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By MARK LORENZANA

After two years of being held virtually because of the covid-19 pandemic, an estimated 250,000 attendees trooped to this year’s LGBTQ+ Pride March in Mexico City on Saturday, June 25. The parade, according to organizers, was the largest ever in Mexico City in terms of attendance.

The parade began at 9 a.m. in downtown Mexico City’s Angel of Independence, a victory column on a roundabout on the major thoroughfare of Paseo de la Reforma, which has been a focal point of celebration and protest, and where sexual-diversity marches have been regularly staged.

In 1979, the first organized gay-rights demonstration took place in Mexico City, a decade after the Stonewall riots in New York City that marked a turn to militancy by LGBTQ+ people in the face of police repression.

Curbing hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community remains one of the demands of the march, according to Ana Hernández, one of the attendees, who participated with her girlfriend. Hernández said that she believes it is important for members of the community to be visible.

“This march is very important after being cooped up for two years because of the pandemic,” Hernández told the daily newspaper Reforma. “This would be the first time in a long time that the LGBTQ+ community can go out again in full force and start making noise. We need to assert ourselves in the community again, be more visible.”

In addition to making herself visible, she said that she joined the march to demand that authorities do their job and provide protection to the most vulnerable groups. The opportunity to meet again around the same cause, she said, has given a more emotional atmosphere to this year’s Pride parade.

“Because of the pandemic, the other previous marches have been virtual, and obviously it is not the same as joining a physical parade,” Hernández said.

An average of seven LGBTQ+ people a month are slain in Mexico for reasons related to their sexual orientation, according to the organization Letra Ese. Last year, 78 killings of LGBTQ+ people met the criteria of a hate crime, Letra Ese said in a report.

Mexico City Governor Claudia Sheinbaum, through her Twitter account, reiterated her support for the LGBTQ+ community and said that the capital has always been a city “of rights and freedoms.”

On Friday, June 24, hundreds of same-sex couples were married in a mass ceremony in Mexico City ahead of the Pride parade. Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage in 2010. Since then, 26 of Mexico’s 32 states have followed suit.

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