Are you considering a Mexican vacation and wondering: is Mexico safe for LGBTQ travelers? And what is the current state of LGBTQ rights in Mexico? Well, if you had your heart set on sipping some authentic margaritas on a pristine beach, you’ll be thrilled to learn that gay rights in Mexico surpass many other countries of the globe. Indigenous populations, like the Zapotecs and Mayas, have long accepted sexual fluidity, and same-sex fornication was decriminalized back in 1871. Today, gay unions are federally recognized, and same-sex marriages are performed in 18 of Mexico’s 31 states. LGBTQ couples are also free to adopt children.
While Mexico is in the main very gay friendly, it pays to note that some regions are more LGBTQ friendly than others. The gay area in Mexico City, Zona Rosa, rivals San Francisco’s Castro District, while Sinaloa is where Kim Davis, Kentucky’s homophobic crusader, would likely feel most at home. Beyond Mexico City’s Zona Rosa, other parts of Mexico including Guadalajara, Monterrey, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and Tijuana are also considered extremely gay-friendly..
Gay rights in Mexico and trans rights in Mexico are comparable to that of its neighbor to the north, the United States, and significantly better than other countries in South America. In 2011, federal lawmakers amended the constitution to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. And thanks to a pair of rulings in 2015 and 2016 by Mexico’s top judicial body, laws forbidding gay marriage and gay adoption in Mexico were rendered unconstitutional. In practice, however, things are not necessarily as straightforward. Despite the ruling, some states still require same-sex couples to secure an “amparo” - or injunction - to get married, something which is not required for heterosexual couples.
To add context, Mexico is a religious country, with over 82 percent of the population identifying as Catholic. That said, this does not necessarily translate to an ultra-conservative stance towards homosexuality. Impressively, citizens started rallying for LGBTQ rights in Mexico in the 1970s. Today, gays and lesbians can cohabitate legally without any harassment or discrimination, and trans rights in Mexico are quickly gaining widespread acceptance. In fact, according to the latest Gay Travel Index by Spatacus, Mexico scored a rating of 1 in terms of overall LGBTQ rights, placing it ahead of Brazil, but behind Cuba and Chile.
Adoption of the Napoleonic Code in 1871 decriminalized all private sexual activity between consenting adults, and in the early 20th century, it was quite common for gays and lesbians to hold discreet balls and dances. In 1971, concerned people formed the Frente de Liberacion Homosexual to protest the firing of a gay department store worker, and in 1999, Mexico City, the nation’s capital, banned any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The 21st century brought even more advances concerning gay rights in Mexico City and beyond. Legislators passed an anti-discrimination law in 2003, and the following year, amended the Mexico City Civil Code to allow transgender individuals to change their names and genders officially. Between 2006 and 2010, gay adoption in Mexico City became legal, along with a legion of other rights, including same-sex civil unions and several financial equalities.
A trip to Mexico inevitably means a visit to the country’s capital, so it pays to ask the question “is Mexico City safe for gay and lesbian travelers?” Undoubtedly yes, in fact, it may be one of the most gay-friendly countries in the Americas. The city’s annual Pride festival, which debuted in 1978, attracts several hundreds of thousands of people, while other cities and towns also draw large crowds for the annual festivities.
The gay area in Mexico City, Zona Rosa, is a thriving LGBTQ community that spans 16 blocks and is home to more than 200 gay-owned businesses. When strolling down the zone’s main drag, Amberes Street, it is common to see same-sex couples holding hands and kissing. The Plaza Garibaldi is another popular neighborhood for LGBTQ clubs and restaurants.
Mexico is the sixth-most visited vacation destination in the world, and the majority of the country is very LGBTQ-friendly. But to make your gaycation even more special, stay with a misterb&b host. The premier LGBTQ vacation accommodation booking platform, misterb&b has thousands of gay-owned and gay-friendly hotels, guest houses, apartment rentals, and hotels in Mexico. Those looking to tap into the local LGBTQ scene should definitely pencil in a stay with a local misterb&b host, who will be able to orient you on the top things to do in Mexico. And on top of this, you may even make a new friend out of it! So if you’re looking to experience your pride the Latin way, be sure to add Mexico to your travel bucket list this year.