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ADF Int'l seeks justice for Mexican politician convicted of 'misgendering' male colleague who identifies as a woman

 Mexican Congressman Gabriel Quadri
Mexican Congressman Gabriel Quadri | ADF International

WASHINGTON, D.C. — ADF International, a legal nonprofit specializing in religious freedom cases, is seeking justice for a Mexican politician who has been censored because he purportedly “misgendered” a trans-identified member of the national legislature.

ADF International spoke to The Christian Post and other media outlets Thursday about several of their cases, including one involving Mexican Congressman Gabriel Quadri who's been labeled a “gender-based political violator” for opposing trans-identified men being identified as women for the purpose of assigning congressional seats based on gender.

On Dec. 19, ADF International filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of Quadri after Mexican courts repeatedly ruled against him. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is a project of the Organization of American States that works to “promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere.”

Tomás Henriquez, who serves as senior counsel for the Organization of American States and Latin America with ADF International, said Thursday that Quadri, whom he described as an “avowed liberal,” “has been convicted by the highest electoral court in Mexico of what they deem to be a ‘gender-based political offense’ of having misgendered a [trans-identified] lawmaker that is currently sitting in the Mexican legislature.”

Noting that Mexico has passed legislation “requiring a 50/50 split between men and women in Congress in Mexico,” Henriquez said Quadri is opposed to allowing trans-identified men to occupy seats reserved for women. The case against Quadri centers around 11 Twitter posts the lawmaker sent in December 2021, and a tweet posted on Feb. 16, 2022, declaring that “In the Chamber of Deputies of the 65th legislature, there is no parity between men and women” because “we have 252 men and 248 women, thanks to trans ideology.”

Additional tweets sent out by Quadri in February 2022, obtained by The Christian Post, took issue with trans-identified male swimmer Lia [Will] Thomas competing on the women’s swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Because he said these things, his colleague in the legislature who is a transgender individual … filed a complaint against him and he was censored,” Henriquez said. “The courts forced him to take down everything that he had said in his tweets and slapped a gag order on him.”

The Specialized Regional Chamber of the Superior Chamber of the Federal Electoral Tribunal concluded on April 21, 2022, in a decision that said “the expressions analyzed were intended to deny the identity of trans women, thus they violate the right to identity, which is in turn a form of denial of equal dignity, thus the tweets are discriminatory.”

The court determined that the tweets in question “had the intention of undermining the exercise of the political-electoral rights of trans women,” especially Salma Lavueno, the member of Congress who filed the complaint against Quadri.

Henriquez attributed Quadri’s adverse treatment to a treaty passed in 2013 at the Organization of American States titled the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. Henriquez explained that while the treaty “purports to fight back against intolerance,” it has a provision defining intolerance as any manifestation of “disrespect, rejection, or contempt for the dignity, characteristics, convictions, or opinions of persons for being different or contrary,” which he characterized as overly broad.

“Any sort of debate that you might have, whether it be in politics, religion, morality, even sports, can qualify as a form of intolerance,” he warned. “It legitimizes efforts of states to try to control legitimate discourse within their own countries.” Henriquez condemned the treaty, which has been ratified by Uruguay and Mexico, as “a fundamental threat to freedom of expression in our whole sub-region.”

According to Henriquez, the treaty creates “a new human right to be protected from intolerance so you as an individual … under this treaty being applied in your country, have a positive claim against the state in saying that you have a duty to protect me from anybody that disagrees with me on whatever issue it is that we’re discussing. It is really the death knell for freedom of expression and also freedom of religion.”

The gag order issued by the Mexican court prevents Quadri from speaking on “transgender issues” as a result of its finding that the lawmaker’s comments amount to “impeding Salma Luevano from peacefully enjoying his political rights to exercising 'her' office as a lawmaker.”

Quadri sees the court’s decision, which also required him to issue a public apology on Twitter twice a day for more than two weeks and register as a “gender-based political violator” as an affront to his fundamental human rights.

“In standing up for my right to free speech, I am fighting for the free speech rights of my constituents, and that of every Mexican,” Quadri declared in a statement. “My career has been dedicated to a prosperous and free Mexico for all, and that demands that our country abide by its human rights obligations. I am committed to safeguarding our precious democratic values, and for this reason will seek justice at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.”

Quadri added, “We cannot shut down the conversation about women’s rights and speaking about these important issues falls firmly within my free speech rights, protected under national and international human rights law. Anyone is free to challenge my assertions, and I would wholeheartedly defend their free speech right to do so.”

“Everyone should be free to speak without fear of punishment,” ADF International Attorney Julio Pohl asserted in a statement shared with CP. “The silencing and sanctioning of Gabriel Quadri — including forcing him to issue an apology on Twitter several times a day — is not an isolated incident and represents one of the most dangerous threats in Mexico today.” 

Pohl expressed hope that “the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will admit this case and call on Mexico to comply with its international human rights obligations, respecting freedom for all.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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