The men were arrested by armed police for kissing on the beach. (Facebook/ Noti Tulum)
Two gay men were arrested after kissing on a public Mexico beach but were freed after fellow sunbathers charged after the police vehicle and demanded their release.
In a video that has gone viral around the world, two men are seen in handcuffs being dragged into a vehicle by armed police. Quickly, a group of swimsuit-clad beachgoers charges and surrounds the vehicle, refusing to let the police take the men, and begin chanting: “I’m gay! I’m gay too!” According to LGBTQ Nation, police in Mexico later issued a statement saying the gay men had engaged in oral sex on the beach, and were arrested for “immoral acts and sexual erotic demonstrations, on the road or public places”. However, witnesses strongly dispute this version of events. One beach-goer shared their story online: “While I was on the beach with my family, we noticed around 4.30 that two police officers in their ATVs approached a group of young foreigners. “After about 20 minutes passed, we noticed that a patrol arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs. “Observing what happened, I approached them and to my surprise, and that of many who had approached, the ‘reason’ for their arrest was because they were gays and they had kissed. “The policemen were violent, and gave arguments such as: ‘There are families and children and they cannot be seeing this.’ “They were forced into the patrol and they would not let them go, all of us who were gathered were upset at seeing the situation, no matter how much we told them that they were not committing any crime, they did not release them.” The beach-goer said that after “a few minutes” of protest, the men were released.
They added: “They were not committing any crime, we were by their side, at no time did they do anything wrong, simply by kissing like any other couple, they wanted to take them. “I am furious because it is not possible that in the 21st century this type of oppression against the LGBT + community continues. We all deserve the same treatment, and appropriate sanctions must be applied to these officers.” Gay sex was decriminalized in Mexico in 1871, and LGBT+ Pride marches have taken place in Mexico City since the late 1970s. In 2016, the former president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto signed an initiative to amend the country’s constitution and legalize same-sex marriage on a federal level.
However, the country is predominantly Catholic – around 83 percent of the country’s population identifying as such as of 2010 – with religious discrimination remaining common, especially outside of large cities.