Writer: Mariajose de Jesús Castillo Cervantes
Editor: Adelyne Koe
Graphic Designer: Pat Sevikul
Throughout the history of mankind, there have always been groups of people who live their lives under constant oppression. The LGBTQ+ community is but one of these many groups. LGBTQ+ people have been fighting for their rights, their identity, and equality for a long time, and it is a battle that has not been overcome yet.
Mexico is a highly religious country; 77.7% of its population identify themselves with the Catholic religion, which therefore has an important role in Mexican culture and society. The importance of the Catholic religion in Mexico is so strong that it greatly influences the daily lives of its people. The influence of religion has come to affect laws, ideologies, and the government of the country. The Catholic religion around the world has gone through many changes, the acceptance that not all relationships revolve between men and women being one of them. But in Mexico, this change has not been reflected on or supported by the people, nor the government. Recently, the LGBTQ+ community has faced objections by the government in the 2021 federal elections, in which many parties were against the rights of these people.
The LGBTQ+ community in Mexico
Article 1 of the Mexican Constitution states that any discrimination based on sexual preference or any other grounds that violate human dignity and whose purpose is to deny or diminish the rights and freedoms of persons is prohibited. Likewise, article one mentions that all authorities have the duty to promote, respect, protect and guarantee human rights.
Despite the existence of certain articles in the Mexican Constitution that appear to support and accept the LGBTQ+ community, the community still faces numerous barriers that restrict the full exercise of their rights.
An inconsistency in the Mexican constitution can be found in an article regarding same-sex marriage: "Same-sex marriage in Mexico is legal in twenty states at the state level and three states at the municipal level, currently being the only country in North America not to recognize same-sex unions through marriage at the national level due to the autonomy of each state to legislate in this regard." The Mexican constitution states that discrimination due to sexual preferences is prohibited and that all authorities must promote human rights when all rights. Ironically, these rights are not given to all people equally. Each person has the right to develop their personality freely, but with limited rights, they may face difficulties developing themselves and their identities.
According to the National Survey of Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity conducted in Mexico, 52% of the people surveyed mentioned that support conditions for LGBTQ+ people are infrequent. 53% mentioned that they have been victims of hate speech, physical aggression, and harassment due to their sexual orientation, and 9 out of 10 people prefer to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity for fear of being discriminated against.
Gay Pride Parade in Mexico City. - LatinContent Editorial
The Catholic religion is one of the factors of oppression of the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico
There are several sources of oppression towards the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico. Macho culture is one of them, as well as homophobia and the Catholic religion.
The Catholic religion has progressed as society has changed. In some countries, homosexuality is not a problem for the Catholic religion, but in others, it is. Because of the important role religion plays in Mexican culture, many factors are affected by it. If the Catholic religion does not accept something, then neither does the majority of the Mexican population. Thus, in Mexico, the Catholic religion has influenced Mexican culture in a certain way by creating an ideology in which there are only relationships between men and women--creating a rejection of homosexuality.
Comments made by important figures of the Catholic religion also have a great impact on the Mexican citizens’ way of thinking, and if they display discriminatory behavior towards the LGBTQ+ community, they only further fuel the homophobia that exists in the country.
In 2018, Cardinal Norberto Rivera commented on equal marriage and made offensive comments about the community. Regarding the topic, he mentioned that "Not even by fashion can gay marriage be accepted". He then complemented his argument with remarks about human biology, "The human body is not designed for homosexual relationship."
During these times, there were many protests against equal marriage, mainly led by religious groups. They used banners with phrases such as: "Nature created man and woman, don't be fooled, there is no third gender."
Catholic Religion and Political Parties
The Catholic religion has impacts on cultural, social, and even political sectors in Mexico. As time passes, the Mexican government seems to include and respect the LGBT+ community more and more. For example, the initiative of the last president, Enrique Peña Nieto, in favor of recognizing equal marriage, and in 2018, with the victory of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) as the new president, who made history as the first Mexican president-elect to include the LGBT+ community in an election victory speech. But during these 4 years of presidency, any sort of action from the president and his party in favor of the LGBTQ+ community rights have not been seen.
In 2019, a year into AMLO's presidency, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported attacks against the LGBT+ community in Mexico. In Veracruz alone, there were 17 murders of LGBT+ people that are considered hate crimes as of August 2019
Although the past presidency saw some progress in Mexico, in terms of LGBTQ+ community rights, there is still a long way to go. At the beginning of his time, the current president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, mentioned that he was an advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, but the truth is that there has not been much progress on this in the presidency. In the 461 pages of his Proyecto de Nación, ("Project of the Nation 2018-2024") he includes a new vision of the country and presents projects and proposals in economic, political, social, and educational matters. However, he never once mentions the LGBTQ+ community. Recently, the party, MORENA, in which the president himself is a part of, formed an alliance with a party of evangelical character, the Solidarity Encounter Party (PES), and openly opposed equal marriage.
The PES has positioned itself against the rights of the LGBTQ+ community since the beginning of its existence. In 2016, this political party came out against same-sex marriages by remarking that they fight to "preserve marriage as the legal union of two people of the opposite sex". Deputies of this party have also commented that they would prefer "that gays did not exist". This year, in the 2021 federal elections, the party expressed its rejection of the criteria approved by the National Electoral Institute (INE) to nominate members of the LGBTQ+ community for public office, even though it proclaims to be in favor of sexual diversity.
The PES is not the only party openly supported by the president that seems opposed to the LGBTQ+ community, one example is the National Action Party (PAN), which supposedly advocate in favor of the LGBTQ+ community and for human rights without discrimination, but demonstrate the opposite in their agreements and actions.
Many presidential candidates, like AMLO, only pretend to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in their campaigns. When it comes to the presidency, they tend to do the opposite.
In conclusion, the public support of the Mexican president towards parties who are openly against the LGBTQ+ community is concerning. It is an issue when the representative of the country, the one who should advocate for the rights of all its citizens, supports political parties that endanger the human rights of a very large group of citizens. Actions like these can increase the cases of violence towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Facts like these allow the public to see that Mexico still has a long way to go. It is sad to see that there are minorities who will always have to continue fighting for respect and acceptance, but we should understand that human rights do not depend on race, gender, economic resources, nor sexual orientation. Human rights are not questionable.