LGBT rights in Mexico

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This article is about LGBT rights in Mexico. For general LGBT topics in Mexico, see LGBT in Mexico.
LGBT rights in Mexico
Mexico (orthographic projection).svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1871
Gender identity/expression Transgender persons can change their legal gender and name in Mexico City (since 2004).
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protection nationwide since 2003 (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage in Mexico City and 9 states (recognized nationwide). See Same-sex marriage in Mexico for more.
Adoption Joint adoption legal in Mexico City and 7 states

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Mexico have expanded in recent years, in keeping with worldwide legal trends. The intellectual influence of the French Revolution and the brief French occupation of Mexico (1862–67) resulted in the adoption of the Napoleonic Code, which decriminalized same-sex sexual acts in 1871.[1] Laws against public immorality or indecency, however, have been used to prosecute persons who engage in them.[2][3]

Tolerance of sexual diversity in certain indigenous cultures is widespread, especially among Isthmus Zapotecs[4] and Yucatán Mayas.[5][6]

As the influence of foreign and domestic cultures (especially from more cosmopolitan areas like Mexico City) grows throughout Mexico, attitudes are changing.[7] This is most marked in the largest metropolitan areas, such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Tijuana, where education and access to foreigners and foreign news media are greatest. Change is slower in the hinterlands, however, and even in large cities discomfort with change often leads to backlashes.[8]

Since the early 1970s, influenced by the United States gay liberation movement and the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre,[9] a substantial number of LGBT organizations has emerged. Visible and well-attended LGBT marches and pride parades have occurred in Mexico City since 1979 and in Guadalajara since 1996.

On 3 June 2015, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation released a "jurisprudential thesis" in which the legal definition of marriage was changed to encompass same-sex couples. The articles in the constitution restricting marriage to a man and a woman were deemed unconstitutional by the court and thus every justice provider in the nation must validate same-sex unions, thus legalizing gay marriage. However, the process is lengthy as couples must request a jurisdiction from a judge, a process that can take significantly longer than the process for an opposite-sex wedding.

Political and legal gains have been made through the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution, leftist minor parties such as the Labor Party and Convergence, and the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party. They include the 2011 amendment to Article 1 of the Federal Constitution to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.[10][11] Same-sex marriages are performed in Mexico City, Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit and Quintana Roo, as well as in certain municipalities in Guerrero, Querétaro and Puebla. Additionally, civil unions are performed in Mexico City and the states of Coahuila, Campeche, Jalisco and Michoacán.


