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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.

This is the face that goes with the name Agnes Torres

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

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7 Responses to “Justice for Agnes Torres: Slain human rights activist”

  1. emmageraln said

    Wonderful post, thank you for writing this. It’s something close to my heart.

  2. mandyf said

    Mine as well. Thank you very much.

  3. Way back when in the summer of 1967 i was in Connecticut with my Grandfather.i was old 5 at the time so my memory of exactly where I was or why is vague. But what i do remember was not being served at a dinner simple because we were Jewish. This would be unheard of today.

    i am also reminded of these words of a few years back,

    “I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.”.

    Americas greatness lays not in how many Ipads are sold in China but in how many promises are kept here at home.

  4. Kim @ QwikR.me said

    Reblogged this on qwikr.

  5. Hi Amanda,

    This is a very saddening, maddening and moving story. What is happening in Mexico is appalling. And even more sad with the fact that Torres was trying to bring about positive change. I appreciate you sharing this information, and creating place for her light to shine.

    Well done Amanda.

    Very moving,

    Gaye

  6. Although the people who know me in this forum just know me as a blogger who tries to inspire a kinder and gentler world, my profession is special education. I’ve taught in the UK, Kuwait, Zambia (Africa), Borneo, and the US and I’ve backpacked through about 40 countries. My American husband and I (Welsh) have adopted 3 children: one is half Japanese, one is half Hispanic, and the other is half African American. One of my children has severe AD/HD, one has Anxiety Disorder, and the other has Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. My life experiences are pretty broad and my family is eclectic.

    …and it drives me berserk that in these days of enlightenment, instead of working together to deal with ‘real’ problems (such as poverty, lack of equity in education and the like) so many people are still stuck on creating problems that exist only because of their lack of tolerance and acceptance of anyone different to them! So what if someone is gay or lesbian or black or speaks Spanish or is Buddhist or is female or is old or has educational challenges etc.?? We are all just people trying to make the best we can of this life…and we need to celebrate everyone as a unique individual. When, oh when, are we going to look at the beauty inside someone and base our judgement on that? How can anyone not see each and every one of us, foibles and all, first and foremost as people?? How sad that in this day and age we still need advocates for LGBT, or special ed children, or children with different skin colors and so on…we may live in a world that’s developed technologically but it seems that so many of our individual members are stuck in the past (‘stuck on stupid’ per se).

    In 1990, a special education law was passed (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA) and one of the mandates of that law was that we looked and spoke of children with disabilities first and foremost as PEOPLE…who just happen to have struggles. So, instead of saying, “The learning disabled…,” we need to say, “Individuals/students/children with learning disabilities…” Sadly, even though there have been three iterations of the law since then, we’re still struggling to make that semantic change in many teachers and parents. Why is it so hard for some to see us all as people. Period. I sometimes feel like saying, “If you choose to be part of the problem, it’s your prerogative. But please step to the side so that those of us who choose to be part of the solution can get on with things.”

    Something we work on with our children (10, 12, and 13) is to have them ask themselves:
    Does the fact that he is black affect my life in any way?
    Does the fact that he speaks Spanish affect my life in any way?
    Does the fact that she spends intimate time with another female affect my life in any way?
    …you get the idea. And, if the answers are ‘No’ then you have no right to judge those people in any way, shape or form.
    We’re teaching them to react to people based on their kindness, integrity, honesty, support etc. toward others.

    And if we’re holding children accountable for behaving in this way then surely adults should be held accountable too? What a waste of a life with the murder of Agnes Torres…and what a sad commentary on how some adults just can’t get over themselves and their petty beliefs. And, in my view, they need to be held accountable not only for the murder but also for intolerance and prejudice which is holding our country and world back from realizing its true potential.

    And now I’ll get off my soap box and return to the gentler, kinder me 🙂

    Rhia at http://Dr-Rhia.com/blog

  7. mandyf said

    Incredibly well said. Thank you for this. I wish more people shared your open mindedness and willing to look beyond the petty differences and toward the beauty we all share as human beings.

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