LGBT rights in Mexico

LGBT rights in Mexico

LGBT rights in Mexico have expanded in recent years, in keeping with worldwide legal trends. Homosexuality has been legal since the adoption of the French Penal Code during occupation during 1862-1867. The Mexican Penal Code that followed in 1871 was silent about homosexuality as well. [ [ Chronology of Mexican Gay History by Len Evans] ] Until 1998, laws against public immorality or indecency could be used against homosexual acts. The age of consent is 18.Fact|date=May 2008

Pre-Columbian and colonial periods

According to sociologist Stephen O. Murray, before the arrival of Europeans, "the Mexicas worshipped a deity, Xochiquetzal (feathered flower of the maguey), who was the goddess of non-procreative sexuality and love. . . . Xochiquetzal was both male and female at the same time, and in her male aspect (called Xochipilli), s/he was worshipped as the deity of male homosexuality and male prostitution." [] .

When Bernal Díaz del Castillo reached Vera Cruz with Cortés, he expressed shock and horror at how the pagan priests followed the "bad practice" of homosexual sodomy [] . The subsequent Spanish conquest prohibited the pagan rituals, including homosexual acts, as being incompatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church. During the seventeenth century, people accused of homosexuality were publicly executed by mass burnings in the city of San Lázaro [,2.html] .

19th century

The French philosophical influence, and later occupation, saw the removal of adult, private, consensual homosexual acts from the criminal code. Yet, the liberalization left intact vague laws against public solication, indencency and immorality that were used to harass LGBT Mexicans [,2.html] . Corrupt police officers would often demand money and other valuable items from LGBT people who violated these vague public morality laws, and prejudice against LGBT remained high among Mexicans of various politics and social classes [,2.html] .

Early 20th century

In November 1901, the Mexico City police raided an affluent drag ball, arresting 42 transgender people, most of the men were drafted into the army and given the dirtiest jobs. One of the people arrested was a "real" woman, promoting rumors that it was a close female relative of then president Porfirio Díaz. [,2.html] Critics of the ruling class, such Guadalupe Posada, linked the arrest to the corrupt and moral decadence of the upper class [,2.html] . A month later, a smaller gathering of lesbians was raided by the police.

The early Mexican gay bars appear to have arisen in the 1930s, all in Mexico City. Yet, their was no formal LGBT-rights groups or magazines. Sexual orientation and gender identity remained very taboo topics, with hateful slurs such as "maricones" (faggots) commonly used. The bars fell victim to an anti-vice crusade launched in 1959 [,2.html] . Verbal and physical harassment of LGBT people, from police and citizens, was quite common and rarely criticized [,3.html] .

Recent decades

The first Mexican LGBT rights organizations arose in the early 1970s, with no one organization lasting for a long period of time [,3.html] . Today, there are LGBT magazines, nightclubs, pride parades and human rights organizations. In recent years, the legal and social status of LGBT Mexicans has been changing [,3.html] .

The Mexican Constitution was amended in 2001 (Article 1) to prohibit discrimination based, between other factors, on sexual orientation ("preferencias"). A federal anti-discrimination law to protect sexual minorities was passed in 2003. The law also created a National Council to enforce the law. Otherwise, political parties tend to ignore LGBT rights issues, and few LGBT Mexicans run for public office.

Deputy Patria Jimenez was the first openly gay woman elected to win a Congressional seat in 1997. [ [ CNN Interview] ] She was affiliated with the Party of the Democratic Revolution. In 2003 Amaranta Gomez ran as the first openly transgender Congressional candidate under the affiliation of the now defunct Mexico Posible. [ [ Queer Day, article] ]

Civil unions

Mexico City

In November 2006, civil unions ("Sociedad de Convivencia") were legalized in Mexico City for same-sex and different-sex couples, offering almost the same legal rights as marriage within its city limits, minus adoption rights.


In January 11, 2007 the state of Coahuila (northeast) reformed its Civil Code, allowing same-sex and different-sex couples to legally unite under a civil union ("Pacto Civil de Solidaridad"). [ [ Coahuila State Law on Civil Solidarity Pact] ] Unlike Mexico City's legislation, Coahuila's law is valid in all of Mexico given the fact that Mexican states are obliged to recognize each other's rights granted in their respective Civil Codes. The law grants almost the same legal rights as marriage, but directly prohibits adoption for same-sex couples.

Other states

The states of Colima, Michoacán, Jalisco, Guerrero, State of Mexico, Puebla and Veracruz Fact|date=April 2007 are also considering similar laws. However, in Puebla this law has encountered strong opposition from most members of the local congress and some churches. In Jalisco, the civil union law has been stalled, meaning it has not been discussed by the state's congress. On the other hand, it seems likely that Michoacán and Guerrero will approve the bill as these states are currently governed by leftist parties.

Public Opinion

In a Parametría poll, respondents were asked if they would support a constitutional amendment that would legalize same-sex marriage; 17% responded yes, 61% said no and 14% had no opinion. [ [ Angus Reid Global Monitor, article] ] The same poll showed 28% in support of same-sex civil unions, 41% were opposed and 28% had no opinion.

LGBT social life in Mexico

Gay life thrives in Mexico in its large cities and resorts. The center of the gay community in Mexico City is the Zona Rosa, near the city center. Monterrey, Tijuana and Guadalajara are large, cosmopolitan cities that have a growing gay scene, complete with numerous bars, dance clubs, saunas and a gay radio program. Puerto Vallarta, three hours from Guadalajara, is a popular destination of Canadian and American gay tourists. The area around Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta is considered Mexico's "gay belt." However, the situation outside of these centers tends to be more homophobic.

LGBT cultural life in Mexico

Les Voz, Mexico's lesbian feminist magazine, has been publishing since 1994. [] The country's first Gay film festival, the Mexico City International Gay Film Festival, started in 2006. [] With 17,000 members, "MexicoGay-BajaGay" is a member driven, free website [] which exists to provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and information as well as build the gay community in Mexico.


It is estimated that the AIDS/HIV pandemic first reached Mexico in 1981 and it remains an important public health concern for the Mexican LGBT community. The two major federal organizations designed to promote education, prevention and increase access to medications would be FONSIDA, A.C and CONASIDA. [ [ The Body, International Asociation of Physicians in AIDS care] ]

ee also

* Civil Unions in Mexico
* Lesbian Groups in Mexico


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