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Casa Dulcinea Is An LGBTQ Safe Space In The Heart Of Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez

La Casa Dulcinea is a safe space for the LGBTQ community in the border city of Ciudad Juárez – a city severely lacking in queer-friendly spaces. It serves as a cultural center for the community and offers several important resources for an often overlooked part of the community.

From art exhibitions and discussions on sexuality, to regular HIV testing and resources for migrants and refugees, Casa Dulcinea is a lifeline for the queer community of this border city. Umberto, one of the four founders of Dulcinea, explains that the space aims to “build community” so that people from the LGBTQ community can express themselves freely on a variety of important issues.

Casa Dulcinea was founded to help create a community and give an identity to the city’s LGBTQ residents.

Credit: Casa Dulcinea

Casa Dulcinea is the brainchild of four friends: Job Acevedo, Erneso Sáenz, Tomás Flórez, and Umberto Morales. This group of friends decided that Ciudad Juárez needed an LGBTQ community center that helped connect the community with important resources – such as mental and sexual health resources – but that also fostered a space to have important discussions on topics considered taboo, sometimes even within the LGBTQ community.

The cultural center is located in the heart of Ciudad Juarez, centrally located near several other queer spaces. However, unlike Mexico City or places like Los Angeles or New York, the neighborhood doesn’t quite have a queer identity. This is where Casa Dulcinea comes in, as the space helps foster a sense of identity for the colonia.

Dulcinea is home to a gallery (where several art exhibitions have taken place), a lounge complete with a library stocked with LGBTQ literature and resources, and a cuarto rojo (red room) where several workshops and discussions take place. Umberto Morales, one of Dulcinea’s founders, told Mitú he wanted the cuarto rojo to be a place where people feel safe and secure to discuss sex and sexuality as well as how that plays into their identities.

So where does the name Dulcinea come from? And what’s the meaning behind it?

In an interview, Morales told Mitú that the main reason for the name ‘Dulcinea’ was that he wanted something that sounded queer or joto. It’s also a reference to the center’s location, as it’s located off of Plaza Cervantes. And the location of Casa Dulcinea is also important since the group wants to help rescue the downtown area, which is home to several LGBTQ bars.

“At Dulcinea we have three objectives: the first is to share art: the cultural expressions of LGBTQ people, or art and culture that has to do with sexual diversity. Second, we are interested in building community around our sexual and gender dissent. Finally, we seek to rescue the downtown area where there are several gay bars,” he told Mitú.

What has the community reaction been to Casa Dulcinea?

Credit: Provided by Casa Dulcinea

Morales says that the community’s reaction has largely been positive.

“We have seen so much diversity in our space, from plenty of gay men to lesbians and heterosexual women, and many feminists, we have had an overwhelming amount of support. Which makes sense since people are curious about how we’re blending art, culture, and sexuality,” he said.

The community has also come to rely on the resources the center offers. From rapid HIV testing and information for LGBTQ migrants and refugees, to theatre productions, movie nights, photoshoots, and conversations about access to PREP and HIV medications, Casa Dulcinea is doing everything they can to support the LGBTQ community.

But the center needs your support to keep moving forward!

In order to keep the center’s events accessible to all, most are by donation only. But even if you’re not in Ciudad Juárez you can join in the fun by following Casa Dulcinea across their Instagram and Facebook accounts.

You can also help spread the word about this truly unique LGBTQ safe space in the heart of Ciudad Juárez!

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