February 5, 2023

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Pride March in Caracas: “No More” to Homosexuality in Venezuela

Image of the LGBT+ Pride March in Caracas last Sunday (Photo: @yendrive)

Last Sunday morning, an unprecedented event occurred in the capital of Venezuela, plunged into a complex humanitarian emergency since 2018. The city of Caracas was the scene of a gathering of over 20,000 people from the LGBT+ community. Chanting “No more, no less, the same rights,” they marched to commemorate Pride Day.

After more than two years of health quarantine due to COVID-19, diverse communities once again expressed their presence, protest and demands in the streets of Caracas to achieve basic rights that are still not achieved in Venezuela. Unlike other Hispanic countries such as Spain, Colombia, Argentina or Chile, they are recognized by governments of either the left or the right.

The state of Venezuela is one of the most backward countries in the region in terms of inclusive laws and essential rights from the first to the fourth generation. The avoidance of public policies by the Venezuelan government, as well as the refusal by the National Assembly to legislate on LGBT+ matters to demand and promote effective affirmative action for the collective good, is one of the biggest reasons for the population’s discomfort. Everyday multiple sexes take risks to be who they are or to love the ones they love.

Taking into account this depressing environment, discontent was expressed very strongly in the Francisco de Miranda Park last Sunday, with a pluralist march compared to the recent mobilizations of various political groups in Venezuela. Country. As of 2020, the lack of political representation and little legitimacy of the executive government in Venezuela has reduced large-scale rallies and marches for political purposes. Venezuelans are caught up in meeting their basic needs and the lack of public services that provide services outside the LGBT+ community. Because of that, Activism focuses on the local, affecting levels of government closest to citizens.

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Pride as a democratic exercise

A variety of national-level activism uses inherent imagination to transform public spaces, create new ways to be LGBT+, and express themselves socially and politically through innovative means. One of the reasons for the rapid growth of these types of calls is the articulation of efforts between the nearly 50 organizations that protect human rights in the country.

Similarly, the innovation of activism has transcended virtual spaces, allowing more people to engage, collaborate and organize in the community from anywhere in the Venezuelan territory. In this Sunday’s great march, not only the residents of Caracas, but also from the states of Aragua, Miranda, Julia, Merida, Lara and Carabobo participated to celebrate pride and the courage to be true to themselves.

Talking about the demands of the operation in the country, In mid-2022, it must be taken into account that identifying as an LGBT+ person in Venezuela, and in the absence of laws protecting them, is still a hugely courageous act.And efforts by Venezuelan justice agencies to record hate crimes are inadequate because of the risk they run in one of the most violent countries in the Americas.

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has avoided promoting any legislation or public policy in favor of the LGBT+ community in Venezuela.  (Reuters)
Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has avoided promoting any legislation or public policy in favor of the LGBT+ community in Venezuela. (Reuters)

The judiciary owes a historic debt to Venezuelan citizens, particularly LGBT+ people, who are doubly vulnerable to acts of violence due to their sexuality and gender, while stigmatized in justice institutions that promote safe spaces. For their orientation, identity or status. Needless to say, in When it comes to addressing social issues, the various levels of government, bigotry, sexism and LGBTphobia still dominate, making social cohesion and a dignified and prosperous life impossible for millions of Venezuelans.

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Therefore, activists, academics and experts agree that a restorative justice process focused on dealing with LGBT+ hate crimes is necessary, as its purpose is to compensate for the harm caused by some individuals given the nature of hate crimes. As human beings they are to guarantee the victims dignity and security that the country has never had before.

In the absence of government support, important role of organizations and representatives

In addition to the huge crowd, another innovation of the Pride Parade held in Caracas was the support of diplomatic representatives of several countries represented in Venezuela, including Mexico, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. Those committed to the human rights of all people participated in the concentration.

These delegations have also represented neuroscientific support for Venezuelan LGBT+ activism, opening channels for collaboration and educational training on social and cultural issues for their members. Absent political will and lack of government action to promote legislation and public policies in support of LGBT+ people, such support is enhanced in advancing the struggle to ensure safe spaces, free expression, and non-discrimination based on race. Orientation, identity or gender and the largely forgotten consent to same-sex marriage in Venezuela.

In this case, the debate on same-sex marriage has been relegated to other political interests of “greater urgency” since 2015, ignoring the social, economic and political consequences of marginalizing a section of civil society, depriving it of essential rights and opportunities. .

So March’s victory should serve as a clear reminder to the country’s political actors that LGBT+ Venezuelans do not want to continue to be treated as second-class citizens or used as a vote-winning tactic.

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In that sense, with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and gay people also voting, it is clear that the time has come for the Venezuelan LGBT+ community to get serious about building a viable country plan. Participate politically and need the government’s urgent attention. Now is the time to act.

The author is a Venezuelan journalist and political scientist. He is a collaborator of the Venezuelan LGBT+ group “OK, No”.

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