State recognition of same-sex relationships in Mexico
  Same-sex marriage (SSM) legalized at the state level
  Legalization not implemented, though required by 5+ court orders supporting SSM
  Partial precedent of 1–4 court orders supporting SSM
  • 1542: Hernan Cortés starts his campaign in Cholula (now Cholula, Puebla). At that time, Amerindian homosexuality behavior varied from region to region. Cortés on behalf of his majesty the King of Spain starts talking to the locals (hacer un parlamento, translated from old Spanish) and rules against sodomy and punishes this act which also includes rules against cannibalism, human sacrifice and other Gods idolatry.[12]
  • 1569: An official inquisition is created in Mexico City by Philip II of Spain. Same-sex sexual acts were a prime concern, and the Inquisition inflicted stiff fines, spiritual penances, public humiliations, and floggings for what it deemed to be sexual sins.[3][5]
  • 1821: Mexican independence from Spain brings an end to the Inquisition and colonial homosexual persecution.[1][3]
  • 1871: The intellectual influence of the French Revolution and the brief French occupation of Mexico (1862–67) results in the adoption of the Napoleonic Code. This meant that sexual conduct in private between adults (regardless of gender) ceased to be a criminal matter.[1][3]
  • 1901: (20 November) Mexico City police raids an affluent drag ball, arresting 42 men (19 of which were cross-dressing). One was released, allegedly a close relative of President Porfirio Díaz. The resulting scandal, known as the "Dance of the 41 Maricones", received widespread press coverage.[1][3]
  • 1959: Mayor Ernesto Uruchurtu closes all gay bars in Mexico City under the guise of "cleaning up vice" (or reducing its visibility).[9][13]
  • 1971: The Homosexual Liberation Front (Frente de Liberación Homosexual), one of the first LGBT groups in Latin America, is organized in response to the firing of a Sears employee because of his (allegedly) homosexual behavior.[9][13]
  • 1979: The country's first LGBT pride parade is held in Mexico City.[14]
  • 1982: Max Mejía, Pedro Preciado, and Claudia Hinojosa become the first openly gay politicians to run for seats in the Congress of Mexico.[15]
  • 1991: Mexico hosts a meeting of the International Gay and Lesbian Association, the first meeting of the association outside Europe.[15]
  • 1997: Patria Jiménez, a lesbian activist is selected for proportional representation in the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico, representing the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution.[16]
  • 1999: (August): The first meeting of lesbians and lesbian feminists is held in Mexico City. From this meeting evolved an organized effort for expanded LGBT rights in the nation’s capital.[15]
(2 September): Mexico City passes an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, the first of its kind in the country.[17]
  • 2000: Enoé Uranga, an openly lesbian politician, proposes a bill that would have legalized same-sex civil unions in Mexico City. The local legislature, however, decides not to enact the bill after widespread opposition from right-wing groups.[18]
  • 2003: (29 April): A federal anti-discrimination law is passed and a national council immediately created to enforce it.[19]
(July): Amaranta Gómez becomes the first transgender woman to run for a seat in the Congress of Mexico.[6]
  • 2004: (13 March): Amendments to the Mexico City Civil Code that allow transgender people to change the gender and name on their birth certificates, take effect.[20][21]
  • 2006: (9 November): Mexico City legalizes same-sex civil unions.[22]
  • 2007: (11 January): The northern state of Coahuila legalizes same-sex civil unions.[23]
(31 January): The nation's first same-sex civil union ceremony is performed in Saltillo, Coahuila.[24]
  • 2008: (September): The Mexico City Legislative Assembly makes it easier for transgender people to change their gender on their birth certificates.[25]
Gay-rights parade float with Aztec eagle-warrior theme
Float with Aztec Eagle Warrior theme at 2009 LGBT Pride Parade in Mexico City.
  • 2009: (March): Miguel Galán, from the defunct Social Democratic Party, becomes the first openly gay politician to run for mayor in the country.[26]
(21 December): Mexico City's Legislative Assembly passes a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, loan applications by same-sex couples, inheritance from a same-sex partner, and the sharing of insurance policies by same-sex couples.[27] Eight days later, Mayor Marcelo Ebrard signed the bill into law.[28]
  • 2010: (4 March): The same-sex marriage law takes effect in Mexico City.[29]
(5 August): The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, the highest federal court in the country, votes 9–2 to uphold the constitutionality of Mexico City's same-sex marriage reform. Four days later, it upholds the city's adoption law.[30]
  • 2011: (June): The Constitution of Mexico is amended to prohibit discrimination based on, among other factors, sexual orientation.[11]
(24 November): The Coahuila Supreme Court strikes down the state's law barring same-sex couples from adopting, urging the state's Legislature to amend the adoption law as soon as possible.[31]
(28 November): Two same-sex couples are married in Kantunilkín, Quintana Roo, after discovering that Quintana Roo's Civil Code does not specify gender requirements for marriage.[32]
  • 2012: (January): Same-sex marriages are suspended in Quintana Roo pending legal review by Luis González Flores, the Secretary of State of Quintana Roo.[33][34]
(April): Roberto Borge Angulo, the Governor of Quintana Roo, annuls the two same-sex marriages performed in Kantunilkín.[33]
(3 May): Luis González Flores reverses Borge Angulo's annulments in a decision allowing for future same-sex marriages to be performed in Quintana Roo.[35]
(December): The Supreme Court in Mexico City strikes down a Oaxaca state law that had limited marriage to one man and one woman for purposes of procreation.[36]
  • 2013: (27 February): The first same-sex marriage licenses are issued in the state of Colima, after officials cited the state constitution, which prohibits discrimination due to sexual preference, and the Supreme Court ruling that struck down Oaxaca state's gay marriage ban. Although same-sex marriage is not officially law in Colima state, a same-sex couple can apply for and receive a marriage license.[37][38]
(22 March): The first same-sex marriage occurs in Oaxaca.[39]
(14 June): The Second Federal District Court of the State of Colima rules that the State Civil Code is unconstitutional in limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.[40]
(1 July): The Third District Court of the State of Yucatán rules that two petitioners were able to marry. Martha Góngora, director of the civil registry of the state, said the decision would be reviewed and might be returned to the court. Jorge Fernández Mendiburu, defense counsel in the case, indicated that if the registrar refused to complete the marriage, the case would be brought before the Supreme Court of Justice with a request for the state law limiting marriage to one man and one woman to be declared unconstitutional.[41][42]
(4 July): The state of Colima amends its Constitution to allow for same-sex civil unions.[43]
(8 August): Two men become the first same-sex couple to legally marry in the state of Yucatán.[44]
(23 December): Campeche legalizes same-sex and opposite-sex civil unions.[45]
  • 2014: (1 January): A law allowing for same-sex civil unions in Jalisco takes effect.[46]
(11 February): The Congress of Coahuila legalizes adoption by same-sex couples, by repealing Article 385-7 of the Civil Code.[47]
(21 March): Mexico declares, by presidential decree, May 17 as the National Day Against Homophobia.[48] See International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
(September 1): The Congress of Coahuila legalizes same-sex marriage, by changing the Civil Code of the state.[49]
  • 2015: (26 February): The Constitutional Court of the State of Yucatán announces that it will decide on 2 March whether state prohibitions against same sex marriage are in violation of the federal constitution and international agreements.
(2 March): The Constitutional Court of Yucatán dismisses the appeal for constitutional action to change the Civil Code. Supporters of amending the code have promised to appeal the decision.
(3 June): The Supreme Court of Justice of the nation releases a "jurisprudential thesis" expanding the definition of marriage to encompass same-sex couples as state laws restricting it were deemed unconstitutional and discriminatory.[50]
(12 June): The state of Chihuahua legalizes same-sex marriage and adoption after the Governor announced that his administration would no longer oppose same-sex marriages within the state. The order was effective immediately.[51]
(10 July): The state of Guerrero becomes the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state Governor instructed civil agencies to approve same-sex marriage licenses.[52]
(21 July): The municipality of Santiago de Querétaro stops enforcing Querétaro's same-sex marriage ban and allows same-sex couples to marry in the municipality.[53]
(11 August): The Mexican Supreme Court rules, in a 9-1 decision, that Campeche's ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional.[54]
(7 September): The Congress of Michoacán legalizes domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.[55]
(22 December): Same-sex marriage becomes legal in the state of Nayarit.[56]
(5 May): Colima repeals its civil union law as well as its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.[58]
(12 May): The Congress of Jalisco complies with the Supreme Court decision and amends the state Civil Code.[59]
(17 May): The Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, announces that he has signed an initiative to amend Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution, which would legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.[60]
(20 May): Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Campeche, after the state Congress legalized such marriages in a 34-1 vote 10 days prior.[61]
(12 June): Same-sex marriage and adoption become legal in the state of Colima.[62]
(23 June): A bill allowing for legal same-sex marriages and adoptions comes into effect in Michoacán.[63]
(5 July): A reform to the Constitution of Morelos, which would legalize same-sex marriage and adoption in the state, takes effect.[64]
(11 September): The head of Veracruz's adoption agency announces that same-sex couples may adopt children jointly in the state.[65]
(18 September): The municipality of San Pedro Cholula, located in the state of Puebla, announces that any same-sex couple who wishes to marry may do so in the municipality.[66]
(23 September): The Mexican Supreme Court finalises the ruling in the adoption case against Campeche and issues a nationwide jurisprudence which binds all lower court judges to rule in favor of same-sex couples seeking adoption and parental rights.[67]
(26 September): The state of Campeche lifts its same-sex adoption ban.[67]


