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Paola Buenrostro, the first victim of transfemicide to be recognized in Mexico, finally rests in peace

2024-03-07T14:38:13+00:00
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transphobia, Paola Buenrostro, transfobia, transexual, Pride, MundoNOW
Paola Buenrostro- PHOTO: Shutterstock
  • Paola Buenrostro is the first official victim of transfemicide in Mexico.
  • She was brutally murdered
  • Now she rests in a mausoleum dedicated to trans women.

Paola Buenrostro, a Mexican trans woman, was brutally murdered in September 2016 and her killer was released after 48 hours and remains at large.

Her best friend, Kenya Cuevas, embarked on a fight for justice that, in a way, she said has culminated in a mausoleum bearing Paola Buenrostro’s portrait.

«This is the end of a cycle. What happened made me change my entire life. Today, accompanying my sister, seeing her again, strengthens me. I feel calm with God, with life, with the universe.»

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Kenya Cuevas made this statement at the San Lorenzo Tezonco cemetery in Mexico City, where they laid the foundation stone for the Tiresias Mausoleum in May 2023.

Personnel from the Mexico City Prosecutor’s Office went to the cemetery, where they exhumed Paola Buenrostro’s remains — which lay in an area near the mausoleum.

In a new coffin, her remains were transferred to her splendid new resting place, which has space for 150 women. With Buenrostro, there are three women resting there now.

After the exhumation, a priest officiated a brief mass, and before the coffin descended, Cuevas stressed the importance of this moment for her and all her companions.

Justice for transfeminicides

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Photo: X screenshot

«Eight years ago, I was burying her and I promised her that I would not rest until I saw changes,» said Kenya Cuevas.

«I don’t know if I have done it, but I feel calm because I wake up every day fulfilling that promise,» she said.

Since 2016, Kenya has been collecting the bodies of deceased trans women who have no family, so she can give them a dignified burial.

It all started with the murder of sex worker Paola Buenrostro. She got into a man’s car who, upon realizing she was a trans woman, shot her with a nine-millimeter, killing her instantly.

Kenya Cuevas witnessed the murder

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Photo: X screenshot

Cuevas witnessed her friend’s murder and reported it to police.

But the ministerial agents didn’t recognize it as a transfemicide and the case was not investigated as a hate crime. The alleged perpetrator was released, and hours later, he fled.

Since then, Cuevas began her journey as an activist, and she has managed to protect the rights of many other trans women as well as drawing attention to transfeminicides.

The Attorney General’s Office of Mexico City offered an apology in 2021 for its handling of the Paola Buenrostro case, the first recognized victim of a transfemicide in the country.

Paola Buenrostro ‘taught me to live well’

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Photo: X screenshot

«Thanks to her, I changed my life, she taught me to live well. (…) I focused on this (activism). I thank Paola Buenrostro, who with great dignity today enters her new home,» Cuevas concluded.

Although she thanked the Mexico City prosecutor’s office for their «integral» work, she assured that the organization she founded and directs, the Casa de las Muñecas Tiresias, will continue to do «many crazy things.»

That same day, they also brought the remains of another trans woman and co-founder of the organization, Catherine Danielle Márquez, to the mausoleum.

After Brazil, Mexico has the second highest rate of hate crimes related to homophobia and transphobia in Latin America, according to the National Observatory of LGBT Hate Crimes of the Arcoíris Foundation.

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