2018: Another year of struggle for the LGBTI community

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Latin America is one of the regions that has made the most progress in recognizing the rights of the LGBTI population. However, there are still countries that do not advance

2018: Another year of struggle for the LGBTI community

With equal marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, more and more Latin American countries are moving forward in the guarantee, protection and recognition of other rights of the LGBTI population, through events such as the identity laws of gender, access to health services, civil rights, among others.

Leer en español: 2018: otro año de lucha para la comunidad LGBTI

However, discrimination and exclusion are still present despite the progress that has been made. Even so, there are still cases of violence and impunity throughout the continent.

"A region that is often described as 'devoutly Catholic' and sexist, has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of sexual rights in a relatively short period," highlights the Infobae news portal. There is mention of some of the most important cases in recognition of the rights of the LGBTI community, such as the enactment of the law on gender identity in Argentina, the constitutional protection of LGBTI citizens against discrimination due to their sexual orientation in Ecuador, Mexico, and Bolivia.

While there are countries like Argentina, Uruguay, and Mexico, which are pioneers in including marital rights for same-sex couples, others have done the opposite. Honduras and the Dominican Republic, for example, have formulated constitutional reforms that prohibit homosexual marriage.

The countries that have advanced

Cuba: The formulation of the new constitution of Cuba has considered several changes collected after being consulted with the citizens. One of the reforms that had originally been proposed was to include an article that endorsed marriage between same-sex couples. However, as a result of the citizen consultation, this article was excluded from the draft text of the new constitution.

According to the legislators, this is, due to opposition to the proposal perceived during the popular debates. "The Commission proposes to defer the concept of marriage, that is, to leave the Constitution Project, as a way to respect all opinions (...) the law will define the rest of the elements," the Cuban parliament reported.

However, elsewhere in the text of the new constitution is no longer explicitly about marriage, but the possibility that all people, without any discrimination, can build a family, regardless of their sexual orientation, as reported by the portal CubaSí.co: "It incorporates a chapter only for the family, where the legal and de facto bonds are recognized, and the right of each citizen to found a family, without distinction of its nature", review.

Chile: LGBTI organizations and collectives have managed to gain visibility and support for their causes and struggles. There is a wider openness than in previous years, although there is still a debt of society that is evident in the way it relates to these people:

"However, we have come a long way. (...) LGBTI movements have been empowering themselves, they are more listened to and they have many more spaces, they are more organized in their work, because they not only mobilize (...) but also generate proposals and are present in different public spaces, Once they have participation in communication channels, making people naturalize to the LGBTI movement (...) there is still a lot to be done", explained Chilean journalist Joaquín Salgado in the program Iberoamérica Sin Fronteras of the station Uniminuto Radio.

Ecuador: along with the constitutional provisions that protect LGBTI citizens from discrimination, other advances have been made regarding the formulation of policies in favor of this population:

"We have a constitution that criminalizes discrimination and obliges the State to respond in certain aspects to cover and guarantee our rights. We have achieved the recognition of trans women within the law of violence against women, the marital union and the gender identity law. Although we do not have access to equal marriage and recognition of the homoparental family, we are working on mechanisms to implement these rights from public policy, "explained Gabriel Arias, representative of the Asiris de Ibarra Association, defender of the rights of the LGBTI community.

Colombia: marriage between same-sex couples has been legal for a couple of years and the adoption of children into homosexual couples was recently extended. 2018 was the year in which, for the first time, same-sex couples in this country could adopt and constitute a family, according to Semana magazine.

Costa Rica: The Government of Carlos Alvarado closes the year with four decrees and two directives that seek to guarantee various rights to the LGBTI population. These decrees recognize the gender identity for the transgender population in the identity documents for foreigners, the migratory status to binational couples, the inclusion of biphobia in the day of 'homolesbotransphobia', as well as the declaration of public interest of the hormonal protocol for people trans, according to what Lavanguardia.com reports

Also read: Brazil: A dangerous country for the LGBTI community?

Countries in retreat

In contrast, while the aforementioned countries make progress in recognizing and guaranteeing the rights of the LGBTI population, the opposite is true in these countries. The problem is related to the risks and dangers that these people have in order to exercise their citizenship, added to the non-recognition of their rights.

Nicaragua: According to LGBTI activist Alexander Reyes Guevara, "the outlook is not good in our country, we have long been one of the population sectors with more limitations when it comes to finding work or entering education, and it is even difficult to face to the harassment of teachers. We must highlight the participation of the LGBTI community in the processes of social transformation that Nicaragua is currently experiencing (...)".

Brazil: there are concerns around the new government of Jair Bolsonaro, who, on several occasions, has expressed his rejection of the LGBTI community, with phrases that show hatred, contempt, and discrimination, as the Clarín newspaper in Argentina points out.

Peru: impunity in cases of violence against LGBTI people is striking in this country, as is the case with Luis Alberto Rojas Marín, a 36-year-old trans woman who calls herself "Azul" and whose case of torture (captured in the street, beaten and raped) continues in impunity.

Paraguay: the newspaper Hoy, points out that several associations of feminists and LGBTI activists in that country accused the Paraguayan Congress of "ideological aggression". This is because, on December 20, a declaration proclaiming "pro-life" and "pro-family" was approved by a broad majority.

In that sense, the LGBTI rights activist and representative of the Somosgay association, Simón Cazal, commented that the approved declaration supposes a "regression of the democratic institutionality" and demonstrates a "lack of rational criteria" and a "simplistic analysis of the Constitution", which opens the door to the non-legalization of equal marriage and access to rights that in other countries have already been conquered.

LatinAmerican Post | Samuel Augusto Gallego Suárez

Translated from "2018:otro año de lucha para la comunidad LGBTI en Latinoamérica"

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