For information before 1970, see LGBT history in Mexico.

1970 to present[edit]

Photo from gay-pride parade in Mexico City, with rainbow flag
2009 LGBT Pride Parade in Mexico City. The first parade, in 1979 (also known as LGBT Pride March), attracted over 1,000 marchers.
Gay-pride marchers on a street, with yellow banner and clothing
LGBT marchers demanding equality at the 2009 LGBT Pride Parade in Mexico City

During the early 1970s, influenced by the U.S. gay liberation movement and the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre,[9] small political and cultural groups were formed. Initially, they were strongly linked to the political left and, to a degree, feminist organizations. One of the first LGBT groups in Latin America was the Homosexual Liberation Front (Frente de Liberación Homosexual), organized in 1971 in response to the firing of a Sears employee because of his allegedly-homosexual behavior in Mexico City.[13][68]

The Homosexual Front of Revolutionary Action (Frente Homosexual de Acción Revolucionaria) protested the 1983 roundups in Guadalajara, Jalisco.[13] The onset of AIDS during the mid-1980s created considerable debate and public discussion about homosexuality. Many voices, both supportive and opposing (such as the Roman Catholic Church), participated in public discussions that increased awareness and understanding of homosexuality. LGBT groups were instrumental in initiating programs to combat AIDS, which was a shift in focus that curtailed (at least temporarily) the emphasis on gay organizing.[68]

In 1991, Mexico hosted a meeting of the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA), which was its first meeting outside Europe.[68] In 1997, LGBT activists were active in constructing the political platform that resulted in Patria Jiménez (a lesbian activist in Mexico City) being selected for proportional representation in the Chamber of Deputies representing the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).[68] LGBT rights advocate David Sánchez Camacho was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District (ALDF).[69]

In August 1999, the First Meeting of Lesbians and Lesbian Feminists was held in Mexico City. From this meeting evolved an organized effort for expanded LGBT rights in the country's capital.[70] The following month, the PRD-controlled Legislative Assembly passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, the first of its kind in Mexico.[71]

Visible (and well-attended) LGBT marches and pride parades have been held in Mexico City since 1979 and in Guadalajara since 1996, the country's largest cities.[68] In 2001, Article 1 of the Federal Constitution was amended to prohibit discrimination based (among other factors) on sexual orientation under the vague term preferences. On 11 June 2003, an anti-discrimination federal law took effect, creating a national council to enforce it.[72] The same year, Amaranta Gómez ran as the first transgender congresswoman candidate affiliated with the former Mexico Posible party.[73] In June 2011, more precise term "sexual preferences" was inserted into the Article 1 of the Constitution.

LGBT people in Mexico have organized in a variety of ways: through local organizations, marches, and the development of the Commission to Denounce Hate Crimes. Mexico has a thriving LGBT movement with organizations in various large cities throughout the country and numerous LGBT publications (most prominently in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, and Puebla), the majority at the local level (since national efforts often disintegrate before gaining traction).[74]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

State recognition of same-sex relationships in North America & Hawaii.1
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Same-sex marriages recognized, but not performed
  Binding judicial ruling against a ban on same-sex marriage2
  Binding judicial ruling against a ban on recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages
  Same-sex marriage banned2
1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.
2Some states in these categories also have a binding judicial rulings against bans on unions similar to marriage or ban unions similar to marriage.

The United Mexican States is a federation composed of thirty-one states and a federal district, also known as Mexico City. Although a Federal Civil Code exists, each state has its own code that regulates concubinage and marriage. Civil unions and same-sex marriages are not recognized at the federal level. Some states, however, have considered legislation on these issues.[75]

In November 2013, Fernado Mayans, senator for the state of Tabasco and representing the Democratic Revolution Party, presented a proposal of changes to the Federal Civil Code in which marriage would be defined as "the free union of two people".[75] The proposal was turned over to the Justice, Legal Studies and Human Rights commissions in the senate to be further studied [76]

A provision in the Mexican Code allows that five rulings in a state with the same outcome on the same issue override a statute and establish the legal jurisprudence to overturn it. This means that if 5 injunctions ("amparo" in Spanish) are won in a state, the law has to be changed so that marriage becomes legal for all same-sex couples. It is also important to notice that a same-sex marriage performed in any state is valid in all of the other states in Mexico, even if any particular state has no laws that allow it, according to federal law.

