Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that has gained popularity in recent years, celebrates the Mexican army’s victory against the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While often mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo celebrates resilience and strength. Just as the Mexican army overcame adversity, the LGBTQ+ community has similarly faced and overcome numerous challenges. By embracing the spirit of this day and incorporating queer culture into the festivities, we can create a unique and inclusive Cinco de Mayo experience.
A Brief History of Cinco de Mayo:
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexico was in financial ruin at that time and had suspended debt payments to several European countries, including France. France saw this as an opportunity to invade and establish a French empire in Mexico, but the Mexican army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, unexpectedly defeated the French in Puebla. Today, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla and by Mexican-American communities in the United States as a symbol of Mexican heritage and pride.
Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a Queer Twist:
- Embrace Queer Mexican Heroes:
Honor the queer history of Mexico and its heroes by highlighting and discussing the achievements of LGBTQ+ Mexicans. Celebrate the lives and works of people like Frida Kahlo, the renowned bisexual artist, and Salvador Novo, a trailblazing gay poet, essayist, and playwright. Share their stories and discuss their impact on Mexican culture and LGBTQ+ rights.
- Queer Cinco de Mayo Fashion:
Express your queer identity through fashion and color by incorporating the colors of the LGBTQ+ pride flag and other queer symbols into your Cinco de Mayo attire. Wear traditional Mexican clothing, such as a huipil or a charro suit, adorned with rainbow colors or LGBTQ+ symbols to show your pride and appreciation for Mexican culture.
- Support LGBTQ+ Mexican Artists and Businesses:
Show your support for queer Mexican artists and businesses by purchasing their art, products, and services for your Cinco de Mayo celebration. This could include decorations, food, drinks, or even entertainment. By doing so, you not only promote the talents of the LGBTQ+ community but also contribute to their financial stability and success.
- Queer-Themed Cinco de Mayo Party:
Host a Cinco de Mayo party celebrating Mexican culture and queer identity. Decorate your party space with LGBTQ+ flags, Mexican art, and traditional Mexican elements, such as papel picado or piñatas. Encourage guests to dress in colorful, queer-themed outfits and serve Mexican dishes with a rainbow twist, like rainbow churros or colorful tacos. Don’t forget to play LGBTQ+ Mexican music and create a safe and inclusive space for everyone to celebrate.
- Learn About and Advocate for LGBTQ+ Rights in Mexico:
Education and advocacy are essential components of any celebration. Take the time to learn about the current state of LGBTQ+ rights in Mexico, such as the progress of marriage equality and the struggles faced by transgender individuals. Share this information with your friends and family, and consider supporting Mexican LGBTQ+ organizations working to advance equal rights.
Cinco de Mayo is an excellent opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture, history, and resilience. By incorporating queer themes into the festivities, we can create an inclusive and vibrant celebration that honors Cinco de Mayo’s spirit and the LGBTQ+ community. Whether through fashion, art, or advocacy, let’s unite to celebrate and uplift the voices and stories of queer Mexicans and LGBTQ+ individuals worldwide. By doing so, we create a space for all of us to embrace our identities and take pride in our cultures. As we enjoy the festivities, let’s remember the resilience and unity that defines Cinco de Mayo and the LGBTQ+ community. Through this intersection of history and identity, we can find strength and inspiration to continue advocating for a more inclusive and diverse world.
Happy Queer Cinco de Mayo!