Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mexico City Pride 2016

Yay! My second Pride march in Mexico City! Last year I wrote quite a long post about the 37th edition, so this year I'll keep the musings short and simply share a bit of this, the 38th edition of the Mexico City LGBTTTI March (XXXVIII Marcha del Orgullo LGBTTTI de la Ciudad de México).

Unlike last year, instead of grabbing a spot on the march's route to take photos, I headed straight for the departure point – the Ángel de la Independencia (the Angel of Independence Column). There was a show, there were serious words and demands on renewed civil code legislation to allow for more diverse, inclusive families, a UN representative also gave a short speech on human rights, and a lady proposed to her girlfriend right there! Nice start!

Now, since its a march that gathers hundreds of thousands, it's not that easy to get it going. So between speeches, shows and getting people in place, I had a good two hours to walk around and enjoy. And I say enjoy because, as I must have said last year, one of the things I love about this march is its inclusiveness. And I'm not talking just gender-, fetish- and orientation-wise. Unlike the racist, white-washed crap that the Mexican media (if interested, read my post on racism in Mexico) shoves down the throats of the population day-in day-out, where brown people and people with native features are clearly discriminated against, on Paseo de la Reforma (the avenue where this takes place) you can see Mexicans of every single background, from every part of the country (the city still works as a refuge for those in less-tolerant states and towns), from every social class. 

In fact, it's this incredible mosaic of people, gathering together to celebrate our gains and to demand that equality progress don't stop, what redeems the city in my eyes. I may complain about corruption, about the lack of respect for people's personal time, about poverty, classism and racism. But then Pride comes, and I bow to this city and say "Ok, you win. You're a pretty cool place, warts and all. Well played, well played". 

Well, so much for short on-point musings, eh? So, as I was saying, I spent a couple of hours on Paseo de la Reforma, and I got to see drag queens, gay guys with wings, amazing heels and wigs...  

... people proud of their native Mexican heritage, the leather community, families...

... colourful traditional attire and colourful flags, guys in skirts and on skates, the bear community...

... a train for kids and their families, the Canadian Embassy contingent, one of the longest rainbow flags you could ever see...

... LGBTQ vegans, a half-naked muscular Hello Kitty, Mexican cowboys...

I kept looking for my beloved trans community, but I simply couldn't find a trans contingent. Of course, with thousands and thousands of people, I could have easily missed it. Anyway, sad I couldn't find them! 

Now, the march finishes at the Zócalo, Mexico City's main square. So, after lunch with the habibi and a friend, we headed there, met a couple of my friend's girlfriends, celebrated the taking of this most important of public spaces by such a massive LGBTQ crowed, went for a couple of drinks nearby, and went back to the square for the final act - a concert by Mexican rock star Alejandra Guzmán who, with a career over three decades long, had us all jumping up and down and singing along! Fun!  

With the main offocial events over, we went to my friend's place for some drinks and talk. And that would've been the end of it, except that I so wanted to go out and party! I mean, it was Pride! And so I let everybody go to bed to sleep, and I headed for one last Pride celebration, at a nearby nightclub called Perra. It had been raining pretty hard, so it wasn't really packed. But the crowd there was having plenty of fun, and the DJ, Ula LaFaggot, was not bad at all!

Only then did I feel that I had had everything I needed for my Mexico City Pride experience, and left a happy man and ready to sleep. So, Mexico City, muchas gracias once more for another fun - and inspiring - Pride. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

the gates of hell

Last weekend we went to Museo Soumaya just for this one exhibition – one of Rodin's "La porte de l'enfer", the gates of hell.

Interestingly, I had seen one of these in Tokyo, back in 2008, but that time I had to watch from quite a distance and, now, I could get way closer, up to the very gate itself which, given the richness of its imagery, is the only proper way to see it, I say.

Also, these are considered the most important work of the artist. From these monumental sculptures (there are a total of six gates), many of his most famous individual pieces were extracted – like The Thinker (Le Penseur), The Kiss (Le Baiser) and The Fall (La Chute)!

Rodin was a master at creating a feeling of misshapen chaos, of ungodly movement, of madness. His characters are swallowed by molten tides, they desperately scramble to survive and escape, and some even seem on the verge of managing, though we know there is no escaping the hell we're staring at. 

Sadly, that same day we heard about the horrific mass-shooting at Orlando's Pulse club. This unnecessary, terrifying LGBTQ massacre of 49 individuals was just one of dozens of massacres that have taken place in US soil in 2016. But it helped – what a depressing thing to say, that this hideous incident "helped" – to spark a conversation on what a homo- or queerphobic discourse can generate. Looking at Rodin's gate and it's representation of hell, it's hard not to think about the real hell being lived day-in day-out by trans people, by queer people, by gender non-conforming people, by gay people, by any person that is not heteronormative in looks, feelings or attitudes. 

The difference is, unlike Rodin's hell which is frozen in time, we can – no, we are compelled as members of humane, civilized societies – to fight that hell, to become allies, to reject discrimination and intolerance wherever we may see it or hear it. We cannot behave as museum goers, gawking at madness, even admiring it, and leaving it the same as we saw it.