Mexican LGBTI activists have reported a surge in homophobia following the country’s president announcing plans to legislate marriage equality across the entire country.
Alejandro Brito, head of the Citizen Commission against Homophobic Hate Crimes, said there is a “defamation campaign” against gay people.
Speaking to Agence France Presse, Brito explained that “this can trigger a wave of violence and an increase in attacks against homosexuals.”
In May, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said that he wished to legalise same-sex marriage across the entire country, as it is currently only legal in Mexico City and a handful of other states.
The president sent a reform measure to the country’s congress calling on Mexico to “recognize as a human right that people can enter into marriage without any kind of discrimination.”
Brito said: “We think that it’s important for the authorities to take care of this before a tragedy takes place.”
“Homophobia has worsened this year due to the opposition to the initiative that the president has sent to Congress,” he said.
“We don’t want an Orlando in Mexico,” he added, referencing the tragic shooting at a gay club in Orlando, Florida in June, in which a gunman took the lives of 49 people.
Brito said that so far in 2016, at least 26 members of the LGBTI community have been killed in Mexico. There were 44 murders of LGBTI people in 2015 and 72 murders in 2014.
But Brito suggests that these figures, which are taken from news reports, may be higher as “for each case reported in the press, there are at least two others that are not reported.”