More than 2,000 people marched to demand respect for the rights of the LGBTQ community, the 16th such annual demonstration in Mérida. Broader than a gay-pride parade, the march brought visibility to sexual minorities of all kinds, who often face discrimination or rejection at work or in society.
To the sound of samba music, the multicolored cacophony took the streets from La Mejorada park to the Plaza Grande.
By 6 p.m., La Marcha de la Diversidad Sexual Mérida turned into a street festival that some commented reminded them of when Carnaval was celebrated on the Paseo de Montejo.
“I am trans, not delinquent,” read a banner that carried one of the members of the transgender collective Yucatrans, headed by Abigail Trillo. More than 20 civil associations took part, each with its own perspective on struggle and discrimination.
Marriage equality, while supported in federal courts, remains a rallying cry. When the march’s leader, Alfredo Candiani, spoke before the crowd on the issue, the rainbow flags waved with more force than ever.
“Nothing is achieved if one stays at home,” said one participant.
Police cooperated with the demonstration by closing streets to make way for marchers.
Passers-by appeared to take the march in stride. Many took cell-phone photos of marchers, many in drag or various costumes, and no altercations were reported during the event.
If the crowd counts are accurate, attendance for the event has quadrupled in two years. In 2017, the march went from 500 participants to over 1,000. Local media put this year’s number at over 2,000.
Source: La Jornada Maya