Mexico: Shadow Report, The Violations of the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons


The International Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights Program of Harvard Law School, Global Rights, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) have worked together to produce this report on the status of LGBT persons in Mexico.1 The purpose of this report is to provide an evaluation of Mexico's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and to complement ongoing advocacy of greater protection and promotion of LGBT rights in Mexico. Mexico ratified the ICCPR on March 23, 1981 and submitted its fifth periodic state report to the Human Rights Committee in October 2009. The Human Rights Committee will evaluate this report and consider Mexico's compliance with the ICCPR in March 2010. Shadow reports submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may serve as an additional source of information for UN committee members.

Executive Summary

Article 1 of the Mexican Constitution states that all individuals are guaranteed the protections and immunities found in the Constitution.2 It prohibits discrimination based on ethnic or national origin, gender, age, disability, social status, health condition, religious opinion, preferences of any kind, civil status or any other reason which degrades human dignity.3 The Mexican Constitution does not specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the general ban on discrimination based on preferences of any kind may encompass discrimination based on sexual orientation.4 Despite this strong antidiscrimination norm enshrined in the Constitution, LGBT persons in Mexico face violations of their human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mexico has recently seen increased protection of the rights of LGBT persons. On March 4th, marriage for same-sex couples will become legal in the federal capital district of Mexico City.

A federal act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and occupation was passed in 2003.5 This law prohibits any "distinction, exclusion or restriction" based, inter alia, on sexual orientation that "has the effect of impeding or annulling the recognition or exercise of the rights and equality of all persons."6 However, similar protections for discrimination on the basis of gender identity are not enshrined in law.

Mexico has also created a National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED). CONAPRED is responsible for receiving and resolving complaints of discrimination in both the public and private sector. In addition, CONAPRED is charged with creating proactive antidiscrimination programs, and has been active in the field of LGBT rights, publishing numerous reports on the issue.

Despite these advances, however, LGBT persons continue to face discrimination and human rights violations based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. The overall culture in Mexico remains highly repressive in its attitudes towards LGBTI persons. The persistence of discriminatory sentiment towards the LGBTI community is illustrated by a recent poll of the Mexican population, which showed that 48.4% would never live with an LGB person and that 11.6% would never hire one.7

There have been multiple instances of discrimination and violence towards LGBTI individuals in Mexico over past few years, including hate crimes and serious abuses by state authorities, some of which are documented below. LGBT persons in Mexico face a serious threat of violence. One recent study has found that between 1995 and 2007, 464 homophobic and transphobic hate crimes were committed in Mexico.8 Another study indicates that 76.4% of LGBT persons have been subjected to physical violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that 53.3% had been assaulted in public spaces.9 Additionally, another survey has indicated that 30% of LGB persons in Mexico had been discriminated against by police and that 20% had been assaulted by police.10 Travesti and transgender persons are subjected to mass detentions, extortion, and physical abuse at the hands of police and military officials. LGBT persons face widespread employment discrimination in both the public and the private sector.

Despite these continuing problems, Mexico's report fails to mention these violations. This report traces the numerous human rights violations LGBT individuals have suffered in the past few years even though Mexico has a duty to protect them from these violations under the ICCPR. It is our hope that the information contained in this report will aid the evaluation of Mexico's adherence to the principles set forth in the ICCPR, and eventually lead to greater progress—and full acceptance—of the civil and political rights of LGBTI persons in Mexico.

Download the full report »


  1. This report was drafted by Virginia Corrigan (2L HLS), under the supervision of Mindy Jane Roseman (J.D., Ph.D. HLS) with the assistance of Stefano Fabeni of Global Rights and Marcelo Ferreyra of IGLHRC. Information were provided by Amaranta Gomez Regalado of Colectivo Binni Laanu A.C., Roberto Guzman of Diversex Quintana Roo, Armando Diaz and Juan Miguel Moran of Centro de la Diversidad y los Derechos Sexuales A.C. Jalisco.
  2. Mexican Constitution, Article 1.
  3. Id.
  4. Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Distrito Federal [CDHDF], Informe especial sobre violaciones a los derechos humanos por orientación o preferencia sexual y por identidad o expresión de género 2007-2008 18 (2008) [Hereinafter INFORME].
  5. Ley Federal Para Prevenir y Eliminar la Discriminación.
  6. Id. The law also defines discriminatory conduct to include, among other acts, "impeding access to public or private education; prohibiting free choice of employment, restricting access, permanency or promotion in employment; denying or restricting information on reproductive rights; denying medical services; impeding participation in civil, political or any other kind of organizations; impeding the exercise of property rights; offending, ridiculing or promoting violence through messages and images displayed in communications media; impeding access to social security and its benefits; impeding access to any public service or private institution providing services to the public; limiting freedom of movement; exploiting or treating in an abusive or degrading way; restricting participation in sports, recreation or cultural activities; incitement to hatred, violence, rejection, ridicule, defamation, slander, persecution or exclusion; promoting or indulging in physical or psychological abuse based on physical appearance or dress, talk, mannerisms or for openly acknowledging one's sexual preferences." Id.
  7. Fernando Ríos, Minimizan autoridades asesinatos de homosexuales, EL SOL DE MÉXICO, July 18, 2009.
  8. 464 crímenes de odio por homofobia en México: CCCCOH, NOTIESE, May 19, 2009.
  9. Mariana Saynes, México, Segundo en crímenes por homofobia, ADIARIO, Jan. 4, 2010.
  10. Liliana Alcántara, Pierde el trabajo y la libertad por ser gay, EL UNIVERSAL, Dec. 23, 2009.