On 14 June 2015, the Supreme Court of Justice declared it unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples in all states. This does not legalize same-sex marriages nationwide, but in turn means that whenever a state government has an injunction taken out by a couple looking to get marital recognition, they will have to grant it and consider legalization when a certain number of injunctions is fulfilled [77]

On 17 May 2016, the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, signed an initiative to change the country's Constitution, which would legalize same-sex marriage throughout Mexico pending congressional approval.[78] On 9 November 2016, the committee rejected the initiative 19 votes to 8.[79] However, legislation to allow same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples is currently pending in several Mexican states.

Mexico City[edit]

In 2000, Enoé Uranga, an openly lesbian politician and activist, proposed a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions in Mexico City under the name Ley de Sociedades de Convivencia (LSC, or "Law for Coexistence Partnerships").[80] The bill recognized the inheritance and pension rights of two adults, regardless of sexual orientation. Because of widespread opposition from right-wing groups and Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador's ambiguity concerning the bill, the Legislative Assembly decided not to consider it.[81]

As new leftist mayor Marcelo Ebrard was expected to take power in December 2006, the Legislative Assembly voted 43-17 to approve the LSC.[22] The law took effect on 16 March 2007.

On 24 November 2009, assemblyman David Razú, a member of the Partido de la Revolución Democrática, proposed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico City.[82] The bill was backed by the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City and over 600 non-governmental organizations, including the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, Amnesty International, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.[83][84] The National Action Party (PAN) announced it would either appeal the law in court or demand a referendum.[85]

The referendum proposal was rejected by the Legislative Assembly on a 36–22 vote on 18 December 2009.[86] On 21 December 2009, the Legislative Assembly passed the bill by a vote of 39–20 with five abstentions.[27] Eight days later, Mayor Marcelo Ebrard signed the bill.[28] It took effect on March 4, 2010.[29] The law changed the definition of marriage in the city's civil code to "a free union between two people". It also granted same-sex couples the right to adopt children.[87]

In February 2010, the Supreme Court rejected constitutional challenges by six states to the Mexico City law. The federal attorney general, however, had separately challenged the law as unconstitutional, citing an article in the Constitution of Mexico that refers to "protecting the family".[88] Five months later, the Supreme Court ruled 9–2 that the law did not violate the Constitution.[89]

Civil unions by state[edit]

On 11 January 2007, the Congress of the northern state of Coahuila legalized same-sex civil unions (by a 20–13 vote) under the name Pacto Civil de Solidaridad ("Civil Pact of Solidarity"; PCS), giving property and inheritance rights to same-sex couples.[90] The PCS was proposed by congresswoman Julieta López of the centrist PRI, whose nineteen members voted for the law.[90][91] Luis Alberto Mendoza, deputy of the center-right PAN (which opposed), said the new law was an "attack against the family, which is society's natural group and is formed by a man and a woman".[90] Apart from that, the PCS drew little opposition and was (notably) supported by Bishop Raúl Vera.[91] Unlike Mexico City's law, once same-sex couples have registered in Coahuila the state protects their rights (no matter where they live in Mexico).[91] Twenty days after the law passed, the country's first same-sex civil union took place in Saltillo, Coahuila.[24]

On 11 April 2013, the Party of the Democratic Revolution introduced a measure to legalize civil unions in Campeche.[92] The bill was unanimously passed 20 December 2013, and while it covers both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, it specifically provides that it "shall not constitute a civil partnership of people living together in marriage and cohabitation." An additional distinction is that it is not filed with the Civil Registrar, but with the Public Registry of Property and Trade.[93]

In July 2013, the Congress of Colima approved a constitutional amendment authorizing same-sex couples to legally formalize their unions by entering into marital bonds with the "same rights and obligations with respect to the contracting of civil marriage".[94] On 5 May 2016, the civil union law was repealed.[58]

In 2013, deputies of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM), Citizens' Movement (MC) and an independent deputy presented the Free Coexistence Act (Ley de Libre Convivencia) to the Congress of Jalisco.[95] In it is established that same-sex civil unions can be applied in the state, as long as they are not considered as marriages, there is no adoption and they are performed with a civil law notary.[95][96] On 31 October 2013, the Jalisco Congress approved the Act in a 20–15 vote,[97] one abstained and three were absent.[96] The law took effect on 1 January 2014.[46]

On 27 August 2015, the Justice and Human Rights Committee announced it would enact a civil union law for same-sex couples in Michoacán. It was approved unanimously in a 34-0 vote by the full Michoacán Congress on 7 September 2015.[55][98] The law was published on 30 September 2015 in the state's official journal.[99]

Same-sex marriage by state[edit]

On 28 November 2011, the first two same-sex marriages occurred in Quintana Roo after it was discovered that Quintana Roo's Civil Code did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage,[33] but these marriages were later annulled by the Governor of Quintana Roo in April 2012.[33] In May 2012, the Secretary of State of Quintana Roo reversed the annulments and allowed for future same-sex marriages to be performed in the state.[35]

Mexico's Supreme Court ruled in December 2012 that Oaxaca's marriage law was unconstitutional because it limited the ceremony to a man and a woman with the goal to "perpetuate the species".[100] In 2013 a lesbian couple became the first same-sex couple to marry after this ruling.[100]

On 11 February 2014, the Congress of Coahuila approved adoptions by same-sex couples and a bill legalizing same-sex marriages passed on 1 September 2014 making Coahuila the second state to reform its Civil Code to allow for legal same-sex marriages.[47][49] It took effect on 17 September, and the first couple married on 20 September.[101]

On 12 June 2015, the Governor of Chihuahua announced that his administration would no longer oppose same-sex marriages within the state. The order was effective immediately, thus making Chihuahua the third state to legalize such unions.[51]

