Despite being a regional leader in the legal recognition of LGBTI+ rights, Mexico sadly ranks second in Latin America for reported hate crimes against the community.

A recent study by The National Observatory of Hate Crimes Against LGBTI+ Persons in Mexico revealed a disturbing trend, with the country witnessing 305 incidents of violence against sexual minorities, including murders, disappearances, attempted murders, and suicides between 2019 and 2022.

Disturbingly, the 2022 data suggest an escalating problem, with the National Observatory recording 22 disappearances and 62 incidents, including murders and suicides in 2022 alone – The most affected being trans women, homosexual men, and individuals aged 25-29 years.


However, as bad as these numbers are. Ximena Manriquez, the coordinator of the National Observatory, warns that the actual number of incidents may be triple as many cases go unreported.

“Mexico retains the dubious distinction of being second only to Brazil in the number of hate crimes committed in Latin America,” stated Manriquez. “Despite improved reporting and a comprehensive understanding of the nature of violence, we are still seeing an upward trend in incidents.”

Backing up the National Observatory survey, Mexico’s LGBTQ+ rights organisation – Letra S, Sida, Cultura y Vida, reported an 11.5% increase in hate-motivated murders against LGBTQ+ people in Mexico in 2022. They identified 87 such killings, compared to 78 in the previous year, but caution the actual number could be as high as 200.

This surge in violence contrasts starkly with the considerable legal progress made in the country, including the recent recognition of same-sex marriage across all states in Mexico last year. Furthermore, the Supreme Court recently endorsed the right of trans children to amend their gender on birth certificates, and the Mexican Foreign Ministry and the National Electoral Institute have improved identification recognition for trans and non-binary individuals.

Such violence is attributed to Mexico’s socio-cultural landscape, with the influence of religious groups and the rise in hate speech, including among political figures. Manriquez noted that the overall climate of violence in the country, fueled by a criminal economy, disproportionately affects the LGBTQ+ community.

Gloria Careaga, the general coordinator of the Rainbow Foundation for respect for sexual diversity, highlighted the movement’s growing influence across the nation and pointed out the vital shift from viewing sexual diversity as sinful and criminal to recognising it as a legitimate voice. However, she also acknowledged the continued risk for individuals expressing their identity openly.