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Mexico’s new Inquisition

A courageous few are taking a stand for free speech—and hoping to inspire millions


Gabriel Quadri speaks in Mexico City on May 22, 2012. Associated Press/Photo by Eduardo Verdugo

Mexico’s new Inquisition
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It’s increasingly clear that speaking out in defense of biological reality is risky business. Each one of us stands to suffer real consequences for expressing dissent—or even just asking questions—about gender ideology. And yet, truth always prevails. Brave individuals—including many whose bodies have been permanently maimed by gender transition surgery—are standing up to declare that we are made male and female.

Even so, the fight is far from over. In some parts of the world, expressing skepticism toward gender ideology can even land you with criminal charges. Mexico provides a harrowing example of just how high the stakes really are.

Just south of our border, two high-profile Mexican individuals are facing state censorship for expressing their views on transgender issues on Twitter. One of them is sitting Mexican Congressman Gabriel Quadri, who has been tried and convicted as a “gender-based political violator” on the basis of his tweets. Quadri, a Mexico City representative, falls squarely on the left on same-sex “marriage” and abortion. This is not about political posturing for him. In Quadri’s view, it’s important to ask questions, and in February of last year, he did just that.

Mexico has in place a gender parity law requiring 50/50 representation of men and women in its congress. When two men identifying as women took women’s seats in the congress, Quadri asked what millions of others around the world are thinking when the obvious clash between gender ideology and women’s opportunities is clearly seen.

In a series of 11 respectful tweets, he voiced his concern about the jeopardizing of women’s rights and opportunities. Why are men taking spaces assigned to women? For this, Quadri was charged and convicted as a “violent political offender.”

Found guilty, Congressman Quadri was forced to issue a public apology drafted for him by the court and to post a summary of his conviction on Twitter for 15 days at two set times per day—something one might expect in Mao’s China. Having exhausted all options for legal remedy in Mexico, he is appealing his case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In addition to being a flagrant violation of the basic right to free speech, these cases also implicate rights for women.

A similar fate has befallen civil society leader Rodrigo Iván Cortés. Cortés, president of the pro-family group Frente Nacional por la Familia in Mexico, is currently being tried on similar grounds to Quadri. In any other world, Cortés and Quadri would sit on opposing ends of the political aisle—but on this, they firmly agree: Free speech belongs to everyone.

Cortés went on social media to raise concerns about radical legislation under consideration that would create so-called “sexual rights” for minors. He referred to the transgender-identifying lawmaker advancing the bill as “a man who self-identifies as a woman.” For this, the lawmaker filed a complaint, claiming an attack on his gender identity.

Cortés has now been found guilty of “gender-based political violence,” in addition to digital, symbolic, psychological, and sexual violence. The ruling has been appealed to a superior court—the last level of appeal in Mexico. A judgment is expected soon.

In addition to being a flagrant violation of the basic right to free speech, these cases also implicate rights for women. The idea of men taking spaces designated for women is hotly contested in many areas today, ranging from politics to sports. Activists know their position cannot withstand scrutiny and open discussion, so they hope to shut it down. We cannot allow this.

Quadri and Cortés are but two examples of the real costs of speaking the truth. And criminal censorship is not happening in Mexico alone. Take for example the case of Finnish Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen, who currently is undergoing an onerous legal battle for charges of “hate speech.” Her “crime”? She questioned her church’s participation in a Pride parade on Twitter. After years of litigation, this political leader of nearly two decades will be back in court in August to defend herself against the Finnish state’s relentless persecution of her Biblically based beliefs.

We are living in times where truth is met with repressive force. But let us take heart—while standing up takes courage, the witness of a few can inspire millions. We all have opportunities, big and small, to defend what is right. Even as pressure mounts, let us pray for those who bear witness in the public eye and stay true to the beauty of God’s design for each and every one of us.


Kristen Waggoner

Kristen Waggoner is CEO, president, and general counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom.

@KWaggonerADF


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