Watch: Mexican Police Arrest Gay Couple for Kiss: 'Children are Present'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday February 27, 2021
Originally published on February 26, 2021

Police arrested a same-sex couple for sharing a kiss on a public beach, declaring that the reason the men were being handcuffed was that the display of affection took place where "children are present."

The scene might have been right out of the Russian province of Chechnya, where, reports say, gay men are routinely rounded up, imprisoned, tortured, and even executed. But it wasn't. The arrest took place in the tourist destination of Tulum, Mexico.

The men were a foreign couple, The Yucatan Times reported, though no further identifying details were available. News accounts said that police handcuffed the men together and had them get into the back of an ATV. The men told others on the beach what was happening, and shared the reason the police gave them: That children were present on the beach as the men kissed.

"According to local media reports, police said they were reacting to a report by someone else on the beach who had claimed that the men were 'committing immoral acts,' " Mexican News Daily recounted.

The other beachgoers intervened, news reports said, as did a "local politician" named Maritza Escalante Morales, who posted a denunciation on TikTok. "I want to express my anger because the police here in Quintana Roo are homophobic," Morales posted.


LA POLICÍA EN QUINTANA ROO ES HOMOFÓBICA #xyzbca #fyp #lgbt?????????? #?????????? #quintanaroo ? sonido original - Maritza Escalante

As the crowd became angry and began shouting, the police thought better of taking the couple into custody and let them go. "The presence of Escalante herself might also have been a factor," reported Mexican News Daily.

News outlets did not confirm the legal theory offered by the officers that men kissing on a public beach with children present would be subject to arrest under the law. But Outright International explains that LGBTQ rights and acceptance varies widely across the country:

"In large cities and states with progressive government officials, LGBTIQ people's human rights are protected and there are legal ramifications for acts of anti-LGBTIQ violence. However, in states with conservative government officials, anti-LGBTIQ hate crimes occur with impunity."

Video of the arrest was posted to social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Watch a clip of the crowd protesting the homophobic arrest below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.