On 25 June 2015, following the Supreme Court's ruling striking down district same-sex marriage bans, a civil registrar in Guerrero announced that they had planned a collective same-sex marriage ceremony for 10 July 2015 and indicated that there would have to be a change to the law to allow gender-neutral marriage, passed through the state legislature before the official commencement.[52] The registry announced more details of their plan, advising that only select registration offices in the state would be able to participate in the collective marriage event.[102] The Governor instructed civil agencies to approve same-sex marriage licenses. On 10 July 2015, 20 same-sex couples were married by Governor Rogelio Ortega in Acapulco.[103]

On 17 December 2015, the Congress of Nayarit approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.[56] In January 2016, the Mexican Supreme Court declared Jalisco's Civil Code unconstitutional for limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.[57] On 10 May 2016, the Congress of Campeche passed a same-sex marriage bill.[61] On 18 May 2016, both Michoacán and Morelos passed bills allowing for same-sex marriage to be legal.[63][64] On 25 May 2016, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Colima was approved by the state Congress.[62]

Discrimination protections[edit]

On 29 April 2003, the Federal Congress unanimously passed the "Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination", including sexual orientation as a protected category. The law, which went into effect on 11 June 2003, created the National Council to Prevent Discrimination to enforce it.[104] Mexico became the second country in Latin America, after Ecuador, to provide anti-discrimination protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.[104] Article 4 of the law defines discrimination as:

"Every distinction, exclusion or restriction based on ethnic or national origin, sex, age, disability, social or economic status, health, pregnancy, language, religion, opinion, sexual preferences, civil status or any other, that impedes recognition or enjoyment or fights and real equality in terms of opportunities for people."

— Article 4, Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination[104]

Article 9 defines "discriminatory behavior" as:

"Impeding access to public or private education; prohibiting free choice of employment, restricting access, permanency or promotion in employment; denying or restricting information on reproductive rights; denying medical services; impeding participation in civil, political or any other kind of organizations; impeding the exercise of property rights; offending, ridiculing or promoting violence through messages and images displayed in communications media; impeding access to social security and its benefits; impeding access to any public service or private institution providing services to the public; limiting freedom of movement; exploiting or treating in an abusive or degrading way; restricting participation in sports, recreation or cultural activities; incitement to hatred, violence, rejection, ridicule, defamation, slander, persecution or exclusion; promoting or indulging in physical or psychological abuse based on physical appearance or dress, talk, mannerisms or for openly acknowledging one's sexual preferences."

— Article 9, Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination[104]

CONAPRED is an organ of state created by "federal law to prevent and eliminate discrimination", adopted on 29 April 2003, and published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación on June 11. The Council is the leading institution for promoting policies and measures contributing to cultural development and social progress in social inclusion and the right to equality, which is the first fundamental right in the Federal Constitution.[72]

CONAPRED is also responsible for receiving and resolving grievances and complaints of alleged discriminatory acts committed by private individuals or federal authorities in carrying out their duties. CONAPRED also protects citizens with any distinction (or exclusion), based on any aspect mentioned in Article 4 of the federal law.[72] The Council has legal personality, owns property, and is part of the Interior Ministry. Technical and management decisions are independent for its resolutions on claims and complaints.[72]

In 2011, the Mexican Constitution was amended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.[10][11] An amendment to the Constitution requires ratification by at least 16 states. The states of Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guerrero, México, Michoacán, Nayarit, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán and Zacatecas subsequently ratified the amendment.[11]

LGBT speech laws[edit]

Mexico's Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that two anti-gay words, "puñal" and "maricones", are not protected as freedom of expression under the constitution, allowing people offended by the terms to sue for moral damages.[105]

Adoption and parenting[edit]

Same-sex couples aren't allowed to adopt in every state in Mexico. Mexico City along with the states of Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Michoacán, Morelos and Veracruz allow for same-sex couples to adopt children jointly.

Mexico City legalized same-sex adoptions in March 2010, when its same-sex marriage law took effect.[27] On 24 November 2011, the Coahuila Supreme Court struck down the state's law barring same-sex couples from adopting.[31] The state complied with the ruling in February 2014 and legalized such adoptions.[47] According to the Chihuahua DIF, the Office of the Defense of Children and the Family in the state performs the same protocol for all couples seeking to adopt regardless of their sexual orientation.[106]

On 11 August 2015, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled, in a 9-1 decision, that Campeche's ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional.[54] The Supreme Court struck down Article 19 of Campeche's civil union law which outlawed adoption by couples in civil unions. Children's rights were cited as the main reason for the Court's decision. The ruling set a constitutional precedent, meaning all bans in Mexico forbidding same-sex couples from adopting are unconstitutional and discriminatory. On 23 September 2016, the Mexican Supreme Court finalized the ruling in the adoption case against Campeche and issued a nationwide jurisprudence which binds all lower court judges to rule in favor of same-sex couples seeking adoption and parental rights.[67] Campeche lifted its adoption ban three days later.[67]

Colima, Michoacán and Morelos legalized such adoptions following the approval of their respective same-sex marriage laws in May 2016.[62][63][64] In September 2016, the head of Veracruz's adoption agency announced that same-sex couples may adopt children jointly in the state.[65]

Military service[edit]

The Mexican Armed Forces' policy on sexual orientation is ambiguous, leaving homosexual and bisexual soldiers in a "legal limbo". Officially, there is no law or policy preventing homosexuals from serving, and applicants are not questioned on the subject. In practice, however, outed homosexual and bisexual soldiers are subject to severe harassment and are often discharged. One directive, issued in 2003, described actions "en contra de la moral o de las buenas costumbres dentro y fuera del servicio [sic]" ("contrary to morality or good manners on- and off-duty") as serious misconduct warranting disciplinary action. Other references to morality are found throughout military documents, leaving room for interpretation with regards to sexual orientation. Although there is no clear position from current military leadership, several retired generals have agreed that homosexual soldiers were usually removed from service either through an encouraged withdrawal or dishonorable discharge.[107]

