About 500,000 attend 39th Pride march in capitol city


Jesus Chairez | Contributing Writer

MÉXICO CITY — The México City LGBTTTI (Lésbico, Gay, Bisexual, Transgénero, Travesti, Transexual e Intersexual) community kicked off its XXXIX Pride march on Saturday, June 24, marching down the city’s main avenue, Paseo de la Reforma, which runs through the middle of the city of 22 million people.

In the U.S., such a gathering of people and floats streaming down the middle of the street is called a parade. Here in México, it is more than a parade; it is a march of solidarity and unity. There are no inactive, passive observers on the sidelines here; almost everyone is walking alongside floats and group entries toward the city’s Zocalo (main square) where the presidential palace is located.

An estimated 500,000 revelers gathered at the border of México City’s gayborhood La Zone Rosa (the Pink Zone), at the El Angel de la Indepencencia (Angel of Independence). The Angel, as it is known, is one of México City’s most important monuments and a good starting point since it symbolizes Mexican freedom.

01-L-Juan-Herrera-&-R-Derrick-VillaThis year’s parade theme was Respeta Mi Famila, Mi Libertad, Mi Vida’ (Respect My Family, My Freedom, My Life), and respect is what the LGBT community still strives for, even though México City has had same-sex marriage and adoption rights since December 2009.

Life is good for LGBT people here in liberal México City, with lots of freedom, community admiration and respect. The mayor not only proclaimed June as LGBT Pride Month, he also proclaimed México City as a Ciudad Arcoíris, (Rainbow City), a city that is most gay friendly.

The LGBT communities do not want to lose that respect and are fighting diligently to advance their rights.

In 2016, the Catholic Church supported México’s National Front for the Family, a coalition of more than 1,000 organizations, in its March for the Family events around the country. These marches, along with the Catholic Church, influenced Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, keeping him from promoting protections for same-sex marriage as part of México’s constitution. Still, the LGBT community here is not faced with anything like what Texas’ LGBT community is fighting in terms of the homophobic legislation. At least not yet.

LGBT groups from all around United States of México (yes, that is how it is officially known) have their Pride marches and parades a week or two before the México City march to avoid conflicts with what is considered México’s main Pride march. That’s why people from all over México are able to attend the Pride march here in the capital city.

There were not just people from all over México attending the march are people from all around Latin and South America and the rest of the world were there. Proud gay Latinos from Dallas attended this year’s activities in México City, too.

03-L-Derrick-Villa-&-R-Juan-Herrera-Juan Herrera and Derrick Villa, both members of Front Runners Dallas, came to México City to participate in the march. Though the two said they had no ideas what to expect from the march, they enjoyed it very much and were most impressed with the size of the crowd of people of all ages, sexes and colors. They both said they felt very safe in the city, too.

March entries and a lot of individuals made political statements with their attire and handmade signs. There were several posters portaying Russian President Vladimir Putin with a Hitler moustache, an obvious reference to what is happening to gay men in Chechnya.

But there were no Donald Trump masks or even any references to the American president, as far as I could see. I guess people just couldn’t be bothered.

Another thing missing from this sea of rainbow flags was a rainbow flag with the two extra colors brown and black such as the one adopted this year by Pride organizers in Philadelphia. I asked one of México’s leading gay activists, who was one of the original march organizers 39 years ago, for his thoughts on the proposed additional colors, and he scoffed at the idea, saying he thinks it is an awful idea and that he chose to stay with the traditional flag, instead.

Jesus Chairez is a former Dallasite now living in México City. He was the producer and host of North Texas first bilingual LGBT Latino radio show, Sin Fronteras on KNON 89.3 FM; from July 1993 to July 2005. Chairez is a published author in the book, Queer Brown Voices, a collective of Personal Narratives of Latina/o Activism. He is also a freelance writer/artist and can be reached at facebook.com/JesusChairez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 7, 2017.