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Less PRI-occupied with stereotypes?

19 July 2013

While congratulations are due to Benjamin Medrano Quezada for becoming the first openly gay presidente municipal elected in Mexico, his victory in the Fresnillo, Zacatecas has less to do with his sexuality than with being a relatively fresh face in the PRI.   Fresnillos is the largest municipio in Zacatecas and control of the municipal government in a state that was considered “lost” to the PRD only a few years ago, it is a BFD for the party.  It’s not like there aren’t out gay politicians in Mexico, but up until now, either from the PRD or one of the smaller leftist parties, and this is the first time the PRI has run a out candidate for this high a position, and not tried to cover up his sexual orientation.

Although the candidate sexual orientation played some role in the campaign — to my knowledge, it’s the first time a male candidate had ever been asked by the press whether he liked wearing women’s clothing (Medrano supports the rights of transgenders and transsexuals to work) — he made a point of running as a social moderate.  In his campaign Medrano tended to emphasize his experience in government and background as a businessman… and stressed he was a good Catholic, but not “too Catholic”:

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.

Well, Fresnillos was kinda gay anyway.  Monument to miners

Not the new Presidente … but Fresnillo is home to this  kinda gay Monument to Miners.

Medrano had been affiliated with the Workers’ Party (PT) — almost an after-thought in most Mexican political arenas, but a power in Zacatecas (especially in Fresnillos) where they controlled the municipal government in a coalition with formerly state-dominant PRD.  However, when former PRD governor Ricardo Monreal broke with PRD and brought his machine into the PT, the left’s circular firing squad created an opening for the PRI … which recruited moderate PTistas, like Medrano as candidates.

The presidente elect’s personal story resonates with voters — one of eleven children in a poor family, who after his quasi-obligatory stint working in the United States came home to start a successful singing and business career — as does his experience in appointive positions within municipal and state elections.

All that helped.  So too, his victory owes something to not only to his lack of ties to any of the warring factions within the left, but also to a similar disconnect to the gangs   fighting for control of  criminal activity in Fresnillos.  Not that gays are less gangsterish than anyone else and not there aren’t gay gangsters, but as a group, they tend to be as savagely reactionary in their social policy as they are in savagely capitalist.   The local gangsters wouldn’t be caught dead in a gay bar (such as Medrano owns), or admit to knowing the guy.

Washington Post, Mexico’s 1st gay mayor elected in rough northern state known for machismo, drug violence

El Universal, Primer edil gay del país gobernará en Fresnillo

Fresnillo merece MÁS,  Quién es Benjamín Medrano (campaign video)

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