Russ May and Martin Rivas
México City Pride is one of the largest Pride celebrations anywhere
JESÚS CHAÍREZ | Contributing Writer
MÉXICO CITY — The Mexico City LGBTQ+ community kicked off its 45th annual PRIDE Marcha (Pride March & Parade) on Saturday, June 24, in the midst of a record-breaking heatwave that spiked temperatures at least 15 degrees above normal, reaching a high of 85 degrees. A day before the parade, as reported by Reuters, hundreds of same-sex couples and transgender people in México City celebrated weddings and the completion of admirative process to change their gender.
At the parade, more than a million LGBTQ people and their supporters were on hand to celebrate — because nowhere in the country is anyone destroying department store LGBTQ+ displays, outlawing drag shows or excessively hindering the transgender community’s progress.
In fact, many department stores, convenience store chains and even street vendors openly displayed LGBTQ support by flying rainbow flags.
There were many people coming in from Dallas to experience the Pride parade for the first time, such as a group of Oak Cliff friends that included Joe Perez, Tomas Soto and his partner Jay Murter. Two Dallasites in town for Pride were Carl Smith, the last living original owner of Dallas’ first LGBTQ+ Latino bar Club Bamboleo’s, and Carlos Alberto. Here from Fort Worth once again were Martin Rivas and his partner Russ May who have made coming to the México City Pride an annual tradition.
Under a clear sky, bright sun and record heat, people started gathering at the Angel of Independence. By 10:15 a.m. there were already thousands of people partying prior to the noon start time. The parade always starts early because there is a mad dash to get to the Zocalo before the rain starts since the parade is held in the middle of the rainy season.
But this year, it didn’t rain; the usual cool weather and rain sort of disappeared due, some people believe, to global warming. All the first-time participants had a look of amazement and joy seeing so many LGBTQ Mexicans all gathered to enjoy the freedom to be and exist as queer folk.
“Mexico City Pride is not so much of a parade to be observed, but an event in which to participate,” said Murter, describing what he saw as “an amazing gathering of humanity to celebrate life, love, human rights, dignity and freedom, but also to protest the ever-present abuse of human rights that still persists around the world. It is an expression of acceptance and support for individual differences, sexualities, genders, and all facets of the human condition.”
Soto said the sheer number of participants was overwhelming, adding that one of his favorite things about the parade is that anyone can join. There are no barricades to keep people out and there appeared to be no anti-LGBT protests.
This parade, Soto said, is something everyone should get to experience.
Dennis Medina and his husband Bruce Gonzalez, both from San Antonio, said, “It’s kind of hard to reconcile the exuberance of México City’s gay Pride march with the country’s reputation for social conservatism.” They noted that the banners and signs carried by many LGBTQ organizations addressed many unsolved issues — trans rights, murders of LGBTQ persons, women’s equality —but, if anything, “the march symbolizes the country’s confrontation of issues important to diversity and inclusion.”
Smith rented an Airbnb along the parade route, and he and his friends were amazed to see the five-lane road in front of his building jammed full with a constant stream of LGBTQ+ people celebrating Pride. The parade was “so huge — at least six hours long — and the street partying lasted until the wee hours of the morning,” Smith declared in amazement. “The diversity was amazing. Young, old, conservative to as outlandish as you could possibly imagine; gay, straight and everything in between.”
Does Smith recommend traveling to México City for the parade? “Absolutely!” he declared. “If anyone ever has the opportunity to come to México City Pride, they should take advantage. They will be in awe of the vastness of the celebration and the openness of the city.
“It should be on every LGBTQ+ person’s bucket list.”
Smith said he recommends that visitors stay in the city’s Historic Center rather than the gay neighborhood of Zona Rosa or the wealthy areas like Col. Polanco and Col. Condesa. “In the Historic Center,” he said, “you are in the middle of the Aztec Kingdom, which has been continuously occupied since the 1300s. There are still ruins from that time.”
Jesús Chairez is a México City-based freelance writer formerly from Dallas. He can be reached at Facebook.com/JesusChairez.
For more images, click here
Pride around the U.S.
