Former Mexican congressman found guilty of ‘gender-based political violence’ for comments about transgender representative

Rodrigo Iván Cortés described a transgender legislator, Salma Luévano, as a ‘man who self-ascribes as a woman,’ after Luévano proposed a bill which regard Christian views on sexuality as ‘hate speech.‘

Former Mexican congressman found guilty of ‘gender-based political violence’ for comments about transgender representative
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A former Mexican congressman has been found guilty of committing “gender-based political violence” following a ruling by the country's top court for electoral issues.

Rodrigo Iván Cortés, a former congressman with Mexico's conservative National Action Party, now heads an advocacy organization called the National Front for the Family (FNF).

Legislation brought forward by Representative Salma Luévano, a trans-identifying member the progressive Morena party in congress, threatened to deem Christian teachings on sexuality as a form of “hate speech.” 

Luévano announced the bill while dressed as a “popess,” Bibliatodo reported.

“Enough of speeches against our rights,” Luévano said, the outlet noted. The bill would deem any act conflicting with an individual's gender identity as an infraction, the report added.

In response to the legislation, FNF expressed concern on social media in a series of posts beginning in Sept. 2022, which included a remark describing Luévano as a “man who self-ascribes as a woman.”

Luévano then filed a complaint against Cortés, arguing nine posts on Twitter and Facebook were a violation of the right to be acknowledged as a woman, constituting a “denial of identity.” Former congressman Cortés was charged for committing “gender-based political violence.”

After being found guilty in a lower court, Cortés appealed the decision to the Superior Chamber of the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power, Mexico's highest court for electoral issues.

The top court upheld the decision, fining Cortés 19,244 pesos ($1518.56 CAD) and ordering him to publish the court's ruling alongside an apology, drafted by the court, on Twitter and Facebook daily for 30 days. The former congressman was also made to take a “gender-based political violence” course and was placed on the National Registry of Persons Sanctioned in Political Matters against Women. 

“The real purpose of this conviction is to silence me from saying what every concerned citizen needs to hear — that these actions and proposed laws are driving forward a radical agenda in Mexico, which poses a very serious threat to the wellbeing of our society, especially our children,” Cortés said of the ruling.

“I remain committed to the peaceful expression of truth, the defense of our fundamental freedoms, and the protection of our children. Further, I reject violence on all grounds. One need only watch the videos of unrest in our Congress to see clearly that it is not me and my organization that is bringing chaos and disorder into Mexico’s political institutions,” he added.  

Now out of legal options in Mexico, Cortés plans to take the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human rights with the support of his legal team, ADF International.

“Free speech is greatly threatened in Mexico at this time, and it has hit a crisis point with courts imposing severe censorship sanctions for the peaceful expression of views as evidenced by this egregious case. Unfortunately, Cortés’ case is far from an isolated incident,” said Kristina Hjelkrem, Cortés legal counsel.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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