Two soldiers sentenced to 23 years in prison for the murder of trans woman in Mexico City

On August 4, the second sentence was handed down in Mexico for the murder of trans women as a hate crime, in which the two soldiers who murdered Naomi Nicole, known as “La Soñaré”, were sentenced to 23 years and nine months in prison.

“Trans women are not alone,” said the activist Kenya Cuevas while leaving the hearing, who has followed the entire judicial process since the murder occurred two years ago.

Although the men were convicted of murder, the judge detailed in the ruling that Naomi was a trans woman belonging to the LGBT community and a migrant, as well as a sex worker, which placed her in a vulnerable situation.

“La Soñaré” was murdered in March 2020 by two soldiers who, according to a protected witness, yelled at her “we are going to kill you fagot.” Then they beat her until she fell to the ground and there they gave her a coup de grâce. “With this argument, they determined that it was an act of hate due to homophobia and transphobia and that is why they were given that sentence,” explained Cuevas.

Kenya Cuevas has a long history of activism for trans women and sex workers. In addition, she is the founder of the Casa de las Muñecas Tiresias association and the Casa Hogar Paola Buenrostro (among other venues), where trans women in situations of risk or exclusion receive advice and shelter.

“This is how you should always work, with that sensitivity, with that professionalism, with that work,” she said, insisting that there is still much to be done and many cases to be resolved favorably for the victims, with which she recalled the transfemicide of Mireya Rodríguez happened in the state of Chihuahua and whose alleged murderer was released.

Naomi Nicole, the 26-year-old transgender woman, was murdered on March 24, 2020, in Colonia Guerrero, Mexico City. “La Soñaré” was originally from Las Choapas, Veracruz and she arrived in the country’s capital when she was 18 years old.

It was that morning at 4:00 am when shots were heard and according to testimonies, two officials from the National Defense Secretariat ( SEDENA ) fled the site. Her companions quickly went to the place where the shots were heard, they called an ambulance and the police. However, medical attention did not arrive in time and Naomi died in front of 94 Estrella Street from a gunshot to the head.

Later, the soldiers were arrested when their vehicle crashed in Glorieta La Palma (today Glorieta del Ahuehuete), between Paseo de la Reforma and Río Rhin. Since the investigation began, Kenya Cuevas managed to get the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office to commit to investigating the case with a gender protocol.

Despite legal advances, Mexico is the second country in Latin America with the most homophobic and transphobic violence, after Brazil, according to the Rainbow Foundation’s National Observatory of LGBT Hate Crimes.

The Letter S organization reported 79 hate killings against people from the LGBT community in 2020, more than half were trans women and about a quarter were gay men.

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