BOBBY CAINA CALVAN | Associated Press
NEW YORK — Thousands of effusive marchers danced to club music in New York City streets Sunday, June 25, as bubbles and confetti rained down, and fellow revelers from Toronto to San Francisco cheered through Pride Month’s grand crescendo.
New York’s boisterous throng strolled and danced down Fifth Avenue to Greenwich Village, cheering and waving rainbow flags to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising, where a police raid on a gay bar triggered days of protests and launched the modern movement for LGBTQ+ rights.
But while some people whooped it up in celebration, many were mindful of the growing conservative countermovement, including new laws banning gender-affirming care for transgender children.
“I’m trying not to be very heavily political, but when it does target my community, I get very, very annoyed and very hurt,” said Ve Cinder, a 22-year-old transgender woman who traveled from Pennsylvania to take part in the country’s largest Pride event.
“I’m just, like, scared for my future and for my trans siblings. I’m frightened of how this country has looked at human rights, basic human rights,” she said. “It’s crazy.”
Parades in New York, Chicago and San Francisco are among events that roughly 400 Pride organizations across the U.S. are holding this year, with many focused specifically on the rights of transgender people. One of the grand marshals of New York City’s parade is nonbinary activist AC Dumlao, chief of staff for Athlete Ally, a group that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ+ athletes.
San Francisco Pride drew tens of thousands of spectators to the city Sunday. The event was kicked off by the group Dykes on Bikes and featured dozens of colorful floats, some carrying strong messages against the wave of anti-transgender legislation in statehouses across the country. Organizers told the San Francisco Chronicle that this year’s theme emphasized activism. The parade included the nation’s first drag laureate, D’Arcy Drollinger. Along Market Street, House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff of Burbank were spotted riding together.
In Chicago, a brief downpour at the beginning of the parade didn’t deter parade goers, who took shelter under awnings, trees and umbrellas. “A little rain can’t stop us!” tweeted Brandon Johnson, the city’s newly elected mayor. Chicago’s 52nd annual celebration on Sunday featured drag performers Marilyn Doll Traid and Selena Peres, as well as the Bud Billiken dancers, who drew loud praise from the crowd as they represented the celebration of Black roots in Chicago’s South Side.
Thousands of people also flooded the streets Saturday night in Houston to celebrate Pride parades and embrace the LGBTQ+ community. “Houston is one big diverse family. Today is about celebrating people who are themselves, their authentic selves and letting everyone know that this is a city full of love, not division, not hate,’’ said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
San Antonio also celebrated its Pride parade Saturday night, with hundreds of people lining downtown streets. ‘‘This year’s theme is ‘Just Say Gay.’ We feel so strongly about the legislation that’s occurring, not only here in Texas, but in other states throughout the United States that are trying to put us back in the closet,” Phillip Barcena, Pride San Antonio president, told KSAT.
Also Saturday, first lady Jill Biden made an appearance at the Pride parade in Nashville, Tennessee, where she told the crowd “loud and clear that you belong, that you are beautiful, that you are loved.”
Many other cities held their marquee events earlier this month, including Boston, which hosted its first parade after a three-year hiatus that began with COVID- 19 but extended through 2022 because the organization that used to run it dissolved under criticism that it excluded racial minorities and transgender people.
A key message this year has been for LGBTQ+ communities to unite against dozens, if not hundreds, of legislative bills now under consideration in statehouses across the country.
Lawmakers in 20 states have moved to ban gender-affirming care for children, and at least seven more are considering doing the same, adding increased urgency for the transgender community, its advocates say.
“We are under threat,” Pride event organizers in New York, San Francisco and San Diego said in a statement joined by about 50 other Pride organizations nationwide.
“The diverse dangers we are facing as an LGBTQ community and Pride organizers, while differing in nature and intensity, share a common trait: they seek to undermine our love, our identity, our freedom, our safety, and our lives.”
AP writers Juan Lozano in Houston; Erin Hooley in Chicago; Trân Nguyen in Sacramento, California; James Pollard in Columbia, South Carolina; Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Trisha Ahmed in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Susan Haigh in Hartford, Connecticut, contributed to this report. Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.