Marriage And Machismo

Alma Guillermoprieto reflects on Mexico City's embrace of marriage equality:

Does this mean that Mexico, long considered a bastion of machismo, is in fact less sexist than, say, California? Quite possibly, although, as elsewhere in Latin America, matters are more complicated than that. It was not so long ago that gay men were murdered by the dozens in Yucatán, and in the capital itself there have been a number of murders of gay men that could be either the work of a single psychopath or part of a campaign. Homophobic jokes and all forms of physical and psychological harassment are common.

During the years of its absolute hold on power, the Institutional Revolution Party (P.R.I.) was the very embodiment of machismo, ruling through arbitrariness, authoritarianism, and the permanent threat of violence against the weak. Yet it had three chairpersons who were women. All three were single, and rumors about their sexual orientations were common, but none of this posed an obstacle to their stunning rise in politics. Elsewhere in Latin America there have been presidents more or less known to be gay, though none have openly declared this. On the other hand, as I wrote on recently, ultra-macho presidents like Álvaro Uribe and Hugo Chávez enjoy great popularity.