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VIDEO: Tijuana to celebrate Pride this weekend

TIJUANA, Baja California, Mexico – The 17th annual Tijuana LGBTI Pride March will step off on Saturday, June 23, at 5 pm.

Presented by Tijuana’s AIDS Assistance Fund, organizers say the event is a public demonstration to demand rights and respect for the LGBT community. First taking place in 1995 as a protest march, the event has grown from a small group of participants to several thousand.

Tijuana activist Alejandro Garcia and a few others organized the first Pride March in the city in 1995, just 4 years after a two popular gay bars, El Ranchero and Los Equipales, were raided by police.

Jesse Anguiano, a PhD candidate in Chicano/Latino studies at Michigan State University, who is researching how media from both sides of the border documented the raids, believes that these events catapulted Tijuana's LGBT community into action, emerging and consolidating into a unified force to fight for equality.

Tijuana's Pride March celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2010, and organizers estimate that nearly 6,000 people participated in the march and lined the streets to watch it pass by, which is a far cry from the handful of people who took to the streets in 1995.

Organizers list 10 objectives of the march on their website including promoting visibility of the LGBT community, building self-esteem, educating the community about homophobia, and to celebrate.

This year’s march will feature Stuart Milk, nephew of the late Harvey Milk, as grand marshal.

The event has received support from organizations and businesses on both sides of the border, including Palm Springs Pride, the Harvey Milk Foundation, the Imperial Court de San Diego, F Street, and Gipsy.

An after-party celebration will be held at Zky Blue, a Tijuana bar located at 735 Avenida Francisco Madero.

If you go

Because of the event's close proximity to the border, organizers encourage those coming to the event from the United States to park on the U.S. side of the border (or take the San Diego Trolley to San Ysidro) and walk across the border.

Once through the border crossing, exit through the southern pedestrian turnstiles and ignore bus and taxi drivers as it is only a short walk. Turn right and cross Avenida Amistad, through the Viva Tijuana open-air mall, and then cross the large Tijuana River pedestrian bridge.

Continue walking directly west about three blocks and cross under the famous St. Louis-style arch on Avenida Revolución. Enter Calle 1ra/Artículo 123, walk along the right side of the mall, and proceed to number 7648.

Visit the U.S. Department of State's travel information website for additional information about visiting Mexico. Do keep in mind that a U.S. passport is required to return to the United States.

Limited information is available online.