The internet has sent a picture of LGBTI Mexicans, purportedly arrested for homosexuality in 1935, viral in the past few days.
The photo belongs to the collection of the National Photo Library of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico.
We know very little about the detainees themselves, except these pictures are dated around 1940.
This picture, as well as several others, come from Lecumberri prison in Mexico City.
Up until 1976, gay men were imprisoned in the prison ward J, or Jota.
Joto(s) is still a common homophobic slur in Mexico.
Mexicans arrested for ‘moral violations’ in 1935
Their only ‘crime’ was ‘scandalizing’ and ‘moral violations’. Like many countries still today, LGBTI people were punished for being themselves.
Luis Arturo Salmerón, in his article Pride Behind Bars, covered the photos.
He said: ‘The detainees smile, posed to scandalize the same people who took them prisoner; they look proud before the cameras of the society that represses them.
‘Why do they do it? I want to believe – and the images seem to confirm it – that it is their way of resisting, of challenging the society that oppresses them and encloses them, but, as their faces shout at us from the distance of the years, they can not change them.
‘They are shouting that there they are, that they can lock them up or kill them, but they will not leave, that they will fight so that society can finally be inclusive and that sexual diversity is not persecuted as a crime.
‘We do not know their names, but we can remember their challenging faces as a brief tribute to the thousands of victims of a struggle that in Mexico has made some progress, although it still has a long way to go.’
Many people have said they have been inspired by these group of LGBTI people.
One said on Reddit: ‘Brave men. Machismo still permeates Mexican culture to this day, I can’t imagine what they had to face 80+ years ago.’
Boy, there is a lot of fabulous in this picture. I’m proud of these guys.
And another also said: ‘You wanna know what big dick energy is? It’s being arrested for your sexuality and knowing that you’re in for, at least, several hours of ridicule and abuse but still flaunting yourself because you’re damn proud of who you are.
‘Nothing but respect for these kings.’