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Mexico City Joins the Ranks of LGBT-Friendly Cities

“Benito Juárez Hemicycle,” a characteristic cenotaph of the Federal District. Photo by the author.

The head of government of the Federal District of Mexico — the country's capital, Mexico City — declared on 23 November 2015 that the city is friendly to the LGBT community.

The Federal District — which the current administration has given the acronym CDMX (Ciudad de México) — joins the ranks of many other cities that have self-identified as such, among them Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, and São Paulo.

Celia Reyna of progressive news organization IzqMx reported that in addition to an event hosted by Mexico City’s Head of Government Miguel Ángel Mancera, there were celebrations planned in Berlin, Germany, as well:

De forma paralela en la ciudad de Berlín se ofrecerá una conferencia de prensa para darle la bienvenida a la Ciudad de México como miembro de Rainbow Cities Network, una importante red de ciudades en Europa que tienen especial atención en las personas LGBT y realizan acciones para establecer políticas locales e intercambio de buenas prácticas, intervenciones e iniciativas.

Alongside [Mexico City’s event] the city of Berlin will hold a press conference to welcome Mexico City as a member of the Rainbow Cities Network, an extensive network of cities in Europe that give special attention to LGBT people and take actions to establish positive local policies, exchanges, interventions and initiatives.

News website Animal Político noted the following regarding Mancera's declaration:

La declaratoria de ciudad amigable con la comunidad LGBTTTI se firmó un día después de que 51 parejas se casaron por la vía civil. Durante el evento, Mancera convocó a que el próximo año se rompa el récord de unir a más de mil 690 parejas de la comunidad lésbico-gay, el cual fue establecido el 15 de febrero pasado.

The declaration that Mexico City is an LGBTTTI-friendly [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transvestite, Transgender and Intersex people] city was signed a day after 51 couples were married in civil ceremonies. During the event, Mancera expressed determination that the coming year will set a new record for number of gay and lesbian couples wed — the current record, established on the 15th of this past February, is 690 couples.

The past year has seen growing support for marriage equality within Mexico after the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the highest judicial body in the country, ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.

But just how big is Mexico’s LGBT community? Ricardo Baruch is one person who has taken on the task of responding to this question. In a piece for blog Homozapping, in which he cites several studies, he arrives at the conclusion that about 3% of the population appears to belong to the community. Baruch also notes the importance of LGBT representation within the political sphere and the continued defense of their basic human rights:

Independientemente de cuán grande o pequeña es la población no heterosexual en México, es importante que los derechos de todas y todos los ciudadanos de México sean respetados y se tenga acceso a espacios de representación social y política. La discriminación y el rechazo a la diversidad sexual siguen siendo grandes problemas en el país, sin embargo, el no saber el tamaño del problema representa una barrera para que se atienda adecuadamente.

No matter how large or small the non-heterosexual population is in Mexico, it’s important that the rights of each and every Mexican citizen are respected and that they have access to spaces of social and political representation. Discrimination and rejection of sexual diversity continues to be a huge problem in the country; however, not knowing the size of the problem is a barrier that needs to be adequately addressed.

Regarding the rights of this part of the population, such as the right to healthcare, Twitter user E Páramo questioned whether Mancera’s declaration will bring tangible benefits to the LGBT community:

Mexico City is an LGBTI-friendly city? Where are the health centers and specialized care? It’s not enough to allow their entry.

Twitter user Rodrigo Fragoso shared the following images from the event:

The Federal District promotes public policies giving attention to the LGBTTTI community #MexicoCityIsAFriendOfTheLGBTTTICommunity #I’mFriendlyMexico City

Twitter user David JR welcomed the news:

Let’s celebrate that #MexicoCityIsAFriendOfTheLGBTTTICommunity, yesterday an incredible event took place in our capital. Happy Tuesday

Twitter user Rojabarrocamarica expressed the following opinion about Mancera’s declaration:

That the state and capital are the owners of public spaces forfeits any possibility of a friendly city. #MexicoCityIsAFriendOfTheLGBTTTICommunity

The Federal District has taken a step in the direction of tolerance and respect for diversity; however, only concrete action from the government, such as the implementation of favorable public policies, will demonstrate whether the government has sincerely honored its commitment — and obligation — to LGBT citizens, a community which has historically faced monumental inequality and exclusion.

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