Mexico, LGBT, gay, Mexico, National Family Front, Manuel Rodríguez, queerphobia, protest,

The Story Behind the Now Iconic Photo of a 12-Year Opposing an Anti-LGBT Protest

Last Saturday, Mexico’s National Family Front — “a coalition of civil society organizations and various religious groups” — helped organized marches in 19 states against a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. During the protest in Celaya, Guanajuato, photojournalist Manuel Rodríguez took a now iconic picture (above) of a César, a 12-year-old boy blocking the oncoming 11,000 person protest. He posted the image to his personal Facebook page rather that submit it to his publication since he is personally opposed to the protestors’ anti-equality sentiment.

When Rodríguez talked to the boy, the boy said that “his uncle is gay, that he would not want people to hate him, and that this protest was about hate.”

Some Mexican news outlets and social media commenters are claiming that the image is fake — either that Rodríguez paid the boy or altered the photograph, but Rodríguez says that he earns so very little for his work that he couldn’t afford a bribe or digital alteration.

Although same-sex marriage is currently legal in 10 of Mexico’s 31 states, the country’s anti-LGBT advocates have mobilized and become more vocal after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced during the May 2016 International Day Against Homophobia his decision to introduce congressional legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the Mexican constitution.

Right now, Mexico is experiencing a situation similar to what the U.S. faced before June of last year. Ten Mexican states have had successful legal challenges to their region’s anti-marriage laws. But even though the nation’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, they stopped short of requiring states to remove those bans, leaving anti-equality laws in place in the remaining states.

A 2016 national poll of 1,000 people conducted Gabinete de Comunicación Estratégica found 69 percent favored legalizing same-sex marriage, an increase of about 46 percent from when they asked same question in 2000.

Buzzfeed News reported that the president may not be successful in his attempt amid lagging favorability in the polls and his own party saying that they will not consider his legislation in this new congressional session. However, they report that “a senator from the left-wing minority Party of the Democratic Revolution announced Tuesday that he was attempting to revive it by introducing a proposal very similar to the president’s.”

They also say that Mexico’s LGBT marriage equality movement is somewhat disorganized but has started uniting and thinking of how to oppose anti-marriage sentiment amid the president’s proposal.