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Another reason to hate transitos

23 October 2008

A gay couple, citizens of the United States residing in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo filed a denouncement against the police for being arrested, detained and forced to pay a two thousand peso fine for kissing in public, which the police claimed was “a moral crime”.

(18-October Milenio, Toluca edition)

I’m not surprised I couldn’t find mention in the Quintana Roo papers (at least I couldn’t find anything in the Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Chemutal papers).  I found one article yesterday in the national edition of Universal, and another — verbatim from the Milenio story — in an Argentine gay publication.  Nothing in Jornada as of yesterday.  It’s probably the “ick factor” — not the gay thing: the transit police.  You expect them to be jerks normally, not outright scumbags.

I hadn’t heard of this particular police scam in some time.  Claiming foreign gay couples (especially in this incident, where there was possibly a noticeable age difference, one partner being in his his mid-30s and the other in his early 20s) violated some non-existent “public morals” law, and are detained until they’re willing to pay some non-existent “fine” for the “offense.”  When I wrote my little guidebook for foreign teachers in Mexico City, I warned about this particular scam:

Mature men – especially gay foreigners –have been accused by the police of “consorting with prostitutes” or pedophilia when with a younger companion. Neither homosexuality nor prostitution is a crime. However, the younger male may be blackmailed or beaten in this particular “scam”. The best professional advice is to “resolve the matter on the spot” (i.e., bribe the cop). Pay up, but report the matter to your embassy and to the Human Rights Commissioner of the Distrito Federal.

But I was thinking specifically of Mexico City (and the only foreigner I knew who was victimized by this was a Hungarian visitor in his 60s) and hadn’t heard of this happening in resort communities before.  Milenio reported that the younger of the two men was a “United States citizen though his mother’s nationality” — in other words, despite an “Anglo” name, he had probably grown up in Mexico, and had a Mexican father.  The older guy was Puerto Rican.   In other words, Transit cops (transitos) — who even in the best of times seem to seek out motorists to charge with legitimate minor infractions that can be resolved with a bribe — are trying to hassle not foreigners, but gays.

It’s unusual that the officers insisted on holding the couple, even though they were told — in the police station, apparently by other police officers — that there was no crime to hold the guys on.  Not having cash on them, the two were held for several hours until one of them was able to come up with a credit card and obtain the “fine”.  Although they made it clear they were United States citizens,  and held separately from the other prisoners (sharing their cell, they reported, with a Guatemalan and a Slovak) Samantha Mason, the United States Consul was not informed.  And she is… to the honor of the State Department … pissed off.

Complaints have been filed with the Quintana Roo Human Rights Commission (CDHQR).  Hopefully, the next time these officers make the news, it will be as one of those “ex-policemen” found off in the woods somewhere, head detached from his body, after getting sideways with his new employers.  Good luck in your future career, pendejos.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 24 October 2008 3:01 am

    Good job on finding the news item to post. And your ending was well said, “Good luck in your future career, pendejos.”

    El Santo Gay
    Mexico City, MEXICO

  2. Jose permalink
    13 November 2008 5:32 pm

    Hi, I was one of the arrested parties… good job putting it out there. There is a lot happening, I will try to keep you posted if you e-mail me

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