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Thousands march in Merida’s annual LGBTQ+ Pride celebration

Behind the music and banners, a persistent campaign for rights and respect

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Yucatan’s XVII March for Sexual Diversity attracted thousands to the Plaza Grande on Saturday, June 8, 2019. Facebook / Angel García Zapata

Mérida’s XVII March for Sexual Diversity appeared larger and more colorful than ever on Saturday.

The LGBTQ+ community was present, as were their allies — straight families with kids in full participation. One TV host estimated a crowd size of 5,000 people. If accurate, that means that this year’s march is more than double 2018’s pride celebration.

The march, which began in Parque Mejorada and wound its way to the Plaza Grande, culminated in speeches, music and a coronation of a male and female “king and queen.”

Yucatan’s XVII March for Sexual Diversity attracted thousands to the Plaza Grande on Saturday, June 8, 2019. Photo: Diario de Yucatan

“Merida is not white, it is diverse and inclusive” is among the slogans marchers chanted on the way.

The event mirrors pride celebrations around the world, made more poignant this year on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The Greenwich Village clash between police and the patrons of a gay bar in New York City is commonly thought to have kicked off the contemporary LGBTQ+ movement.

Yucatan’s XVII March for Sexual Diversity attracted thousands to the Plaza Grande on Saturday, June 8, 2019. Photo: Courtesy

The march also comes as Yucatan state legislators continue to stall a marriage-equality bill that has passed in neighboring Campeche and Quintana Roo.

“It was an amazing moment extremely full of power and above all: love,” one young male visitor wrote, in Spanish, on his Facebook page. “What a fantasy to see children dancing to the rhythm of the batucada, to people clapping and showing their support and solidarity.”

Yucatan’s XVII March for Sexual Diversity attracted thousands to the Plaza Grande on Saturday, June 8, 2019. Photo: Courtesy

He said the event helped him bury feelings of shame imposed on him as a child.

“Now I appreciate not having let the negative feelings I ever felt win, because now I am extremely proud of who I am, of what I have done…” he wrote.

Originally a “gay pride” parade, marches around the world are meant to be inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex and people self-identifying as “queer.”

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