Gender identity and expression[edit]

On 13 March 2004, amendments to the Mexico City Civil Code that allow transgender people to change their gender and name on their birth certificates, took effect.[20][21]

In September 2008, the PRD-controlled Mexico City Legislative Assembly approved a law, in a 37-17 vote, making gender changes easier for transgender people.[25]

Blood donation[edit]

In August 2012, new health regulations allowing for gay and bi men to donate blood were approved. The regulations were published in the country's regulatory diary in October and took effect on Christmas Day, 25 December 2012.[108]

Public opinion[edit]

A 2013 Pew Research Center opinion survey showed that 61% of Mexicans believe homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 30% believe it should not.[109] Younger people were more accepting than people over 50: 70% of people between 18 and 29 believe it should be accepted, 60% of people between 30 and 49 and 52% of people over 50. There was a slight increase in acceptance since 2007, when a Pew Research poll showed that 60% of the population believe homosexuality should be accepted.

In May 2015, PlanetRomeo, a LGBT social network, published its first Gay Happiness Index (GHI). Gay men from over 120 countries and territories were asked about how they feel about society’s view on homosexuality, how do they experience the way they are treated by other people and how satisfied are they with their lives. Mexico was ranked 32, just above Portugal and below Curaçao, with a GHI score of 56.[110]

Following President Enrique Peña Nieto's proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico, a poll on the issue was carried out by Gabinete de Comunicación Estratégica. 69% of respondents were in favor of the change. 64% said they saw it as an advance in the recognition of human rights. Public opinion has changed radically over the course of 16 years. In 2000, 62% felt that same-sex marriage should not be allowed under any circumstances. In 2016, only 25% felt that way.[7]

Living conditions[edit]

Go-go dancers in costume at gay-pride parade
Go-go dancers at 2009 LGBT Pride Parade in Mexico City.

According to the first National Poll on Discrimination (2005) in Mexico (conducted by the CONAPRED), 48 percent of the Mexican people interviewed indicated that they would not permit a homosexual to live in their house.[111] 95 percent of gays interviewed indicated that in Mexico there was discrimination against them; four out of ten declared they were a victim of exclusionary acts; more than half said they felt rejected, and six out of ten felt their worst enemy was society.[111]

LGBT social life thrives in the country's largest cities and resorts. The center of the Mexico City LGBT community is the Zona Rosa, where over 50 gay bars and dance clubs exist.[112] Surrounding the nation's capital, there is a substantial LGBT culture in the State of Mexico[113] (although some observers claim that gay life is more developed in Mexico's second-largest city, Guadalajara).[13]

Other centers include border city Tijuana,[114] northern city Monterrey,[115] central cities Puebla[116] and León,[117] and major port city Veracruz.[118] The popularity of gay tourism (especially in Puerto Vallarta, Cancún, and elsewhere) has also drawn national attention to the presence of homosexuality in Mexico.[119] Among young, urban heterosexuals, it has become popular to attend gay dance clubs and to have openly gay friends.[119]

In 1979, the country's first LGBT Pride Parade (also known as the LGBT Pride March) was held in Mexico City and was attended by over 1,000 people.[120] Ever since, the parade has been held each June with different themes. It aims to bring visibility to sexual minorities, raise consciousness about AIDS and HIV, denounce homophobia, and demand the creation of public policies such as the recognition of civil unions, same-sex marriages, and the legalization of LGBT adoption.[121] According to organizers, the XXXI LGBT Pride Parade in 2009 was attended by over 350,000 people (100,000 more than its predecessor).[122]

In 2003, the first Lesbian Pride March was held in the nation's capital.[123] In Guadalajara, well-attended LGBT Pride Parades have also been held each June since 1996.[124] Consecutive LGBT Pride Parades have been held in Monterrey,[125] Tijuana,[126] Puebla,[127] Veracruz,[125] Xalapa,[128] Cuernavaca,[129] Tuxtla Gutiérrez,[130] Acapulco,[131] Chilpancingo,[125] and Mérida.[124]

Anti-LGBT violence[edit]

Male gay-pride marchers, with signs and rainbow flags
LGBT marchers denouncing hate crimes based on sexual orientation at 2009 LGBT Pride Parade in Mexico City

Same-sex sexual acts are legal in Mexico, but LGBT people have been prosecuted through the use of legal codes that regulate obscene or lurid behavior (atentados a la moral y las buenas costumbres). Over the past twenty years, there have been reports of violence against gay men, including the murders of openly gay men in Mexico City and of transvestites in the southern state of Chiapas. Local activists believe that these cases often remain unsolved, blaming the police for a lack of interest in investigating them and for assuming that gays are somehow responsible for attacks against them.[68]

In mid-2007, Emilio Alvarez Icaza Longoria (chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City) said he was deeply concerned that Mexico City had the worst record for homophobic hate crimes, with 137 such crimes reported between 1995 and 2005.[111] Journalist and author (Homophobia, Hate, Crime and Justice 1995–2005) Fernando del Collado affirmed that during the decade covered by his book, 387 hate crimes due to homophobia were committed in Mexico (98 percent of which remain unprosecuted).[111]

