"Don't You Know You're Talking to a Lesbian? –
Nancy Cárdenas and the Power of Queer Feminism in Mexico"

Have you ever heard of Nancy Cárdenas? If not, you’re in for an inspiring tale. Nancy was an absolute trailblazer in Mexico’s fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and her journey is nothing short of legendary. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive into the gossip-worthy life of a true icon.



Born in 1934 in Coahuila, Nancy Cárdenas was destined to make waves. Her big break came in 1960 with her first published work, “The Dry Pitcher.” This piece of writing didn’t just get her noticed; it earned her a scholarship to Yale! Imagine young Nancy, soaking in the early feminist movements that would later shape her life’s mission. Talk about foreshadowing!

Mother Has Arrived!

Nancy wore many hats—public speaker, actress, poet, and theater producer. She had a flair for adapting plays with powerful political messages. Some of her notable works included “The Well of Solitude,” “AIDS,” “Dialogues of Refugees,” and “The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant.” These productions were deeply influenced by the rebellious student movements of her time.

And then there was 1973… Oh, what a year! Nancy made waves as a director with the play “The Boys in the Band” by Mart Crowley. Inspired by the Stonewall riots, this play was a hit in Mexico but stirred up quite a scandal. The authorities tried to censor it, but Nancy said not today!


Making Herstory

Nancy’s activism wasn’t confined to the stage. She was the first intellectual in Mexico to openly fight for LGBTQ+ rights, even when it meant facing state repression. In a bold move in 1973, she discussed her sexual orientation on national TV during an interview on “24 Hours.” The homophobic backlash was fierce, but Nancy stood her ground, famously saying, “Sir, don’t you know you’re talking to a lesbian?”

But her courage didn’t end there. Nancy founded the Homosexual Liberation Front, the first organization in Mexico to openly advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. In 1975, she helped publish the first Homosexual Manifesto, collaborating with notable figures like Elena Poniatowska, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Monsiváis, and Luis González de Alba.

Pride and Passion

One of Nancy’s most iconic moments came in 1978. During the commemoration of the Tlatelolco Massacre, Nancy led one of the first open demonstrations of pride in Mexico. That same year, she read “The Lesbian Declaration in Mexico” at the International Women’s Year conference in Mexico City. Imagine the scene—Nancy, standing tall, voicing the truths of a community that had long been silenced.


Fighting Through the 80s and Beyond

The 1980s were no less intense. Nancy continued her fight with the play “AIDS… That’s Life,” aiming to educate and dignify the homosexual community amidst the HIV/AIDS crisis. Her activism was relentless, and she dedicated her life to the cause.


Sadly, Nancy passed away on March 23, 1994, from breast cancer. But her legacy? It’s alive and well. She’s a fundamental figure in the social struggle for feminism and sexual diversity in Mexico. Her work continues to inspire and push forward the fight for a more inclusive and democratic society.

Join Us in Celebrating Nancy's Legacy

Nancy Cárdenas is a name everyone should know. Her bravery, creativity, and relentless activism have left an indelible mark on Mexico's LGBTQ+ history. Dive deeper into Mexico’s vibrant LGBTQ+ history with us at MxCity for the Girls, Gays, and They’s. Book your walking tour today and explore the hidden gems and untold stories of this amazing city. Let's make herstory together—reserve your spot now!

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