Saturday was Mexico City's Pride. During the previous weeks a number of smaller events took place, like lectures, some performances, seminars, etc. But the main, biggest, central event is a march. And note I said MARCH, not parade. In a way, it reminded me of Toronto's Dyke and Trans marches, with heavy political undertones, demands for rights, denouncing of rights violations, and the like. So much energy!
Also, as a march, basically everybody is welcome to participate. Like, if you want, you can just step away from your vantage spectator point and join the ongoing march! Of course, if you have a vehicle, you still have to register. But if you want to make a point and dress up, or carry a sign, or gather a group of people, and walk, you can do so and march together with everybody else. Period. If you think it's weird this caught my attention, just remember that, before this, I had only seen Toronto's and Montreal's events, and it was very clear that the only people parading/marching were the ones that had signed up.
Anyhow, there we were, my habib and me, on a prime spot for viewing, right on the elevated platform of a sculpture exactly where the march had to make a turn towards the historic centre. Just two weeks after our Superior Court of Justice declared as unconstitutional all civil codes that didn't allow for same-sex marriages, basically making same-sex marriage legal countrywide! And at about the same time that the office of the Presidency changed their twitter icon for a rainbow flag and tweeted that Mexico is an inclusive country where everybody is equal – a welcome token, no doubt, regardless of your own personal stance towards the current government.
I had had some 4 horus of sleep (thanks to one ridiculously good and crazy birthday party the day before) and a slight hangover, but there was nothing that was going to keep me from witnessing my first Mexico City Pride March!
We're here! We're queer!
We had no idea how many people were participating, but it looked so massive! An endless crowd extended as far back as we could see. Later I read some half-million participated. Whoa! And it was one nice, big, diverse crowd! There were people demanding a federal law for gender identity. A group of women over 30. A group from the state of Durango and a group from Venezuela. The leather community was there. The bears. The transgender community. Mexican cowboys. The asexuals. The BDSM community. Deaf queers. Lesbian groups. And the usual floats with hunks dancing on them to electronic music, too. We watched from where we were for, I don't know, some 3 or 4 hours? And it was obvious we had seen but a fraction of it all! And it was encouraging to see how many young people were marching, too! An open-minded, politicized youth? Awesome!
I'll be honest, seeing this really moved me. Just your average citizen, right there, marching with everybody else, chanting slogans, making a point, taking a stance. When I saw that big contingent at the beginning, for example, clamouring for a federal law for one's gender identity to be legally recognized (for example, if you identify as a gender different from the one assigned to you at birth), my eyes got teary. I may be a softie, but it moved me to the core.
Faggotry is also Defiance
Many people were holding signs. There was a grandmother walking with her lesbian granddaughter, holding a huge sign saying how proud she was about her. And you couldn't believe how radiant her granddaughter looked! She looked the happiest and proudest you ever could! It was such a beautiful scene I actually just watched and didn't take a photo. There was a guy with a fantastic sign that read "La jotería también es rebeldía" (faggotry is also defiance). There was a dramatic one, held by another guy, that on one side read "Russia is not for me" and, on the other side, "My mom hates me"; needless to say the crowd of onlookers didn't hesitate to yell at him "we love you!". How could anybody hate a child just because they're not straight? How?! There were also those with signs with a number of slang words (some more pejorative than others) and with the message "Todos somos humanos" (we are all humans). Inspiring, moving, rebellious, creative. Amazing.
Sissy that walk
Of course, why bother get all dressed up and not show it off, right? I read somewhere that people complain that it's the more outlandish people that "ruin it" for the "normal gay and lesbians" who want to "be accepted". I understand, some people prefer to blend in, or they prefer their sexuality not to be an issue at all. That's perfectly understandable. What's not understandable is that other people who can't or won't blend in have to be shamed for not being invisible? Visibility is an incredible weapon. And if we're where we are right now legal-wise, it's not thanks to those who prefer to lay low and not cause a stir. It's thanks to those who dared cause a hell of a stir. And you can't do that by being invisible. Not lashing against those who pass and who are happy to pass as "normal" and/or "straight", mind you, just against those that denigrate or criticize those who don't pass because they can't or because they won't.
So, for those of you bold enough to go and strut your own selves just as you want to, you're fierce! Hats off.
Party at the Zócalo
The march started at the Ángel (the monument to Mexico's independence) and ended at the Zócalo, Mexico City's main square and heart. Wow, the place was so alive! There was a stage with singers, mariachis, and drag queens. And the square was packed with people, rainbow flags, young people carrying signs that read "free kisses" (gotta love the transgressiveness of that, right? kissing total strangers in public?), and costumes of all kinds. Oh, and the gogo-dancers from one of the old buildings! Super cool! It just felt completely right that this most emblematic part of the city to be completely taken over by the LGBTQ crowd. Totally right. We even spotted a drag-queen-mariachi!
Born this Way
By 10pm we were totally exhausted from a full day out walking and cheering and taking photos and celebrating, so we began the walk home. But then we remembered there was this small gay nightclub on the way, and figured we could just take a peek. After the drag-queen-bouncer fondled-frisked me (well, she did it gracefully, so she's forgiven), we walked into the main area to see... a drag-queen impersonating Lady Gaga and singing Born this Way! Woohoo! What a fantastic way to end the night!
I'm afraid we only stayed for that one song, though. I was really aching for home and my bed. We still had another small very cool surprise on our way home, but that one is not strictly related to Pride, so I'll write another post about that later.
Anyhow, this exceeded my expectations. Sure, I would have loved to see a bigger trans contingent. Or one from my own workplace (I'll try and see that next year there is one!). But overall it was incredible to see this huge and sincere march, and to realize that home has indeed changed. And to feel proud and excited about it. Well done, Mexico City. Well done. You have some way to go, but you're definitely moving forward. Congratulations, and thanks for a fun and inspiring Pride!