Lynette and I got married on July 22, 2017, in Mexico City. A happy wedding brings responsibilities: we had the pleasure and the duty to attend the LGBTI march on June 23, 2018. It’s funny to have the right to get married in a country where you don’t have the right to vote. In Venezuela, we experienced exactly the opposite.
Chilangos and chilangas, as the people born in Mexico City are colloquially called, enjoy a freedom that might be insufficient for some—and perhaps it is—but whose value is evident as soon as it’s lost. A couple of foreign middle-aged immigrants like us, who no longer march for LGBTI pride in their own country, know it well.
We rallied in “El Ángel,” as people call the Independence Monument in the Paseo de la Reforma, a beautiful and symbolic avenue in the city. Our feminist friends call it “La Ángela,” since it’s a woman with large wings representing victory.
LGBTI marches are a transnational phenomenon with a controversial script, in and out of the movements that organize them.
The crowd wasn’t angelic at all, but it was indeed victorious. LGBTI parades are a transnational phenomenon with a controversial script, in and out of the movements that organize them. They’re like a political carnival, a strange mix that make them a unique phenomenon within the context of human rights movements around the world.
The June 23 Pride in Mexico City was no exception.
We heard the usual American nightclub music, which translated into teasing movements of male bodies; pure muscle dressed in gala and high heels. Just like in Caracas, such figures are a sight for photographers and onlookers.
A boy and a girl no older than 11, watched the colorful costumes in awe, like someone who watches a funny cartoon in the middle of the street. They joined their mother, a lady who pushed a supermarket cart with a blue plastic bucket full of beers.
We saw the parade floats of large companies, like Uber or Google. But most importantly, we saw Los Vaqueros from Central Mexico; with their hats, boots, horses and the muxes from Oaxaca, a southern state. The muxes are born male, but take up a female identity and are integrated in their strictly traditional communities. They’re not considered a provocation to traditions because they’re part of them. They stood out from the crowd with their black hair, makeup and beautiful traditional, colorfully embroidered Oaxacan attires.
The muxes are born male, but take up a female identity and are integrated in their strictly traditional communities.
The kiosks handed out prints regarding the fight for LGBTI rights in Mexico and its 40 year anniversary. It caught our attention to see Christians who wanted to live homosexuality according to the values of their faith. A group of stern Mormon boys gave away explanatory leaflets. There were also men and women, students and teachers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the Metropolitan Autonomous University, with signs about the political battles already won and left to win.
In the enormous Plaza de la Constitución, where a gigantic Mexico flag flows in the wind, the closing event awaited, with Fey as the main star. The LGBTI fun would be flanked by the regal Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace, the federal government’s headquarters, and the City Hall Palace.
An astonishing amount of women were present. Some of them held signs about femicide, a tremendously serious problem in Mexico, or identified themselves with their militancy in political parties such as the Partido de la Revolución Democrática or MORENA, both left-wing but mutual rivals.
As far as Lynette and I could see, there were no male transgenders, or maybe they were modest, in contrast with the flamboyance of female transgenders. Lesbians and male transgenders usually attract less attention of the people or the media. However, Mexico City doesn’t have Caracas’ common puritanism.
The parade was well organized, with proper security and surveillance. The presence of the State bothers those who oppose the LGBTI march for religious reasons or worry about public funds.
Lynette and I felt happy and full amidst such a free crowd that turned the Paseo de la Reforma into a rainbow road. Democracy has its moments of glory, but also its moments of tragedy. Lynette and I remembered democracy could be lost.
Democracy has its moments of glory, but also its moments of tragedy. Lynette and I remembered democracy could be lost.
That day, an unexpected party awaited: Mexico beat South Korea in the Russia World Cup, so the team fans’ rallied in their usual spot, the Independence Monument, El Ángel o Ángela.
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