Mérida LGBTQ+ Pride March: Hotter than ever in 2023

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Mérida Pride March 2023. Photo: Mark Callum

Call it La Marcha de la Diversidad Sexual Mérida, la Marcha del Orgullo, the Mérida Pride March of 2023. Just don’t call it dull. 

Under the oppressive heat of the late afternoon, an estimated 25,000 people showed up to express themselves with color, music and fierce attitude.

Shouting “my identity, my right” in Spanish, they paraded from the Monumento a la Patría down the grand Paseo de Montejo. The march led to the Plaza Grande, where drag performers and various singers let loose on concert stages in the shadows of the Cathedral.

A double-decker tour bus is engaged in the Mérida Pride March 2023. Photo: Roland Seeman

Pride celebrations in Mérida have become the city’s largest annual event. In this conservative, mid-size city in southeast Mexico, Pride has surpassed the traditional Carnaval — somehow banished to remote fairgrounds — as the most joyous, boisterous, and fascinating celebration. 

Even the city’s Plaza Grande, Mérida’s main square, was crowded out on Saturday night. One suggestion from a participant was to allow the route to culminate at the much roomier Parque La Plancha, which should be ready in time for Pride 2024.

The Mérida Pride March takes to the Paseo de Montejo in 2023. Photo: Roland Seeman

Acceptance and participation from people outside the LGBTQ+ community have fueled the Pride celebration’s growth. The march, which was led by a protective contingent of municipal police on motorcycles, with state police bringing up the rear, went peacefully. 

After two decades on secondary streets, the march graduated to the Paseo do Montejo — the city’s iconic boulevard — last year. This year, observers on social media said the event was even more joyous and exuberant.   

The Episcopal Church San Lucas de Mérida took part in the Pride march, and had a gathering afterwards to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

Groups such as Repavih (a network of people affected by HIV), Accenture, the Episcopal Church of San Lucas de Mérida and various floats and tour buses also participated. Representing pageants from other towns, Miss Progreso, Miss Muna and Miss Ticul also greeted the throngs.

Mérida Pride March 2023 begins at the Monumento a la Patría. Photo: Mark Callum

An LGBTQ+ ally remarked that the parade offered “a colorful hour-long river of humanity that refused to be canceled, denied or closeted. We were both moved and astonished by the turnout!”

“It was the best ever and such a positive life-affirming experience,” said another man who attended the march.

Proud mothers join a small LGBTQ+ march in Teabo, Yucatán, in 2022. Photo: Facebook

The events were absent the far-right threats that menaced similar celebrations in the United States. Politicians in Yucatán stayed largely silent, neither condemning nor participating in the march.

Later this month, smaller Pride events are set to pop up in other communities, such as Piste de Chichén Itzá, Izamal, Uman and Rio Lagartos.

More information: The LGBTQ+ Mérida organizing committee

Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012.
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