Film Review: No Dress Code Required

An unassuming Mexican couple finds themselves at the epicenter of the gay-rights struggle in Mexico.
Specialty Releases

Once upon a time, there was a pair of beauty professionals in Baja, California namedVictor Espinoza and Fernando Amparo, known for the way they made women feel their loveliest, many of them prominent socialites. Everything was pretty copacetic in their lives, until they decided to marry and become the first gay couple to crusade for their simple rights in a state that revealed itself to them as rife with homophobia and inequality.

Cristin Herrera Bórquez produced, wrote and directed No Dress Code Required, a powerfully moving account of the quietly charming couple’s struggle and their courage, tenacity and deep love. Although Mexico’s highest court had upheld same-sex marriages in 2010, local compliance was another story. Having waited two years, the pair was finally issued a marriage license in Baja’s capital city, Mexicali.

And then the guys ran smack into the opposition of Mexicali’s mayor and Baja’s governor, who cited religious grounds as their reason. More humiliation followed, even public shaming, as they had their birth certificates challenged and were accused of being mentally ill.

The cameraman dogs their steps in various courtrooms and municipal buildings as the determined duo forges ahead, but Borquez wisely also delves into their personal lives and backgrounds. Both victims of childhood bullying, the two always saw themselves as low-key, ordinary people and were not prepared for the intense public scrutiny that arose. You can see the toll it takes on their spirits. “But we’re okay. We’ll continue the fight,” they say, even as they face three cancelled wedding dates, not to mention a City Hall bomb threat. Their unassuming fortitude paid off to the tune of big public demonstrations, which decisively impacted the gay-rights cause in Mexico.

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