Why Is Guadalajara Called the San Francisco of Mexico?

Gay Pride | © Guillaume Paumier / Flickr
Gay Pride | © Guillaume Paumier / Flickr
Photo of Pablo Mares
2 August 2017

Like San Francisco, Guadalajara has had its own gay movement since at least the ’70s. There was much discrimination, prejudice, and even attacks. It is hard to imagine that kind of city is now known as one of the most open and gay-friendly in Mexico, just behind Cancun and Mexico City. Here is what you have to know about Guadalajara as the gay capital of the state of Jalisco.

According to Jaime Cobián, a gay activist and author of the book Los Jotos (a derogatory term for gay men in Mexico), gay people have been always present in the history of Mexico. He started searching for all the terms that were and are still used to name this group. He found more than 400, with proof of 230 different terms.

Gay couple | © pgbsimon / Pixabay

Generally speaking, Guadalajara is a very conservative city, one of the most important places for the Catholic Church. However, beyond that there has been always a liberal resistance, and in recent years this has been more evident. Nowadays, it is completely normal to see a gay couple walking in the streets holding hands and kissing.

But that was not always the case. For many years, homosexuality was officially forbidden in the city. Nonetheless, there were always many underground places for the gay community.

Gay Pride Festival, Tel Aviv | Niv Singer / Flickr

In the ‘80s, there were some famous gay bars like Panchos, in the downtown area, where gay men went to meet other men but not publicly. During that period, there was a riot in the Plaza de las Sombrillas, in front of the University Library of Guadalajara. Some say that was the event that led to performing a yearly protest in the city that later became Guadalajara’s Gay Pride celebration.

Gay pride march | © naeimasgary/Pixabay

Like many places in the world, it was a bad time for the LGBT community when the HIV epidemic arrived in the city. Discrimination increased, and the health services denied treatment to these patients. Since then, however, many non-government organizations have emerged to raise consciousness among the LGBT community and the general public through campaigns, to distribute condoms in the streets, and to provide fast HIV tests. One of these is CODISE.

Unas fotos que tomé en la marcha gay en Guadalajara 🌈📸✨ #gaypride2017 #gaygdl #lgbt @guadalajaraprideoficial

A post shared by BICO R O M A N O V (@ramonavictoriaflawers) on

Unfortunately, even nowadays, there have been many hate crimes against gay and transgender people. The fight to get justice for this type of crime still goes on in this city, the second largest in Mexico.

#aurorawonders #dragqueen #gdlgaypride #london #cdmx #mitradrag

A post shared by Mitra Drag Queen (@mitradrag) on

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