Justice for Agnes Torres: Slain human rights activist
Posted by mandyf on March 15, 2012
Agnes Torres is someone that you have probably never heard of. She didn’t have a reality TV show. She wasn’t known around the world nor was she even well known outside of a region of her home country of Mexico. Now, however, Agnes Torres is a person that we should all be aware of because it is only through awareness that Agnes Torres and five, or 6 depending on how they are categorized by local law enforcement, other individuals in Puebla, Mexico will be vindicated after being murdered for being LGBT.
Agnes Torres was only 28 years old at the time of her murder. She was a psychologist and a human rights advocate. She was particularly concerned with trying to bring attention to the need for transgender people in Mexico to be protected as equal human beings just like anyone else residing within her borders. She was at times very vocal, as all effective advocates are from time to time. Her works toward transgender people being seen as people and not abominations were considered blasphemous by many in a nation where homophobia is not only overt, but often accepted and cheered by politicians. Murders of LGBT people within Mexico are often ignored unless it catches international attention. The five LGBT individuals murdered prior to Torres in Puebla this year are unsolved, a couple have not been investigated and chalked up to “murders of passion” which is how they write it up in the case file when they intend to do nothing.
Agnes Torres was missing a few days before she was eventually found dead in a ditch. She was naked. Her body had been burned numerous times with some form of object which details have yet to be released about. There are rumors of mutilation that have yet to be confirmed or denied by any authoritative source. Her throat was slit. A preliminary coroners report states that all indications point to her having been tortured at length.
The full timeline to her murder is unclear. Her Twitter account has been silent since 3/7/12. She was noticed missing on 3/9/12. According to varying reports, her body was discovered on either the 12th or 13th of March 2012. Due to what some have characterized as a half competent autopsy, there is no real indication as to when she actually expired. Some politicians are calling for the case to remain opened and actively and thoroughly investigated as they are receiving more international pressure to address a rapidly escalating list of murdered LGBT individuals in Mexico along with an alarming amount of murders against women which have become so common that they are using the term “femicide” to categorize them all.
It wont be easy, as politicians like Juan Pablo Castro, “a member of the conservative PAN party, tweeted that Torres was known for preying on youth and that she deserved to die. (Earlier, Castro created a stir when he referred to gay men as jotos(“faggots”) in opposing same-sex marriage to the legislature.)” Sadly, he is not alone in this train of thought. It is a common enough perspective among many Mexican politicians that such statements are not vilified but rather celebrated. His Twitter account was (@jpcastrogamble, but he has terminated the account after word of his hate speech spewed via Twitter went public and his account was inundated with Tweets requesting apologies or getting very ugly in response to his statements.
Murder is unfortunately a worldwide epidemic. It is certainly not limited to the LGBT community or to women. The rich and poor, famous and forgotten are murdered just the same. In the case of Agnes Torres, there is a different pain many of us feel. In a place where few, if any, would speak up on behalf of people that were gay or transgender, Ms. Torres did. She was their voice. She was the face of their hopes for one day being seen and treated as equal human beings under the law, and maybe one day to their countrymen as well. She was a beautiful, intelligent, driven bright light that shone for all who needed a glimmer of hope. Although she is gone, if we keep her memory alive, that light still shines.
Ms. Torres deserves that. She has earned my respect for doing the right thing, the hard thing, when it would be so much easier to live in relative obscurity denying her identity. All victims deserve justice – none more than another. It is Agnes Torres however that has personally moved me as a person. It is why for her, I want to keep her name alive and spread word of her works and legacy so that one day, her murderers may be brought to justice. So that one day, someone may pick up her cause and speak out for the disenfranchised LGBT individuals not only in Puebla, but everywhere, that need hope. If you wish to contact the appropriate officials to see that the murder of Agnes Torres, and others like her, is actually investigated, please stop by here.
“My dream is to live in a better culture, one where hospitality and respect are the core values. Each morning I get up and I do much more than write, so that the next day I may be able to wake up in my own dream. All that begs to be asked is: what will you do to have the ability to share your dream?”
— Agnes Torres Hernández