Mexico is becoming increasingly accepting of same-sex relationships, and has laws in place to protect those that identify differently, but it remains a country of strong Catholicism that has historically been hostile towards the local LGBTQIA+ community.
In 2007 it was revealed that Mexico had the second-highest rate of homophobic crimes in the world after Brazil. The past decade or so has seen the situation greatly improve, particularly as same-sex marriage was legalised in 2009, which has seen a flourishing of LGBTQIA+ culture in Mexico City. That said, there are still members of the LGBTQIA+ community being targeted in homophobic hate crimes in certain areas.
Visiting Mexico as a LGBTQIA+ traveller
Tourists are generally unlikely to be targeted because of their sexual orientation. It is advisable, however, to be discreet in public and avoid displays of affection outside of gay bars or queer scenes.
Mexico City’s Zona Rosa, or ‘Pink Zone’, is the hub of the capital’s gay community. There are many gay bars and the neighbourhood also hosts the annual Mexico City Pride festival in June.
Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, is considered the gay capital of the country. There’s a parade every year as well as a number of hotels, tours and bars that cater for the LGBTQIA+ community. There are also popular scenes in tourist hotspots like Cancun.
Mexico’s indigenous Zapotec culture have recognised a ‘third gender’ for centuries, a group of people known as ‘muxes’. Living in the city of Juchitan in southern Oaxaca, the muxes seek to live without labels, mixing male and feminine qualities, and are celebrated for their defiance of gender roles. There’s even a three-day festival held in their honour: Vela de las Intrepidas.