July 19, 2013
Mexicans do not blink an eye at two guys stopping to steal a kiss along Mexico City’s broad Avenida Juárez. And the mood is always festive in adjacent Alameda Central park. Families bite into crispy churros, kids leap for airborne strands of cotton candy, taco meat sizzles on hotplates, people take photos in front of lit-up fountains and couples smooch on benches.
These are the flavours of Mexico City, where being gay is just another ingredient in the lime-and-chilli mix of the Mexican capital. And the Alameda, a park that was once overgrown with bushes where men met other men in the dark, has become a bright and grand space of landscaped paths and trees. The park’s remodelling finished in November 2012, becoming the most recent example of the live-and-let-live attitude towards sexuality that extends across Mexico City.
“Having been in Mexico City nearly two years, I still have yet to hear a gay slur uttered from a car window as vehicles zoom by,” said Dale Stein, an English teacher from Los Angeles. “It is here, ironically, not in San Francisco, where I have actually become more comfortable being gay in public and comfortable to hold my husband’s hand. ”
In 2010, gay marriage became legal in Mexico City, giving important rights to same sex couples and marking the city as a flagship of tolerance in often-conservative Latin America. As of July 2013, it is one of only 15 countries with national or regional same-sex marriage laws (with New Zealand and Uruguay bringing the number to 17 by the end of 2013).