“Two years since Paola’s death, there has been no justice”: transgender community

Editor's note: Mexico has consistently shown that they do care about trans people, specifically transwomen, by protecting those who commit vicious crimes against the LGBTTTQI community. This article shows that even when police catch the person who committed murder, nobody is held accountable. The orginal article in Spanish can be found here.

Two years ago not many people knew about the murder of Paola Sánchez Romero; a transgender woman who was robbed of her life in the middle of Puente de Alvarado Avenue in Mexico City. An armed man – now identified as a soldier – shot her point blank inside his vehicle. Paola got into his car to work and suddenly screamed in terror and in pain about to die; she called out to Kenya, her friend and co-worker.

The death of a transgender woman and sex worker was not relevant to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, nor to bystanders, nor to the police itself; so the only way to make this murder visible and to show the unjust conditions in which transgender people live daily was to block Insurgentes Avenue, one of Mexico City’s busiest and longest streets with Paola’s coffin. That’s how the media began to cover the story and how people began to listen to Kenya.

On Sunday, September 30, the San Hipólito Church located in the Guerrero neighborhood was bursting with parishioners. Full of pain and mourning, Kenya and other friends of Paola came to commemorate the second anniversary of Paola’s physical absence.

But the church staff security arrogantly began to harass the girls who were holding a sexual diversity flag in their hands and a photo of Paola as they silently attended the church service.

The security told them they could not be there with the flag, and demanded the press not take pictures because it was a “federal zone” (when did the church of San Judas Tadeo became a federal zone?). The guard threatened to call more security but Kenya, friends and other allies of Casa de Muñecas Tiresias A.C. did not move an inch and continued with their respectful commemoration.

Paola had requested and paid for this religious service- and the priest didn’t even acknowledge them before or after mass. They didn’t even want to say her name. It has been two years and the violence and discrimination against transgender people is still present and on the rise.
Mexico has the second highest rate of violence against people of the LGBTTTI community, only after Brazil according to statistics from 2017. And for the first four months of 2018, Letter S has registered 24 murders, 15 against transgender women.

On May 17, 2018, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the organization Letter S reported on the violence, impunity and prejudice against LGBTTTI people in Mexico from 2013-2017. The figures showed that in the last 5 years the most violent entities are Veracruz, Chihuahua, Quintana Roo, State of Mexico , Guerrero, Puebla, Tamaulipas and Mexico City. In those years, there were 209 murders against trans women (transvestites, transgender and transsexuals), 55% the total against the LGBTTTI community.

Two years after the assassination of Paola Sánchez and there is no progress in the investigation and the demand for justice is still valid and necessary: ​​”The trans community is disgusted. We are still in mourning, and see acts of violence every day simply because of who we want to be, it upsets us, “said Kenya Cuevas ..

“After the murder of Paola, La Casa de Muñecas Tiresias began to help and we are thankful for their support,” explains the only witness of the murder on Puente de Alvarado Avenue. The civil association project supports homeless, the LGBTTTI community, sex workers and drug users and has been an oasis in the violent desert of Mexico City.