Mexico City — The nation’s capital celebrated its 41st annual pride demonstration on the Paseo de la Reforma as tens of thousands of revelers wave bright flags and flaunted gaudy outfits.
In a country whose border cities have been under increasing scrutiny for their treatment of migrants, Mexico City has become a bastion of progressive causes. This is where the first Latin American capital legalized same-sex civil unions in 2007 and marriage 10 years ago.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and self-identified queer or gender-nonconforming migrants here embraced the pride march.
“Here, I feel free compared to my own country, which is very repressive,” said Daniela Morillo, 25, a lesbian in rainbow garb who left Venezuela to marry her girlfriend.
Immigration authorities do not keep records on sexual orientation, but activists say the number of LGBTQ+ migrants in Mexico City has risen.
But it’s not all glitter and rainbows for LGBTQ+ migrants. The exiles, escaping anti-gay violence in Central America, have been part of a surge in migrants.
The road through Mexico is perilous, and LGBTQ people, especially transgender women, are even more exposed. Some have been attacked in border cities like Tijuana.
Henry Javier Umana, was a gay-rights activist in Honduras, but fled to Mexico when his former partner was murdered there.
“I heard that Mexico City was very big, and very open,” said Umana, a shaggy-haired 34-year-old who wore a “love has no borders” shirt as he walked in the section for migrants and asylum-seekers — another first for the Mexico City parade.
Parade organizer Patria Jimenez said solidarity with LGBTQ+ migrants had become more important since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump to send the National Guard to border regions to block migrants.
“We’re really worried,” Jimenez said, “since this has made migrants’ paths more difficult.”