Mexico City: One City, Two Governments Bitterly Opposed on Gay Rights
Edward Balara - Unicorn Booty
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June 1, 2017



Pride Season is around the corner, and like most major cities, Mexico City will celebrate Pride with beautiful guys and vibrant colors. It’s a city is known for its lively queer culture. Foreign travelers even come to Mexico City to get married. But despite what you might expect, that glitter and gay rights don’t extend very far — not even to all of Mexico City.

Thanks to an odd law from the last century, Mexico City is divided into two independent areas. They have different governments and laws but share utilities. One city, two governments. It might seem a little surreal, but as Salvador Dalí once said, Mexico “is more surrealist than my paintings.”

The government in the central boroughs — what most people call “the Federal District” — is controlled by a progressive party. During the last 10 years, this government has made huge strides in gay rights. In the Federal District, same-sex marriage is totally legal; men can hold hands and kiss in the street without fear. Gay businesses and publications have blossomed. The Federal District is a gay paradise in Latin America. The gays have taken over!

It takes a few minutes by subway to get to the outer boroughs of Mexico City — which people refer to as “the State.” Unfortunately, the State’s government isn’t nearly as progressive. Gay people are still attacked in the streets; sometimes a public display of affection can even see them detained by police.

The State’s government avoids LGBT topics. As far as they’re concerned, we don’t exist. And yet this sits right next to a gay paradise. You don’t need to leave the country to lose your rights — sometimes you just need to cross the street.

Most gay people are used to it. We learn how to behave and what to expect in each area. We have built in switches for our gayness that we can turn on or off depending on where in Mexico City we find ourselves. This surreal situation within one city is “normal.”

But there’s a new wave of LGBT activism fighting for acceptance throughout the country — including all of Mexico City. These activists are pushing for equality enshrined in the law, ensuring we no longer have to take the subway to get our human rights.

Read the rest at Unicorn Booty | Español

Related: In US and Abroad, a Worrisome Time for LGBT Activists (Associated Press)

Related: 22 Nations Allow Same-Sex Marriage (Associated Press)

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