Del Collado expressed his concern about a lack of prosecution and reported that according to the Citizens Commission Against Hate Crime because of Homophobia (CCCOH), three homosexuals are murdered per month in Mexico.[111] Del Collado indicated that between 1995 and 2005, 126 homosexuals were murdered in Mexico City. Of those, 75 percent were reclaimed by their families. In 10 percent of the cases, families identified the victim but did not reclaim their bodies (which were buried in common graves) and the remaining 5 percent were never identified.[111]

Former assistant attorney for crime victims at the Federal District Attorney General's Office (PGJDF) Barbara Illan Rondero strongly criticized the lack of sensitivity and professionalism on the part of investigators in crimes committed against homosexuals and lesbians:

"I still can't determine if this is due to negligence, lack of preparation or down-right covering up and is a matter that has to do with the intention of not solving these crimes because they carry no weight of importance".[111]

Alejandro Brito Lemus, director of the news supplement Letra S ("Letter S"), claimed that only four percent of gays and lesbians who suffer from discrimination present their complaints to authorities:

"In spite of the gravity of the aggressions suffered, the majority of gays, lesbians and transsexuals prefer to keep silent about what happens and to remain isolated in fear of being attacked again in revealing their sexual orientation".[111]

Political influence[edit]

LGBT participation is a part of the long-governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Since the triumph of the Liberals under President Benito Juárez in the 1860s and the 1910 Revolution, there has been separation of church and state in Mexico. With morality generally considered the province of the Church, the PRI (which considers itself the party of the Revolution) has generally been reluctant to be seen as implementing the will of the Catholic Church. However, it has also been careful not to offend Catholic moral sensibilities.[132]

In 1998, President Ernesto Zedillo (of the PRI) appointed Pedro Joaquín-Coldwell (an openly-bisexual politician and former governor of Quintana Roo) ambassador to Cuba.[133] Nevertheless, most individual officeholders tend to view LGBT issues as a private matter (to be ignored) or a moral problem (to be opposed). The PRI has allied with the PAN to block legislation concerning LGBT rights in some states (except in two cases). The party unanimously voted in favor of the recognition of same-sex civil unions in Mexico City and Coahuila.[81][90] There was some internal debate within the PRI whether or not the party should have a platform plank on the issue.

The National Action Party (PAN), a rightist party, tends to endorse Roman Catholic Church teachings and oppose LGBT issues on moral grounds. Some PAN mayors have adopted ordinances (or policies) leading to the closing of gay bars or the detention of transvestites (usually on prostitution charges).[132] Many of its leaders have taken public stands describing homosexuality as "abnormal", a "sickness", or a "moral weakness".[132]

In the 2000 presidential elections, PAN candidate (and eventual winner) Vicente Fox used homosexual stereotypes to demean and humiliate his principal opponent (Francisco Labastida). Fox accused Labastida of being a sissy and a mama's boy and nicknamed him Lavestida ("the cross-dressed").[134] When Mexico City and Coahuila legalized same-sex civil unions the chief opposition came from the PAN, former President Vicente Fox and former President Felipe Calderón. Since then the party has opposed similar bills, with the rationale of protecting traditional family values.[135] Nonetheless, PAN officials have insisted that homosexuals have rights as human beings and should in no case be subjected to hatred or physical violence.[132]

Woman with short dark hair, blue lanyard, and black and white blouse speaking at a podium
Patria Jiménez, from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), became the first openly-lesbian lawmaker in the Federal Congress in 1997.

Participation by sexual minorities is widely accepted in the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), one of Mexico's three major political parties. Since its creation during the late 1980s, the PRD has supported LGBT rights and has a party program committed to ending discrimination on the basis of sexual diversity.[136] In the 1997 parliamentary elections, Patria Jiménez became the first openly lesbian member of the Federal Congress, and LGBT-rights advocate David Sánchez Camacho was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District (ALDF).[69]

Two years later, the PRD-controlled Legislative Assembly passed an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation (the first of its kind in the country).[71] In 2004, a bill concerning gender identity was passed, allowing transgender people to change their gender and sex on official documents.[20] In the 2009 parliamentary elections, of the 38 LGBT candidates presented by several political parties, only Enoé Uranga succeeded:[137] an openly-lesbian politician who, in 2000, promoted the legalization of same-sex civil unions in Mexico City.[80] The bill passed six years later in the PRD-controlled Legislative Assembly, allowing same-sex couples inheritance and pension rights. Similar bills have been proposed by the PRD in at least six states.

Other leftist, smaller parties are Convergence and the Labor Party (PT). Both have supported the LGBT community and PRD-proposed bills regarding LGBT rights.[138]

The defunct Social Democratic Party (PSD), a minor progressive party, was noted for its support of the LGBT community. In the 2006 presidential elections Patricia Mercado, the first woman presidential candidate, was the only candidate openly supporting same-sex marriage.[139] In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the party nominated 32 LGBT candidates (out of a total of 38 presented by other parties) for seats in the Federal Congress.[137]

In the municipality of Guadalajara, the second-largest city of Mexico, Miguel Galán became the first openly gay politician to run for mayor in the country.[80] During his campaign Galán was a target of homophobic comments, notably by Green Party rival Gamaliel Ramírez (who, on a radio show, joked about homosexuals and referred to the PSD as "a dirty party of degenerates"). Ramírez also called homosexual practices "abnormal" and said they should be outlawed. The following day, Ramírez issued a written apology after his party condemned his comments.[140] Despite losing the election, Galán received 7,122 votes (the most for any openly gay politician in Mexico).[137]

HIV and AIDS[edit]

