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Tijuana Pride Parade Draws an Estimated 1,000 People

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Saturday Jun 25, 2011

An estimated 1,000 people turned out for Tijuana's 16th annual LGBT Pride parade on Saturday, June 18.

Organized by el Fondo de Asistencia Para el SIDA; the Imperial Court of San Diego, Palms Springs Pride, F Street, la Fundación para el Cambio were among the southern California-based organizations that co-sponsored the parade. Periódico Zeta and Periódico Frontera-two Tijuanan newspapers-and other local media outlets also lent their support. "It was not an easy task to get that many people involved, but it was worth the effort because we saw the results in this 16th LGBT Pride march in Tijuana," Lorenzo Herrera María told EDGE in an e-mail.

Herrera also pointed out a number of local businesses supported the march. "To all of them I say many thanks for their support," he said.

The Tijuana Pride parade committee chose Ron deHarte, a member of Palm Springs Pride's Board of Directors, as their International Grand Marshal.

The long-time activist has attended six Tijuana Pride parades, but DeHarte noted to EDGE only 200 people turned out for the first parade to which he went. He said the fact 1,000 people attended this year's festivities represents a milestone for organizers and LGBT Tijuanans themselves.

"It's really significant when you look at the cultural unity and the traditions that exist in that part of Mexico and the homophobia that exists today in 2011 we can have 1,000 in the streets of downtown Tijuana and celebrating the fact they're lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender," said deHarte. "That's a huge step forward and that's really exciting."

DeHarte further noted the crowd was far more enthusiastic than it had been in previous years-shopkeepers and people standing at intersections waved as the parade passed them. They were also taking pictures and even shooting videos with their cell phones. "That shows that there's progress," said DeHarte. "That shows that barriers are being broken down, that acceptance is growing. It's certainly more tolerant in Tijuana. I felt so good for the organizations because of the work they put through to make that parade happen-it was a success and we can see it was a success by the numbers."

Mexico City, Guadalajara and Ensenada are among the Mexican cities that host annual Pride parades.

Same-sex couples have been able to marry in Mexico City since March 2010, while lawmakers in the state of Coahuila in 2007 passed a measure that legalized civil unions for gays and lesbians. Same-sex couples can also adopt in Mexico City.

DeHarte conceded Tijuana's violent reputation kept San Diegans and others who may have otherwise attended the city's Pride on the American side of the border. He stressed, however, it remains important for LGBT Californians to support their Mexican counterparts.

"It's a fun afternoon to go and a little of our time goes a long way in showing support for our brothers and sisters who are there," said DeHarte. "The more support they get the stronger they're going to feel inside-[the more] they feel comfortable as lesbian, gay, transgender individuals. And we all need that."

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.


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