Mexico Elects Its First Openly Gay Mayor
A Mexico town, known for its cowboy boots, "machisto," and drug cartel wars has elected its first openly gay mayor!
47-year-old- Benjamin Medrano's victory comes in the city of Fresnillo, located in the rural state of Zacatecas.
As described by the Associated Press:
Zacatecas is a largely rural state with a reputation for cowboy hats and macho swagger, one of last places in Mexico that seemed likely to elect a gay mayor.
"Somewhat? Very machisto, I would say," Medrano says of his region. "I am going to be mayor of a township (roughly equivalent to a U.S. county) where there are 258 villages full of tough country people, who don't necessarily have much information on what's happening elsewhere, and have even less of an automatic sympathy with their gay mayor."
"But," he notes," It's not like I'm going to paint city hall pink, either."
Though drug wars have raged in Fresnillo for years, Medrano says, "I'm not at risk, because I don't have any relationship with any of the groups."
AP explains what may have contributed to Medrano's victory, writing:
Several factors help explain his victory in this machista region.
First is that Medrano is a singer, and the owner of a gay bar for 18 years. Singing is one of the areas where Mexico has readily accepted gays.
"Given that I'm a singer, people know that aspect of me," Medrano said.
The other factor is the way Medrano handles the political aspects of gay issues.
He has attended gay rights marches, but he doesn't campaign on gay rights, and in fact doesn't agree with many of the movement's main demands.
A Roman Catholic, he says "I wish the church had a different view, but I cannot go against doctrine ... I respect my church, and I don't want to dig any deeper beyond what's permitted and what is appropriate."
"I'm not in favor of gay marriage, I don't share that view, because we are still very small town ... in short, we're not prepared, in my view," he said. "Not yet, anyway, because we have strong roots in our religion, and in our customs."
But he criticizes gay politicians who refuse to come out, saying he's "very proud to be the first openly gay mayor in this country."
Congrats on your victory, Mr. Medrano. We're still worried about the raging drug cartel battles that are apparently leaving decapitated bodies in the streets (thanks, AP...), but hey, you're not afraid so why should be??
In any case, this is definitely progress!