioner of the Unit for Crime Prevention and Criminal Policy that underlined the importance of police acknowledging that Human Rights are related to sexuality.
Apart from this first conversation with government representatives, the Observatory plans to create a “heat map” that shows the risk areas for people belonging to the LGBT+ population and a database as well as carrying out a dissemination campaign of their rights.
For more information in Spanish:
LGBTTTIQ+, la población indocumentada en Chiapas (Cuarto Poder el 19 de septiembre de 2019)
Organismos y activistas integran Observatorio Ciudadano LGBT+ en Chiapas (Informate el 1 de agosto de 2019)
En Chiapas, primer Observatorio Ciudadano de Derechos de la Población LGTB+ del país (Diario la voz del sureste el 2 de agosto de 2019)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Oaxaca: State Congress Approves Marriage Equality Bill (September 10, 2019)
Chiapas: alto a la violencia homofóbica (May 17, 2018)
National: Senate Agrees to Guarantee Equal Rights to Same-Sex Couples (November 12, 2018)