Culture

We’ve All Done A Bit Of PDA But Couples In Mexico City Take PDA To A Whole Other Level

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Mexico City is dotted with beautiful parks, squares, and plazas, and more often than not, these green respites from the concrete jungle, are filled with couples getting it on.

Whether they’re sharing an innocent peck on the cheek, full-on making out, or often times, even more, Mexico City has long been called the PDA Capital of the World.

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South of the border, the combined forces of crowded housing, conservative fathers, and high school politics have produced extreme PDA.

So basically, if public displays of affection make you uncomfortable, don’t come to Mexico City. Unlike the United States, there’s no room for pearl clutching here. From Mexico City’s Condesa and Roma neighborhoods to colonial Coyoacan and bougie Polanco, making out in public is a virtual rite of passage for high schoolers and young adults.

But why is it that so many intimate moments play out in the open across the avenues and parks of this megalopolis?

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In a teeming metropolis of 21 million people, where rents are high and family is central, it’s common for children to live well into adulthood with their parents and other relatives. So for a romantic moment away from nosy and sometimes culturally conservative relatives, many couples leave the house – and find a little privacy in public.

“There isn’t any space in my house. There’s much more room in the park.”

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In Mexico City’s Parque Mexico, I speak with a number of young Mexicans about why making out on park benches is so popular. I might as well ask them why they are wearing clothes. “Everyone does it. It’s not a bad thing,” one 14-year-old boy says, though he insists he doesn’t participate. “Being seen in public isn’t a concern.”

Alexis Mendoza, 22, puts on a mischievous grin when I ask him about his experience with public fajar – a term commonly used in Mexico for making out, but is literally translated as “to swaddle.” His explanation is one I hear over and over again: “There isn’t any space in my house. There’s much more room in the park.”

Housing statistics back up Mendoza’s point. According to national census data, there are two people for every one-bedroom in an average Mexican household. It’s even more cramped in Mexico City, where there are an average of 2.8 people for every bedroom. In other words, not much privacy. With little personal space for young lovers in a typical Mexican home, parks have become an escape from cramped and inhospitable living quarters.

But is it just the size of Mexican households that’s forcing young couples into the open?

For Jorge, 35, and Eduardo, 26, who recently started dating, downtown Mexico City offers an escape from prying, more traditionalist family members.

On a recent warm afternoon, they sat, lips locked, near a fountain in the Alameda Central, one of the city’s oldest and most beautiful parks. On practically every bench around them, other couples did the same.

The lovefest here is remarkably equal opportunity. Gay, straight, old, young. On weekends, graying couples gather in plazas to sway together to live music. At skate parks, teenagers with face piercings hold one another close.

In the Alameda Central on the recent sunny afternoon, two young men dressed in skinny jeans embraced, before one picked the other up off the ground and into his arms.

Some pointed out that they couldn’t bring anybody back to their home because of one person…

I ask two sisters, Alma and Herminia Martinez, both in their mid-20s, if it would be acceptable for them to bring a boyfriend home. The horror that ripples through their faces suggests this is unquestionably prohibited. “Why not?” I ask. Alma is blunt: “Los papás. They set the rules of the house, and they’re old-fashioned, especially with daughters,” she says. “No bringing boys home.”

It’s still a machismo society, after all. And even if an individual family might not object, the power of gossip when a neighbor sees a young man accompanying a young woman home is not to be underestimated.

Another factor interviewees point to is the simple fact that it doesn’t cost anything to hook up in public. Going to the movies costs money. Cafés cost money. Dinner costs money. Few young people have cars. A park bench, on the other hand, is free.

PDA is so common across Mexico that some cities have started passing laws to regulate it.

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In 2009, the city of Guanajuato passed a law that outlawed some forms of PDA. The law was rejected by so many people that just a few days later the government suspended the new regulations.

The city of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, took a different approach. The city decriminalized all forms of PDA, even public sex, in a bid to protect couples from extortion from local police. Now, police can only cite people if someone makes a complaint.

All this PDA is part of a concept that many people cite as a common Mexican characteristic: doblevida.

a double life. There’s one life you have with your family, and another you have with your friends. Sparkling clean sons at home are rarely as upstanding in the park.

Still, each person I speak with tells me that society is changing. “Everything is more open now. It’s changed muchisimo in the last generation,” Ríos Contreras says. “It’s definitely more acceptable nowadays to bring someone home than before,” though many parents will still employ anti-make-out tactics, like a rule of chiflando y aplaudiendo – mandatory continuous whistling and clapping – when a young couple is in a bedroom.

I ask why things are changing. “The world is opening up,” she says. “The Internet gives kids access to answers to questions they had but didn’t want to ask their parents.”

Judge In Mexico Grants Couple’s Request For Recreational Use Of Cocaine

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Judge In Mexico Grants Couple’s Request For Recreational Use Of Cocaine

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In a historic step toward ending the country’s deadly “war on drugs”, a judge in Mexico has approved the request of two people to legally possess, transport and use cocaine. Víctor Octavio Luna Escobedo, an administrative court judge in Mexico City, made the historic decisions saying “the consumption of cocaine doesn’t put one’s health in great risk, except in the case that it’s used chronically and excessively.”

Mexico United Against Crime (MUCD), a nongovernmental organization filed injunction requests on behalf of the two individuals. It pursued the case with goals to trying to change Mexico’s drug policy. At the core of the organization’s argument is that criminalizing consumers causes even more violence. If the ruling is ratified by a higher court, it would be the first time any cocaine use has been legal in Mexico.

According to Mexico Daily News, the Mexico City judge set a string of stipulations for the unidentified couple in order for them to use the cocaine. This includes regulating the amount they intake to 500 milligrams per day and not working, driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of the substance. This also includes not being able to consume cocaine in public, in the presence of children, or even encourage others to consume it.

