Update of MEX33907.E of 29 February 2000 on the treatment of homosexuals in Mexico [MEX38203.E]

In an article published in November 2000, AP stated that "...[Mexican] human rights activists say that nationally anti-gay violence continues at an alarming rate" (2 Nov. 2000). Country Reports for 2000 states that violence against homosexuals in Mexico continued in 2000 and that police "at times abused homosexuals" (2001). In its 2002 annual report, Human Rights Watch specifies that in 2001 in Mexico: "Gays and lesbians were...targeted for abuse."

However, according to AP, gays in Mexico, "have made huge strides toward acceptance in the past decade..." (6 Nov. 2000). The article mentions some examples of changes that have occured in Mexico in recent years:

...Two gay-rights campaigners taking up seats on the [Mexico] city council in September [2000].
Until recently, gay rights activists say, police often wrote off murders of homosexuals as crimes of passion. Now they have set up a unit specializing in dealing with homophobic crimes, and are to get sensitivity training.
Dozen of homosexual support groups have popped up in the past five years. Gay bars have opened on main avenues.
In June [2000], a gay-pride parade drew 30,000 members, by the organizers' count. Just five years ago, such parades drew fewer than 1 000 people.
During this year's presidential race, contender Vicente Fox's socially conservative National Action Party published a newspaper ad defending itself to the gay community, the first time a major political party has done so (ibid.).

In an interview on 22 January 2002, the Coordinator of the Círculo Cultural Gay, a Mexico City-based organization working on issues such as homophobic violence, violation of basic rights and cultural activism, stated that if on one hand the situation of homosexuals appears to be better in Mexico, on the other hand, they are still victims of assaults. The Coordinator notes that a subtle and profound homophobia remains in some parts of Mexican society (ibid.). He added that the main political parties do not have the will to make the necessary measures in order to really change the situation (ibid.).

In its annual 2002 report, Human Rights Watch gives the following example of the treatment received by a gay activist in the State of Yucatán:

In August [2001], for instance, gay activist Cesar Salazar Gongora was kidnapped in the city of Merida, Yucatan, by three young men who raped him, beat him with a stone, cut his ear with a knife and then abandoned him in a nearby village. Salazar Gongora submitted a complaint to local prosecutors. In the days that followed he received dozens of phone calls threatening him with death for reporting the crime. An investigation was launched, but according to local rights advocates, it made no headway until Salazar Gongora, his lawyer and two gay rights advocates met with the state's attorney general and obtained from him a promise to replace the investigator attached to the case.

Further information on César Salazar Góngora's case can be found on the Website of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Network of Amnesty International whose goal is to, among other things, "inform and promote focus on LGBT human rights violation in AI's strategy and policy, etc." (AI n.d.). The LGCT Network provides also the following information:

Amnesty International has received several reports of homosexuals and other sexual minorities being attacked and even killed [in Mexico]. In many cases the authorities have reportedly failed to take adequate steps to protect those at risk or investigate the attacks effectively so as to bring those responsible to justice.
In the past six months four homosexuals have reportedly been killed in the state of Colima. The state authorities have reportedly failed to respond effectively and have said that they are not responsible for protecting those who may be at risk (AI 19 Sept. 2001).

According to a Boston Globe news report reported on the "SodomyLaws" Website which features news reports on homosexuals in the United States and around the world: "Unlike the United States, where a prohibition against sodomy is still on the books in some states, Mexico's penal code has never outlawed homosexual acts. But police regularly raid on gay bars and pickup joints, invoking an ill-defined statute known as crimes against morality" (SodomyLaws n.d.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Amnesty International, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network. n.d. "General Info - Gay and Bisexual Issues." www.ai-lgbt.org/general_info.htm [Accessed 25 Jan. 2002]

_____. 19 September 2001. "Mexico - César Salazar Góngora." http://www.ai-lgbt.org [Accessed 15 Jan. 2002]

The Associated Press (AP). 6 November 2000. Julie Watson. "As Mexico Starts Learning to Accept Gays, Harassment and Violence Persists." (NEXIS)

Círculo Cultural Gay, Mexico City. 22 January 2002. Telephone interview with Coordinator.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2000. February 2001. United States Department of State. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/wha/810.htm [Accessed 23 Jan. 2002]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 2002. Human Rights Watch World Report 2002. New York: HRW http://hrw.org/wr2k2/americas8.html [Accessed 23 Jan. 2002]

SodomyLaws. n.d. "In Mexico, a Mass Gay Wedding." www.geocities....vacylaws/World/Mexico/Mxnews01.htm [Accessed 8 Jan. 2001]

Associated documents