Latin America: The LGBTI community and their struggle to defend their rights

Despite progress and achievements, Latin America is still far from fully guaranteeing the rights of the LGBTI community

Latin America: The LGBTI community and their struggle to defend their rights

On June 30 and July 1, 2018, activities are planned to celebrate the International LGBTI Pride Day that is celebrated on June 28. As every year, on this date is emphasized again in the struggle that this community, in different countries, leads to being able to live without fear, without prejudice and stigmatization generated by those who with acts of violence and persecution refuse to accept that these people also are subjects with rights.

Leer en español: Latinoamérica: La lucha permanente por reivindicar los derechos de la comunidad LGBTI

In some countries of Latin American and the Caribbean such as Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, among others, progress has been made in recognizing the LGBTI community in relation to issues such as marriage and equal adoption, as well as the granting of civil rights. This, in a legal framework of protection for this population, such as the Gender Identity Law approved in Argentina in 2012 and the differential approach set forth in the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the former FARC guerrilla.

However, violence and discrimination continue to gain ground, leaving unfortunate consequences that are reflected in the numbers of people who are murdered solely because they belong to the LGBTI community.

A report entitled "A nadie le importó" (Nobody cared), made by the Group of Diaries of America (GDA) and published in the newspaper El Tiempo of Colombia, revealed the grim outlook of the LGBTI community in Latin America. For example, the armed conflict in Colombia is one of the events that has most victimized the LGBTI community, while Brazil is one of the countries in the continent with the highest numbers of people belonging to this population who have suffered acts of violence.

These are some of the data revealed by "A nadie le importó":

  • In the last decade, crimes against members of the LGBTI community have increased in 10 countries in Latin America. In Brazil, there were 958 crimes in three years, and in Colombia, 142 people were killed in the middle of the armed conflict.
  • There are many suicides that result from bullying and stigmatization. In the opinion of the authorities, both in Colombia and in Argentina, crimes against LGBTI persons are a reality that is invisible in the society.
  • In Brazil, 39 people with diverse sexual identity committed suicide in three years, 286 were murdered with a firearm and 275 with a knife. 97 were asphyxiated, 28 stoned, 10 carbonized and 3 were poisoned.
  • In Rosario, Argentina, Monica Ortiz was murdered with seven stab wounds. The 53-year-old trans woman was found dead inside her house in June 2016.
  • The Ombudsman's Office for the Defense of Human Rights of El Salvador ensures that the levels of cruelty exercised by the aggressors are disproportionate.

You can also read: Homophobia in Latin America: What’s the cultural cost to pay?

For the rights of the LGBTI community

Many organizations throughout the continent work for guarantees and recognition of the rights of the LGBTI community. Their work is carried out in the midst of the adverse conditions brought about by the States and governments of the region, in order to prevent violence, discrimination, and stigmatization from continuing to lurk.

The Costa Rican journalist, Diego Pérez Damasco, documented the work done by these organizations around the defense of the rights of the LGBTI population in Latin America. The documentation is consigned in the book “Imparables: Radiografía de organizaciones, medios y estado de los derechos de las comunidades LGBTI en América Latina" (Unstoppable: Radiography of organizations, media, and status of the rights of LGBTI communities in Latin America). This presents a monitoring of the status of the rights of this community in 20 countries, as well as stories about media dedicated to the coverage and visibility of sexual diversity issues.

"LGBTI movements in the region have been conquering rights and occupying spaces that were not ours in the early 2000s. It seems that we are everywhere, that we are getting stronger. That has drawn the attention of anti-rights groups, which have quickly organized to try to stop the advance of equality. Although its speech, astutely, does not include an explicitly religious language, they are mainly Catholic and evangelical groups. Although they are presented as "in favor of the family," they are groups that openly oppose the respect and protection of families other than the caricature of dad, mother, children, and dogs," said the Mexican activist and consultant on LGBTI issues, Enrique Torre Molina.

Beyond the adversities and threats, it still faces, the LGBTI community continues to fight incessantly to achieve more conquests, which in the current moment that the world is living is absolutely necessary to guarantee coexistence and the construction of peace, especially in Latin America.

 

Latin American Post | Samuel Augusto Gallego Suárez

Translated from "Latinoamérica: La lucha permanente por reivindicar los derechos de la comunidad LGBTI"

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