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. Until 1998, laws against public immorality or indecency could be used against homosexual acts. The age of consent is 18.
Protection based on sexual orientation in lawEdit
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. 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.
Mexican superstar Gloria Trevi is the first artist in Mexico to openly fight for gay rights. She has made one song for the gay community called "Todos me miran" (Everyone's staring at me) whose music video shows a gay man who decides to come out. She's well known in throughout Latin America, the U.S., and Spain. As part of her international tour "Una Rosa Blu", she performs "Todos me miran" with two transvestite guys dancing with her. This has been very controversial in Mexico because her concerts are not just for gay people but for everyone, including children.
Legal same-sex unionsEdit
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). 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.
States debating about same-sex unionsEdit
The states of Colima, Michoacán, Jalisco, Guerrero, State of México, Puebla and Veracruz 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.
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. The same poll showed 28% in support of same-sex civil unions, 41% were opposed and 28% had no opinion.
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.
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.
LGBT cultural life in MexicoEdit
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" can be an interesting, member driven, free website [www.groups.yahoo.com/group/MexicoGay-BajaGay] exists to exchange ideas and information as well as build the gay community in Mexico.