There are certain photos taken throughout history that captures moments that will forever be engrained into our memories. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the iconic “Napalm Girl” and “Tank Man” photos. While these two famous photos bring attention to the atrocities and controversies of war, this photo of a 12-year-old boy that I’m about to share with you not only puts the spotlight on the LGBTI community’s fight for equality, but it will also inspire and empower you to make a stand too.
Over the weekend, thousands of members of Mexico’s “pro-family” hate group, Frente Nacional por la Familia took to the streets across the nation protesting a proposed same-sex marriage bill. Officials have estimated that around 11,000 people took to the street of Celaya protesting the proposal made by President Enrique Pena Nieto to introduce same-sex marriage into the largely conservative country. However, on this particular day they faced opposition from an unlikely source, a 12-year-old boy who bravely stood in the middle of the street blocking their path.
As the crowd marched through the city, the 12-year-old boy walked out into the middle of the street to face the upcoming crowd of protestors, standing his ground with outstretched arms he begged them to stop. Photographer and journalist Manuel Rodriguez who snapped the iconic photo, first thought the boy was simply playing.
It was only later when the photographer approached the boy who chose to remain anonymous, that he discovered his true reason for taking on the protestors. “I have an uncle who is gay” the child told Rodriquez, “And I hate that people hate.”
Since the photo of the anonymous 12-year-old began doing the rounds on the Internet, many have compared the boy to the infamous Tank Man. The unknown protestor who stood directly in the path of numerous tanks the morning after the Chinese military suppressed activists in Tiananmen Square back in 1989.
Currently same-sex marriage is only legal in Mexico City and 9 of the nation’s 31 states. While Frente Nacional por la Familia seems to garner a great deal of support throughout the conservative country, the photo continues to make headlines, with the boy’s action inspiring the masses.
Too often so-called “pro-family” groups justify their hatred by using children as an excuse to attack LGBTI families. This boy’s action in defence of his gay uncle not only shows that these groups really don’t value the love found in families beyond their understanding, but we too can also have the fearlessness within to take a stand and make a difference.