So is cocaine really legal in Mexico? Here’s what you need to know. 

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The order by the judge to the country’s health authority has many wondering if one day Mexico could, at some point, legalize cocaine use, but only on a case-by-case basis. As of now, the judge’s ruling must be reviewed by a higher court panel of judges for the case to move forward. 

“We have been working for a safer, more just and peaceful Mexico for years, and with this case we insist on the need to stop criminalizing users of drugs other than marijuana and design better public policies that explore all available options, including the regulation,” Lisa Sanchez, director of MUAC, said in a statement.

The judge wrote in his ruling that the use of cocaine has certain benefits if consumed responsibly. “Ingestion can have various results, including alleviating tension, intensification of perceptions and the desire for new personal and spiritual experiences,” the judge said.

While two people have been allowed to take the drug, there is a bevy of injunctions and court orders that have followed. Which means the judge’s decisions could still be overturned.

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 Cofepris, Mexico’s national health regulator, is being ordered to authorize the two people to legally possess, transport and use cocaine. But Cofepris says that such authorization is outside its power and has now blocked the court order as a result. The rulings are set to be reviewed by three collegiate court judges that will then set forth the legal standing of judges ruling.

The next step in the decision will be an appeal to the circuit court. This essentially means that the case could land all the way up to Mexico’s Supreme Court. Even if the decision is then upheld, cocaine wouldn’t suddenly become legal in Mexico. While in the U.S., a Supreme Court ruling makes it the law of the land, In Mexico the Supreme Court must hand down similar rulings in at least four other cases.

“This case is about insisting on the need to stop criminalizing users of drugs… and design better public policies that explore all the available options, including regulation,” Sanchez said.

The ruling could be a landmark moment and opportunity for debate in Mexico, where a 15 year-long drug war has taken the lives of many. 

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Mexico has become a central battleground and transit point for cocaine being transported to the United States. Trafficking gangs have also grown immensely since 2006 when then-President Felipe Calderón sent in the country’s army to fight drug traffickers. More than 20,000 people have been killed and 40,000 disappeared since then. This year has already been a stark reminder of the deadly drug war as Mexico is on pace to have the most murders on record.

“This case represents another step in the fight to construct alternative drug policies that allow [Mexico] to redirect its security efforts and better address public health,” Sanchez said. “We have spent years working for a more secure, just and peaceful Mexico.” 

READ: This Shipment Of Jalapeños Turned Out To Be One Of The Year’s Biggest Marijuana Bust

This Team Of Synchronized Swimmers With Down Syndrome Were Denied Access To A Pool For Fear Of Contaminating Other Swimmers

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This Team Of Synchronized Swimmers With Down Syndrome Were Denied Access To A Pool For Fear Of Contaminating Other Swimmers

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Sirenas Especiales (Special Mermaids) is giving girls with Down Syndrome in Mexico a chance to show off their athletic abilities in synchronized swimming. The team and program were organized by Paloma Torres, a former synchronized swimmer from Peru, after she studied educational psychology. Her thesis was on the cognitive benefits of synchronized swimming. With that and a little patience, Sirenas Especiales was born.

Sirenas Especiales is tearing down the stigma and misinformation about people with Down Syndrome.

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Coach Paloma Torres knew that people with Down Syndrome are often very creative and flexible. Those two characteristics are perfect for synchronized swimming so she knew that it would be a great idea to get a group of girls together.

However, Torres and Sirenas Especiales immediately faced pushback from local pools in Mexico City because of the girls’ Down Syndrome.

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“I had to find a swimming pool where we could organize regular practices. At first, I couldn’t find anywhere. One pool even refused entry to my swimmers, saying that they might contaminate other swimmers! It was really disheartening at first — both for me and for the girls’ parents,” Torres told France24. “Finally, I found the Alberca Olímpica Francisco Márquez pool, which is located in southern Mexico City. I’ve been training the group there since 2011.”

The team overcame the initial mistreatment from local pools and have been competing in national and international competitions.

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Their Instagram is filled with photos of the team holding medal from the various competitions they have participated in. They’ve competed all over Mexico and were recently at the PanAm games to cheer on Mexico’s national synchronizing team.

The team continues to grow with more girls and boys wanting to participate in synchronized swimming.

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Torres currently trains about 20 swimmers between 14 and 30. There are three boys who are part of the team and 17 girls, according to France24. It seems clear that the swimmers enjoy their chance to show off their own athletic abilities.

The sport is doing more than just giving them something to do.

Este día tan especial Sirenas Especiales darán entrevista en Capital 21 Canal 21 en TV abierta, no se lo pierdan a las 10:35am en VIVO!!!!! FELIZ DÍA MUNDIAL DEL SINDROME DE DOWN Edith Perez Rocio Hernández Martínez Paloma Torres Montserrat Vega Triny Turcio Blanca Olivia Fontes Machado Araceli Vazquez Loredo Beatriz Mendoza Castañón China Li Lourdes Castellanos Daniel Perez Martinez

Posted by Sirenas Especiales on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This sport helps participants improve their concentration and memory,” Torres told France24. “However, most importantly, this activity helps them integrate socially. They participate regularly in competitions both nationally and internationally, which sometimes include swimmers without disabilities. Our team has won about 50 medals. They become more social and their work is applauded. It’s also important for their families because some of them don’t think that these girls will make something of their lives.”

One thing Sirenas Especiales is doing to changing the narrative around disabilities one synchronized swim at a time.

Credit: Sirenas Especiales / Facebook

The swimmers are showing everyone that you can do anything you set your mind to. There is nothing that can keep them from participating in the sport that they love and enjoy.

Congratulations, swimmers.

We can’t wait to see what you do next.

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