FILE - In this June 30, 2019, file photo parade-goers carrying rainbow flags walk down a street during the LBGTQ Pride march in New York, to celebrate five decades of LGBTQ pride, marking the 50th anniversary of the police raid that sparked the modern-day gay rights movement. Democrats flooded Twitter and email inboxes this week with praise for the watershed Supreme Court decision shielding gay, lesbian and transgender people from job discrimination. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
FILE - In this June 30, 2019, file photo parade-goers carrying rainbow flags walk down a street during the LBGTQ Pride march in New York, to celebrate five decades of LGBTQ pride, marking the 50th anniversary of the police raid that sparked the modern-day gay rights movement. Democrats flooded Twitter and email inboxes this week with praise for the watershed Supreme Court decision shielding gay, lesbian and transgender people from job discrimination. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Death of trans doctor in Mexico sparks new fears over LGBT+ violence

By By Oscar Lopez Time of article published Jun 19, 2020

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MEXICO CITY - Mexican

authorities said on Friday they were investigating the death of

a leading transgender health advocate whose body was found

dumped by a motorway, reigniting fears over the safety of trans

people in the country.

Elizabeth Montano, a transgender doctor who worked at the

Mexican Social Security Institute, had been reported missing for

nearly 10 days, authorities said, before her body was found near

the town of Tres Marias, some 50 kilometers south of Mexico

City.

The Mexican capital prosecutor's office said it was

collaborating with the Morelos state justice system to follow up

on the investigation and "deliver results soon.”

“We are in contact with (Montano's) family to whom we send

our solidarity," said Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum on

Twitter. "We expect a prompt result of the investigations from

prosecutors."

Despite recent progress on LGBT+ rights, with same-sex

marriage legal in more than half the country’s states, Mexico

remains a dangerous and often deadly place for gay and trans

people.

Last year, 117 LGBT+ people were killed in Mexico, up almost

a third compared with 2018 and the highest number since 2015,

according to local advocacy group Letra S.

LGBT+ activists lamented Montano’s death as the silencing of

an important trans rights advocate in the health sector, where

transgender people often face discrimination accessing care.

Montano had trained local doctors on transgender care,

according to Siobhan McManus, a trans rights activist, and was

planning on expanding the trainings nationwide.

“It’s a huge loss because still in this country many doctors

see trans identities as a disease, a disorder,” McManus said.

“Elizabeth was a transformational force within medical

communities and was a very important voice,” she told the

Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Transgender women are among the most vulnerable to attacks

in a country where murder rates have soared due to drug

cartel-fueled violence.

Last year, the number of murder victims among the general

population increased 2.5%, but the number of gay and trans

victims was 27% higher than in 2018, according to Letra S.

More than half the victims were transgender women, the

organization said.

Montano’s death "is a powerful reminder ... of the violent

situation that LGBT communities live in, and particularly trans

populations,” said Alex Orue, executive director of LGBT+ youth

suicide prevention group It Gets Better Mexico.

“It’s cruel on so many levels.”

The Mexico City prosecutor’s office said Montano’s body was

found with her belongings and without signs of violence.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation

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