Mexico City – The city government expected thirty-three thousand people to attend; in the end, it turned out to be almost three hundred thousand. The LGBTTTIQA+ Pride Parade -the largest and most important in Mexico- overflowed the famous Paseo de la Reforma with kilometers of human beings in a demonstration that, at times, spanned from the National Auditorium to the Zocalo.
Where did they come from?
It was the largest parade in the history of this country. Never before in its forty-three previous editions, had we witnessed a crowd so large, so festive. Where did so many people come from, so proud of their identity and sexuality? How is it that, from a couple of years to date, such a phenomenon overflowed us? There have been so many people marching that a Guinness record could be set, a milestone in the world history of sexual diversity.
Maybe it was the pandemic. It was two whole years of not experiencing a Pride Parade. All that pride was contained behind a mask and those who could, sheltered in their homes during the worst times of COVID. It was not possible to go out, much less celebrate the identity of this community.
Perhaps, inside their dormitories, while patiently awaiting the end of the pandemic, many took ownership of their gender identity and sexual orientation. In the end, with the obligation to remain under lock and key, came the need to coexist with one’s own thoughts, vital reflections, self-exploration of desires, anxieties and passions. That, and some access to the Internet, detonated the impetuous need to break the doors of the closet to then come out and say: “This is me”.
The Pride Parade as an answer
It has also been the response to a useless system. The repression that attracted confinement was a sign of the oppression of the morals of the families. With ropes binding their hands and under the boot of online schooling or telecommuting, plus the fear of contagions, a broth of liberation burned and was served this weekend.
They came from almost all the states of the Republic to Mexico City. And flags never seen before were raised, not only rainbow flags. Lesbian, trans, non-binary, asexual, men who love men, bisexual, omnisexual, pansexual; and also bondage lovers, bears, furries and, of course, drags. The whole sexogenic counterculture was there. The decibels of the music were diluted in the crowd. The midday sun was generous and not even the untimely summer rain that fell in the afternoon managed to keep away those who, in a frenzy, gathered in the Zocalo to witness the musical spectacle offered by several artists of the community until late into the night.
The organized degeneracy. The vindictive slogans: “Thank you Marsha P. Jhonson”. The anti-racist ones: “Your sexual orientation needs anti-racism”. The loving ones: “My mom taught me to ‘eat’ everything”. The rebellious ones: “Love is the other way around”. The familiar ones: “Proud of my trans daughter”. The anarchist ones: “Sexual dissidence is also anti-capitalist”. And all, in a sea of colors, bubbling with dance steps to the rhythm of the music of the caravans; and the laughter; and the hugs; and the cameras of the smartphones that had no rest; and a river of pride that seemed to be endless.
People and audience
They would no longer look at them the same way. Before, they scandalized. The people around them would eagerly take out their rosaries when they saw them walking. It was 1983 and the newspapers used to headline: “Protest of homosexuals”, with photos that tended to ridicule. Now, the media did live coverage. They know that diversity is as big as humanity itself. They are people, yes, but they are also audience. And brands know it and take advantage of it.
So do the authorities. The Pride March represents a great economic benefit for the Mexican capital. During this festival weekend, hotel occupancy was eighty percent, according to official sources. This is something only seen in holiday seasons. Thus, the businesses that forty years ago lowered their curtains to them, today welcome them with the colorful flag waving on the marquees. Because now that they have won their rights, it is not only necessary to treat them with respect, but also to admire them.
Luis Alberto Rodriguez Angeles. Writer and journalist. National Journalism Award for Human Rights by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico. Reporter with 20 years of experience covering social movements. Teacher and activist.