‘Gender-Based Political Violence’: Former Lawmaker Targeted for Calling a Man Who Identifies as a Woman a Man

By Mary Margaret Olohan Published on February 14, 2024

Mexican authorities convicted civil society leader and former Mexican Congressman Rodrigo Iván Cortés of “gender-based political violence.” His crime? Criticizing a man who identifies as a transgender woman.

Cortés drew fire over posts on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter, that referred to a trans-identifying Mexican congressional representative as a “man who self-ascribes as a woman,” according to ADF International, the organization representing him.

That trans-identifying lawmaker, who goes by the name Salma Luévano, filed a complaint against Cortés, arguing that his social media posts constituted a “denial of identity” and violated Luévano’s right to be “acknowledged as a woman.”

Luévano, asked via X if those who called him a man should be punished, responded: “Of course they should be punished. It’s hate speech, and hate speech is the precursor to hate crimes.”

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Cortés described how he was punished by the government for speaking up in defense of biological sex, his ongoing legal battle, and how he listened inside his home as assailants arrived and smashed his car.

Cortés warned that Americans should be “very worried” about whether such punishments for speech will soon become common in the United States.

“What is happening, in plain sight, before our eyes, the freedom of speech has been canceled,” he explained. “I cannot say even the truth in my country. The religious freedom is canceled. And they want to make the Christian teachings and the Bible itself as a hate speech.”

“I’m Catholic, and I believe that Christian teachings are important,” he said, when asked whether he regrets speaking up. “It’s not that I’m glad to say it, but I feel confirmed, because you must be sure that you are in the good fight, so at least that I feel that I am in the good fight.”

“They are taking things to upside down — principles, values, laws, terms,” he added, “I think I must give my testimony. I don’t know if I’m going to win. So far, I’m not, but at least I am saying the truth.”

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The former lawmaker appealed, unsuccessfully, to Mexico’s Electoral Superior Chamber. And after he was convicted of “gender-based political violence,” the Superior Chamber imposed a fine of $19,244 Mexican pesos on him (the equivalent of about $1,000). The court also ordered him to “publish the court ruling and a compelled apology written by the court and imposed verbatim on Cortés, on his social media accounts, daily, for 30 days,” ADF International said.

“They sentenced me to deconstruct myself,” he told The Daily Signal, laughing. “How could I do that? How could I deconstruct myself?”

He also was ordered to take a “gender-based political violence” course and was entered into the National Registry of Sanctioned Persons for Violence Against Women in Politics — meaning that he cannot hold any public position at the municipal, state, or federal level, Cortés said.

ADF International filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in January on behalf of the former lawmaker, pleading that the commission will take his case and “hold Mexico to its duty to respect the fundamental right to free speech and expression,” Kristina Hjelkrem, ADF International’s attorney on the case, said in a statement.

“Disagreement is not discrimination, and peaceful dissent is not violence. Cortés spoke out, peacefully, in support of self-evident truth, and for that, he has been convicted as a violent offender and subjected to onerous punishments,” said Hjelkrem. “The Mexican government’s continued censorship of its citizens violates their international human rights obligations to uphold freedom of speech.”

Watch the full interview with Cortés here.


Copyright 2024 The Daily Signal

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