Main article: HIV/AIDS in Mexico
Red loop-and-cross HIV/AIDS ribbon

The first AIDS case in Mexico was diagnosed in 1983.[141] Based on retrospective analyses and other public-health investigative techniques, HIV in Mexico may be traced back to 1981.[142] LGBT groups were instrumental in initiating programs to combat AIDS—a shift in focus which curtailed (at least temporarily) an emphasis on gay organizing.[68]

The National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS (CENSIDA) is a program promoting prevention and control of the AIDS pandemic with public policies, promotion of sexual health, and other evidence-based strategies. It aims to diminish the transmission of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and sexually transmitted diseases and to improve the quality of life of affected people (within a framework of the common good).[143] CENSIDA has been active since 1988 and collaborates with other government agencies and non-governmental organizations (including those for persons living with HIV/AIDS).[144]

According to a 2011 estimate, 0.2 percent of persons aged 15–49 were HIV-positive, which along with Cuba and Nicaragua was the lowest rate in Latin America and the Caribbean.[145] In absolute numbers, an estimated 180,000 people in Mexico were living with HIV in 2011, the second-largest affected population in the region after Brazil.[145] According to CENSIDA, as of 2009 over 220,000 adults are HIV-positive; 60 percent are men who have sex with men, 23 percent are heterosexual women and 6 percent are commercial sex workers' clients (mainly heterosexuals).[146] Over 90 percent of the reported cases were the result of sexual transmission.[147]

The spread of HIV in Mexico is exacerbated by stigma and discrimination, which act as a barrier to prevention, testing and treatment. Stigmatization occurs within families, in health services, with the police, and in the workplace.[144] A study conducted by Infante-Xibille in 2004 of 373 health care providers in three Mexican states described discrimination within the health services. Testing was conducted only with perceived high-risk groups (often without informed consent), and AIDS patients were often isolated.[144]

A 2005 five-city participatory community assessment by Colectivo Sol (a non-governmental organization) found that some HIV hospital patients had a sign over their beds stating they were HIV-positive. In León, Guanajuato, researchers found that 7 out of 10 people in the study had lost their jobs because of their HIV status. The same study also documented evidence of discrimination that men who have sex with men experienced within their families.[144]

In August 2008, Mexico hosted the 17th International AIDS Conference, a meeting that contributed to overcoming stigmas and highlighting the achievements in the struggle against the illness.[148] In late 2009, Health Secretary José Ángel Córdova said in a statement that Mexico had met the United Nations Millennium Development Goal concerning HIV/AIDS (which demands that countries begin to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS before 2015). The HIV infection rate then was 0.4 percent, below the 0.6 percent target set by the World Health Organization for Mexico.[148]

About 70 percent of people requesting treatment for HIV/AIDS arrive without symptoms of the disease, which increases life expectancy by at least 25 years.[148] Treatment for HIV/AIDS in Mexico is free, and is offered at 57 specialized clinics to 30,000 (of 60,000) people living with HIV.[148] The Mexican Government spends about $2 billion MXN (US $151.9 million) each year fighting the disease.[148]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual acts legal Yes (Since 1871)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 1871)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (Since 2003)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (Since 2003)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (Since 2003)
Same-sex marriage(s) Yes/No[note 1] (Pending in several states)
Recognition of same-sex couples Yes (Since 2010)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples Yes/No[note 2] (Pending in several states)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes/No[note 2] (Pending in several states)
Gays, lesbians and bisexuals allowed to serve in the military Yes
Right to change legal gender Yes/No[note 3] (Pending in several states)
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood Yes (Since 2012)
  1. ^ Performed only in Mexico City, Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Quintana Roo and parts of Guerrero, Querétaro and Puebla but recognised throughout the country.
  2. ^ a b Only in Mexico City, Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Michoacán, Morelos and Veracruz
  3. ^ Legal in Mexico City only.

See also[edit]



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  2. ^ Reding, p. 24.
  4. ^ Reding, p. 17.
  5. ^ a b Dynes, Johansson, p. 805.
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  8. ^ Thousands march in Mexico against proposal to allow same-sex marriage The Guardian
  9. ^ a b c d LGBTQ Histroy: Mexico
  10. ^ a b DECRETO por el que se modifica la denominación del Capítulo I del Título Primero y reforma diversos artículos de la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
  11. ^ a b c d DECRETO por el que se modifica la denominación del Capítulo I del Título Primero y reforma diversos artículos de la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos - Proceso Legislativo
  12. ^ Bernal Díaz, p. 30.
  13. ^ a b c d e Dynes, Johansson, Percy and Donaldson, p. 807.
  14. ^ "Mexico City Gay Pride/Orgullo LGBT Mexico City", Gaypedia
  15. ^ a b c Mexico: Treatment of Homosexuals
  16. ^ Mexican gays poised to make demands for change
  18. ^ First Openly Gay Mayoral Candidate Runs in Mexico
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  21. ^ a b "The Violations of the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons in Mexico: A Shadow Report", submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee by The International Human Rights Clinic, Human Rights Program of Harvard Law School; Global Rights; and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, March 2010, footnote 77, page 13
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  144. ^ a b "UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  145. ^ CENSIDA, p. 11.
  146. ^ CENSIDA, p. 13.
  147. ^ a b c d e "Mexico Meets HIV-AIDS Millennium Development Goals". Latin American Herald Tribune. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 


External links[edit]



  • Gay Mexico — online dating BBS.
  • Gay Mexico — gay online magazine.
  • Antros Gay — list of gay bars and clubs in Mexico.
  • MexGay — information about gay-friendly tourist destinations in Mexico.