Civil society leader and former Mexican Congressman, Rodrigo Ivan Cortes, has been convicted of “gender based political violence” for posts on social media that described transgender Mexican Congressional representative, Salma Luevano, as a “man who self-ascribes” as a woman, per ADF International.
Cortes, who is the head of the political advocacy group Frente Nacional por la Familia (National Front for the Family, or FNF) has been convicted for using “digital, symbolic, psychological, and sexual violence,” and masculine references toward Luevano on Twitter and Facebook.
Cortes called for the Organization of American States (OAS) to intervene concerning the “systematic violations of fundamental rights.”
Cortes is currently awaiting a ruling on his appeal.
Cortes wrote in his statement to OAS: “[In Mexico] the freedom of expression of citizens is canceled and their free participation in the democratic conformation of laws is prevented.”
“Unfortunately, I suffer this in my own flesh in the cases that are being carried out against me and the organization that I preside over, the National Front for the Family, for objecting to initiatives that ostensibly violate human rights.”
Cortes initially came under scrutiny after he responded on social media to a piece of legislation that would see Mexico’s congress label Christian teachings on sexuality as “hate speech,” per the report.
"No one should be silenced or sanctioned for affirming truth," Tomas Henriquez, Legal Counsel for ADF International in Latin America told Human Events, "and that is exactly what has happened to Rodrigo Iván Cortés in Mexico. For standing up for the basic, scientific fact that there are only two genders, Rodrigo has been convicted as a violent political offender. ADF International is proud to be backing Rodrigo’s legal defense because free and open discussion about important social issues is essential in a truly free society."
"Peaceful dissent should never be penalized as violence. What is happening in Mexico is indicative of a growing censorship trend evident around the world, often driven by state-imposed laws. We see this making headlines in Scotland, Ireland, Finland and elsewhere, particularly when it comes to speaking the truth against popular yet harmful ideologies. Free speech is greatly threatened in Mexico, and those who are able need to speak out and condemn Mexico’s clear violations of inherent human rights," he said.
The dispute began in September 2022, when FNF expressed concerns on Twitter over a bill presented by Luevano, which suggested penalizing Christian teachings on sexuality as a form of “hate speech.”
The proposal garnered attention when Luevano presented the bill, dressed in Catholic bishop garb.
Luevano subsequently accused Cortes of a “denial of identity,” pointing to a series of nine social media posts that apparently violated Luevano’s right to be acknowledged as a woman.
Cortes reportedly said in a video that Luevano is “a man who describes himself as a woman, who demands respect, but it is exactly what he does not give, he asks for what he does not give, with tremendous disrespect.”
This and the other social media posts in question were apparently deleted by order of the Grievances and Complaints Commission of the National Electoral Institute in November 2022.
Luevano is a member of the MORENA party, which has pushed constitutional amendments that include the installation of “sexual rights,” without age restrictions. This proposal would also include minors.
Cortes said: “The real purpose of this process is to silence me from saying what every concerned citizen needs to hear—that these proposed laws are driving forward a radical agenda, which poses a very serious threat to the wellbeing of our society, especially our children.”
“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.”
Additional reporting from Oli London.