Mexico’s First Openly Gay Mayor Sworn into Office
September 16, 2013 by Limor Finkel, Global Engagement Program Coordinator
Benjamin Medrano made history as the first openly gay mayor in Mexico when he was sworn in over the weekend. The town of Fresnillo, the second largest city in Zacatecas state, elected Medrano back in July on a platform of reducing gang related violence in a city where drug cartels have been engaged in a bloody turf war in recent years. While there have been openly gay city officials and city council members in Mexico, Medrano is the first mayor to be out and open about his sexual orientation.
Medrano faced a smear campaign during the election cycle by his opponents targeting his sexuality, “as if being gay were a crime.” Zacatecas is a largely conservative state where anti-LGBT sentiments run deep in the populous. But Medrano is less worried about homophobia and is more concerned with reducing the drug-related violence, and the police corruption that has accompanied it, that has been rampant in Fresnillo. In an interview with BBC Mundo, he stated that his “agenda is based on achieving human and social development for all of us who live in Fresnillo, regardless of sexual orientation.”
Same-sex marriages are recognized throughout Mexico, though are only legally performed in Mexico City and the state of Quintana Roo. There is also a national law in place that bans discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation, though not gender identity.
While Medrano did not run on an agenda of pro-LGBT legislation, he stated that for the majority of people in Fresnillo, “what matters the least for the people is who you may sleep with, what you do in your private life. What they want is good results from their politicians.”