A photo of a 12-year-old boy standing in the street in front of a massive anti-LGBTQ march in Mexico is going viral.
The photo was taken in Celaya, Guanjuato on Saturday, during protests against same-sex marriage that took place across the country. Journalist Manuel Rodríguez captured the photo, according to Regeneración.
Rodríguez, who talked to the boy afterwards, posted the photo on Facebook and wrote that he thought the child was simply playing at first. But the boy told him, “I have an uncle who is gay, and I don’t like people hating him.”
The boy stood in front of a crowd of about 11,000 protesters, according to Rodríguez. Many viewers have pointed out the similarities between this photo and the iconic one of a Chinese student standing in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The march on Saturday joined several others throughout the country, which saw thousands of people protest President Enrique Peña Nieto’s proposal to change the constitution to legalize same-sex marriage. The protests were planned by National Front for the Family, a coalition of conservative groups. Another similar protest is set to take place in Mexico City on September 24.
Same-sex marriage is already legal in 10 of Mexico’s 31 states, including Mexico City. The Mexican Supreme Court first ruled that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional in 2012, according to BuzzFeed’s J. Lester Feder, but since then, much of the progress has been made by filing legal challenges in different states across the country. Last summer, the Supreme Court urged states to legalize same-sex marriage. However, many states are still not complying with the ruling.
This means that “some people in some states or entities have certain rights and others don’t,” Peña Nieto said in May, explaining his proposal to legalize same-sex marriage.
“The country has never had a strong national LGBT rights organization, and infighting has sometimes made collaboration difficult,” Feder reported. “But there’s been a new level of communication following the president’s announcement, activists say, including a meeting that drew activists from across the country to the city of Cuernavaca late last month that hammered out principles to respond to the growing backlash.”
While the debate around same-sex marriage in Mexico continues, the boy in the iconic photo isn’t alone. Supporters of same-sex marriage also held a counter-demonstration in Mexico City after the protests on Saturday, and demonstrators held signs saying, “I respect your family, respect mine.”