Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gay slur heard at Mexico soccer games rings out in congress

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — An anti-gay slur that Mexican soccer officials are trying to eradicate at national team games has now made an appearance on the floor of the country's Congress.

Videos posted online Friday showed lawmakers, both men and women, chanting the slur at least twice as Mario Ariel Juarez of the leftist Morena party was speaking at the dais.

Various Mexican media outlets reported that the chants came from lawmakers of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

Juarez was denouncing alleged PRI corruption in the State of Mexico. Afterward he blew kisses to those jeering him.

PRI lawmaker Jorge Carlos Ramirez Marin, who was presiding over the session, reminded those present that the chamber's code of ethics calls for respect, decorum and avoiding vulgar expressions.

Soccer fans in Mexico typically use the chant, which translates as "male prostitute," to insult opposing goalkeepers as they kick off. Widely considered a slur, it also has defenders who argue there's no discriminatory intent.

"I understand why the crowd chants and I don't think the interpretation made internationally is right. ... This doesn't mean what people think it means," national soccer team coach Juan Carlos Osorio, a Colombian, said this summer through a translator.

First popularized in Mexican stadiums, the chant was heard on the global stage at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and has since spread to fans of some other countries in the Americas.

Mexico was fined at least eight times for the chants during the recent World Cup qualifying campaign, and other Latin American nations have also been sanctioned. In June, soccer's world governing body, FIFA, warned Mexico about fan conduct at the Confederations Cup.

The Mexican Soccer Federation has enlisted players in a publicity campaign to discourage the chants, but to little or no discernible effect.

In a Thursday column published by the cultural website Remezcla, Mexican-American journalist Gustavo Arellano wrote that the stadium chants "will never go away."

"It's Mexico's Confederate flag — a nasty part of our supposed heritage that no outsider can ever tell us is wrong, and that we grip onto even tighter when they tell us it is," Arellano said.

The chant was also heard during kickoffs at an NFL game played in Mexico City's Azteca Stadium last November between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders.

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