Mexico City has inaugurated a mausoleum dedicated to transgender women, the first of its kind in the country. The burial site, located in the populous borough of Iztapalapa, aims to provide a dignified resting place for transgender women, many of whom were victims of hate crimes. The mausoleum was officially opened on Thursday and will house the remains of 149 women, including Paola Buenrostro, who will be the first woman to be moved to the new site. Buenrostro was a transgender woman who was slain in front of Kenya Cuevas, an activist and founder of the organization Casa de Muñecas.
Mexico currently has the second-highest number of killings of transgender people in the world, following Brazil. From January to July 2023, 25 transgender women were killed in Mexico, according to LGBTQ+ rights group Letra S. In total, at least 586 murders of LGBTQ+ people, with over 58% being transgender women, were recorded by the group from 2017 to July 2023.
Kenya Cuevas became an activist in 2016 after her friend Paola Buenrostro was fatally shot multiple times. Despite multiple witnesses and video evidence, the perpetrator was released from custody a few days later. Cuevas founded Casa de Muñecas to advocate for protections for transgender women and spearheaded the creation of the mausoleum.
The burial site will also include the remains of Guadalupe “Lupilla” Xiu, an Indigenous transgender rights activist who died alone on September 9 after fleeing her native Oaxaca and experiencing torture and kidnapping. Of the 60 transgender women Cuevas has assisted after their deaths, 48 have already been handed over to their families. The remaining 12 bodies will soon be exhumed with the help of the capital’s Attorney General’s Office and transferred to the mausoleum.
During the official inauguration, Cuevas expressed gratitude to Buenrostro for inspiring the milestone for the transgender community. The mausoleum is seen as an act of reparation and a step towards providing a dignified resting place for transgender women in Mexico.