The capital of Mexico and South America’s second-largest city, Mexico City is a vibrant and action-packed hub of culture, history and art. The city has been influenced by a range of cultures over the year, from the ancient Aztecs to the colonial Spanish rule.
A true melting pot of cultures, the city is one of South America’s most multicultural, and evidence of this can be seen everywhere. Mexico City is also the country’s epicentre of industry, finance and fashion and is a global capital of tourism.
Recent improvements in LGBT+ rights and a slowly increasing gay scene have made Mexico City a popular destination for gay travelers in recent years and there is now a subtle but lively gay scene. Whilst steps are being made in the right direction, the gay community here tends to be discreet, but no less passionate.
Discover Zona Rosa
Translated into English, Zona Rosa means pink zone- a fitting name for Mexico City’s primary gay district. Zona Rosa is a bastion of multiculturalism, expression and liberation in the city. Known for its established Korean community and large LGBT+ population, the area is a major tourist destination.
The epicentre of LGBT+ culture in Zona Rosa is Calle Amberes, the main street that runs through its centre. Amberes is home to a densely concentrated selection of gay clubs, bars and restaurants, and the patrons of these venues can often be seen spilling out onto the pavement on busy nights. Zona Rosa has an atmosphere of liveliness and vibrancy, with something happening on every corner.
The area has faced numerous attempts by the police and government to reduce its identity as an LGBT+ district but most have failed as Zona Rosa’s population rely on the LGBT+ tourism, regardless of their attitudes.
Mexico City is still a conservative country, so gay nightlife is usually less in-your-face than in other countries. The majority of LGBT+ nightlife venues in the city are located in Zona Rosa, an area of Mexico City known for its high LGBT+ populations and subtle but thriving gay nightlife. The venues in the area cater to a wide and varied range of tastes and interests.
Boy Bar is located in the heart of Zona Rosa and spans three floors. Each level of the club has its own distinct atmosphere and vibe, giving you plenty to choose from. The highlight of the club, however, is the live dances and shows which range from hilarious drag performances to male strippers and go-go dancers. Boy Bar is male-only and the door staff enforce this policy, entrance is also closely monitored, so there’s no popping in and out.
A staple of the local gay scene and popular amongst the city’s younger, trendy population. Drrama by 42 is a lively and energetic bar that has recently undergone a dramatic reconstruction. The bar now offers a cool and up-market nightlife experience with a rugged and industrial atmosphere. There is no cover charge here and every night you can catch live music, drag shows and cabaret performances.
For fans of leather and the kinkier side of gay nightlife, look no further than Tom’s Leather Bar. The bar is an established and much-loved venue that is popular for its dark and gothic interiors, extensive darkroom and TVs streaming adult films. Tom’s has garnered a cult following over the years and is popular with a range of gay locals and tourists. The bar can get extremely busy and there are regular drink deals on offer.
With its stunning skyline views, contemporary rooms and great location, the W Mexico City is the perfect hotel for travelers seeking a trendy and chic stay, close to the city’s most high-end restaurants, shops and bars. This 5-star hotel features a swimming pool, rooftop terrace, gym and even an authentic Turkish steam bath. Guests at the W are conveniently located just minutes from the nearby Guilt gay dance club and the Sodome sauna.
Gay travelers seeking an elegant stay close to the city’s best gay nightlife should consider the Hotel Geneve Mexico City. The Hotel Geneve is one of the city’s most popular hotels amongst gay travelers. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s extensive facilities which include a fine dining restaurant, a fully-equipped 24-hour gym and sophisticated spa services. The rooms are decorated with an opulent and traditional style.
Surrounded on all sides by gay nightlife and culture, the Hotel Royal Reforma is the epitome of affordable luxury. Offering contemporary and stylish rooms, the hotel is one of the city’s most popular venues with gay tourists. With a rooftop pool and bar, gym and restaurant, you will be well looked after at the Hotel Royal Reforma.
Mexico City Pride is an annual event that seeks to celebrate the presence of LGBT+ people in the city and gives a voice to those who are often persecuted and discriminated against. Whilst the festival is a chance to let loose and have fun, it is also a space to demand change and greater rights for the country’s LGBT+ citizens.
The celebrations mainly take place in Zona Rosa and feature a street festival, numerous parties at gay venues and a large parade. Taking place in June each year, the pride celebrations are the second largest in South America, with over 250,000 attendees.
The event first began in the 1970s with a group of just 300 and today most business’ in Zona Rosa will be decorated with rainbow balloons and banners regardless of whether they specifically target LGBT+ customers or not.
Gay rights in Mexico City
Homosexuality was decriminalised in Mexico after the implementation of the French penal code in 1871 and has remained legal ever since. Despite this, many LGBT+ citizens in the country have faced persecution and harassment under Mexico’s immorality and indecency laws.
The country has seen dramatic improvements in the rights and equality of LGBT+ people, with same-sex marriage being legalised in 2015 and joint adoption in 2016. This legislation marked a step in the right direction however same-sex couples must go through a lengthier and more testing application process in order to receive a marriage licence.
Discrimination protections have existed since 2003, with gender identity and sexual orientation explicitly mentioned in the country’s legal code.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Mexico City