Homophobia in Mexico

It never fails. After I've given a lecture or a course on homosexuality, explaining at length why it can no longer be considered an illness, the questions are always the same: "What are the symptoms?" "Can it be cured?" "How can one prevent it in one's children?" Even, occasionally, "Is it contagious?"

I encounter these questions everywhere: in Mexico City and the provinces; on radio programs and university campuses; among ordinary people, psychology students, and health professionals. In Mexico there is still the assumption that homosexuality is a disease, as well as a social problem to be eradicated. Always there is the presumption that gay people are fundamentally different from "us normal people."

These views translate readily into action. With an average of 35 reported murders a year (unofficial estimates run three times higher), Mexico ranks second in the world, after Brazil, for anti-gay crimes. Attempts to legalize a limited form of gay marriage were quashed three times by the local congress of Mexico City, by parties of the left and right alike.

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