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400 March in Tijuana, Mexico
floatcrop.gif - 172.62 K Tijuana's 1998 Pride Parade
Photo: Rex Wockner

Fourth Pride Parade Nation's 2nd Largest

Patria Jimenez: "No One will be
Free until All of Us Are Free!"

By Rex Wockner

Four hundred people marched in Tijuana's fourth annual Gay/Lesbian Pride Parade June 20 -- 200 in the street and another 200 on the sidewalks, out of view of news photographers.

They carried signs reading, "We're fighting to be accepted in society," "We demand equal rights," and "I love my mommy just as she is."

The march traversed the length of rowdy and glitzy Revolution Avenue which is clogged on Saturday afternoons with hundreds of U.S. and Mexican partiers and shoppers.

"This has become the second-most-important pride parade in the nation because of its [annual] continuation," said Deputy Patria Jimenez, an openly lesbian member of Mexico's federal Congress. "And every year it's going to grow bigger and more expressive." Patria2.jpg - 45.90 K Mexican Congresswoman Patria Jiminez, at Tijuana's 1998 Pride parade.
Photo: Rex Wockner

About 3,000 people march in Mexico City's parade, now in its 20th year. "The folks who accompany us on the sidewalks in Mexico City are a substantial number but I can't say how many," said Jimenez, who represents a Mexico City-area district for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). The official demand of the Tijuana march was for a federal law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"This cry of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered community echoes from Yucatan to Tijuana ... as the community fights to win a dignified place in Mexican society," said Tijuana Pride Committee head Alejandro Garcia.

"In Mexico, the government is very far from guaranteeing human rights for everyone as we see in the case of the Indians who do not receive respect or have their autonomy recognized.

"But even so, we do not lose our spirit," Garcia said. "As we scatter the seed of the gay/lesbian struggle, the whole society has to know that we are everywhere, that there are millions of us in this country, and that they cannot ignore us any longer."

marchers.jpg - 11.84 K Tijuana, Mexico's 4th annual gay-pride parade, June 20 on Revolution Avenue.
Photo: Rex Wockner

Jimenez added: "This march is a celebration but it continues to also be a protest against homophobic, misogynistic and genocidal governments. ... Human diversity cannot continue being a pretext for some sectors who feel themselves superior to others in human quality to continue inventing inferior sectors upon which to impose their supremacy. ... No one will be free until all of us are free."

A large contingent of marchers attended from the committee that organizes the pride parade in Long Beach, Calif., prompting San Diego activist Nicole Ramirez Murray to urge: "It's important that we go back to San Diego and ask our pride people, where was their participation in this march?

"It's a big, big disappointment," Ramirez Murray said. "No banner, no representation. You go back and ask why, because this is only half an hour away. There is no border when it comes to San Diegans and Mexicans. We are all one family."