The shooting that killed 50 people in Orlando made headlines all around the world, but we must be aware that homophobia-related attacks have been carried out in Mexico as well.
On Saturday May 21, a group of heavily armed people attacked a gay bar in Xalapa, Veracruz; 7 people were killed and 12 wounded. According to the Ministry of Public Security, the motive was related to drug distribution, but the fact is, attackers fired their weapons randomly at customers inside “La Madame” a gay friendly nightclub.
Witnesses claimed there had been a fight inside the bar just one hour before the shooting; however, there is no hard evidence that the incidents were related.
More than 200 people were enjoying the show and having a good time at “La Madame”, when armed men came into and opened fire. Police agents found 37 shells of “AK-47” and AR15 rifles, according to investigation file number 1982/2016, of the Veracruz State Ministry of Public Security.
One of the victims, named Samantha told noventagrados.com, “All I remember is hearing gun shots, people started to fall down, I threw myself on the floor and crawled inside the bathroom, after a few minutes I went out and saw all these people in a pool of blood, it was a nightmare”.
So, the fact is we’re not as far from Orlando as we think. From 1995 to 2014, 1,218 hate crimes against the LGBTI community were registered in Mexico, according to fundacionarcoiris.org.mx.
“If we were more educated, we would be less violent; the problem begins when we disrespect our fellowmen“, said Benjamin Medrano, a politician from Zacatecas, affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who served as a deputy from 2010 to 2013; and, on July 7, 2013, he was elected as mayor of Fresnillo, the largest municipality in the state of Zacatecas. According to reports, he became the first openly-gay mayor in Mexico.
Even now as President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the signing of a reform initiative which includes the recognition of the right to get married without any form of discrimination, these kind of incidents are evidence that homophobia is deeply rooted within our communities.