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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:31 pm 
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Mexico City metro's 'penis seat' sparks debate
By Vicky Baker
31 March 2017

When a new style of seat suddenly appeared on Mexico City's metro system, it was labelled as inappropriate, uncomfortable, humiliating and embarrassing.

It was supposed to be. The seat, moulded to include a protruding penis and chest, was designed to highlight sexual harassment experienced by female passengers. The explanation next to the men-only label read: "It is uncomfortable to sit here, but that is nothing compared to the sexual violence that women suffer on their daily journeys."

The seat is not a permanent fixture, but part of a campaign launched by UN Women and the Mexico City authorities called #NoEsDeHombres, which aimed to highlight sexual harassment on public transport.

But the response has been mixed. Underneath a video of the stunt, which has been seen more than 700,000 times in the past 10 days, some viewers praised the idea, while others called it "sexist" and unfair to men.

Gendes is a Mexican civil society organisation that focuses on working with men to promote equality and combat sexual harassment, which remains a major problem in the country. Rene Lopez Perez, who heads their research programme, praised the campaign for taking an important issue and making it a talking point. But he also stressed the importance of not seeing all men as attackers. "It's important not to stigmatise all men as violent and potential attackers of women," he said.

Holly Kearl, who founded the US-based website Stop Street Harassment, said there was something to be said for turning the focus away from women for once. When she attended the UN Women Safe Cities Global Leaders' Forum in Mexico City last month, she noted the onus of change was often put on women. "Too often initiatives around women's safety focus on what women should or should not do, so it is refreshing to see a creative campaign aimed at men," she said.

The Mexican capital's public transit system has long had a bad reputation for women's safety. In 2014, UK polling company YouGov conducted a survey about harassment on public transportation worldwide. For verbal and physical harassment, Mexico City's metro was voted the worst.

Over the years, the city has tried various strategies to make women feel safer. Trains have separate carriages for women. Women-only buses were also launched. An art collective, known as Las Hijas De Violencia (The Daughters of Violence), saw women responding to street harassment by blasting back at attackers with punk music and a confetti cannon.

Last year, the city's mayor caused controversy by announcing another new strategy: women were to be offered a small, city-branded whistle that they could toot when they felt threatened. The plan was largely derided for not getting to the root of the problem. "If screaming doesn't help, how will this?" wrote Mexico-based journalist Andrea Noel on Twitter.

Another Twitter user parodied the idea by suggesting the mayor's office also created a set of maracas to shake when you come across a case of corruption.

Ninde, who does not want to be known by her full name, says she has no trust in the female-only carriages after she was assaulted in one last year when a man ejaculated over her. She tries not to use the metro now, and will only do so if accompanied. She would like to see more done to improve the service for women, but she does not think the "penis seats" help. "It seems to ridicule sexual harassment. A real sexual assault is nothing like this," she says. "I feel a little outraged that there are no real actions to eradicate the problem."

Source: BBC

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:43 am 
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More than 1,000 march for gay rights in Mexico City
24 June 2017

Mexico City (dpa) - More than 1,000 people marched through central Mexico City Saturday to demand respect and inclusion and an end to homophobia at the Mexican capital's 39th lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, transvestite and intersexual pride march.

The parade of floats, music and colourful costumed participants left the city's Angel of Independence monument, where dozens of LGBTTTI groups had gathered for the event that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of spectators in Mexico City and at similar events across the country. The parade proceeded to the central Zocalo square for an artistic event.

The march has been held on the last Saturday in June since 1979 to "demand the end of stigma, prejudice, discrimination against these populations, seeking equal rights with the rest of the population," the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) said.

The commission called on all Mexican states to legalize gay marriage, as well as laws that support, protect and provide conditions of equality to the LGBTTTI community.

The march is supported by several companies, banks and the government of Mexico City, where gay marriage has been legal since 2010. In total, only nine of Mexico's 32 states recognize same-sex marriage.

Source: dpa

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