1 Lesbian Actresses Arrested For Naked Soap 12/02
2 Reflections of a Gay Seminarian following his visit to Bolivia 3/05
3 La Familia Galan, Bolivia’s leading troupe of drag queens–a photo essay 2005
4 Some Comments from a Native about Gay Bolivia 7/06
5 I Am Rich Potosi 11/06 (Non gay background book)
5a Gay Pride in Latin America 7/07
6 Activists demand investigation into Pride explosion 7/07
7 Bolivian Constitution Bans Gay Marriage 12/07
8 Protections might not apply to most LGBT Bolivians 2/09
9 Wearing down homophobia 4/09
10 Transvestite population meets in Cochabamba, Bolivia 12/10
11 Brutal represión policial en acto contra la homofobia en Lima 2/11
December 18, 2002 – Gay.com U.K.
Lesbian Actresses Arrested For Naked Soap
A group of lesbian feminist actresses have been arrested for filming a nude soap opera in the streets of a Bolivian city. The explicit soap opera, Mother Don’t Tell Me, is popular since its launch on Bolivian Tv three months ago.
Members of the Women in Creation group were arrested for filming the nude scenes in La Paz. The Ansalatine news agency reports that police accused the women of "obscene exhibition".
March 30, 2005
Reflections of a Gay Seminarian following his visit to Bolivia
by Brian Cave, New York City
Bolivia is the poorest nation in South America. The country is a landlocked country made up of 1,098580 square miles and has a population of 9 million people. 85% of the people of Bolivia are natives where as the other 15% are European (principally Spanish). 51% of the population is women and 41% of those women are under the age of 15. 72% of the people of Bolivia are able to get water but not in their homes. Only 3% of the population has water in their homes. 32% of the homes in Bolivia have dirt floors.
Currently the country is a democratic capitalist nation but has had many coups in the past. The current constitution had no input from any of the natives of Bolivia. 97% of the people were not included in the decision making process. Currently the natives are working to get their culture incorporated into a new constitution. 64% of Bolivia’s budget goes towards military defense, which the USA is very involved with.
However, currently the majority of the people of Bolivia want a Democratic Socialist nation. If the presidential elections were held today Evo Morales would win. He is the leader of the Movement For Socialism party. Currently there is a chance that there might be a new election before 2007. According to a report from CNN the current president Carlos Mesa has offered his resignation to Congress after widespread protests that were blocking the country. According to the NY Times, there could be a new election as early as August.
One of the major issues pressing in Bolivia right now is natural gas. There has been recent protest by the people of Bolivia by blocking the streets and shutting down the country in order that the government change policies regarding the ownership and taxes surrounding gas. There is currently a bill that has been passed by Bolivia’s lower house to change the tax rate for the gas companies to 50% of profits and now waiting to be approved by the Senate.
Dr. Raul Perez, MD was our group doctor and one of our lectures. He introduced us to issues surrounding gas on Bolivia. He received his medical degree in 1995 from Universidad Mayor de San Andres as well as a degree in Inmunohematology in 2002 from the Bolivia Blood Bank, and in 2002 a degree in Hematalogy in Valencia, Spain. He also has a degree in gas and does continuing research. According to Dr. Perez, there is 54 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Bolivia. 49% of the land has petroleum and 46% of the petroleum is gas. There is enough gas to financially take care of all the people of Bolivia. However, the gas belongs to transnational corporations and they currently only pay 18% tax of profits from the gas to Bolivia, which very little of it trickles down to the people of Bolivia. According to a report from the International Socialist Organization on March 8, 2003, the companies that exploit the gas reserves are BP, Shell, British Gas, France’s TotalFineElf, and Spain’s Repsol.
According to a report from Madison Energy Advisors (a transaction advisor for oil and gas sales) on March 23, 2005, Repsol in partnership with the Brazil company Petrobras supply 70% of the natural gas sold to Brazil. Repsol is quoted in the report as saying that if the bill is passed, “it would oblige us to abandon many of our projects and everybody would lose, especially Bolivia. It would also be necessary to reconsider new investments that we have earmarked for the next few years.”
The government’s measures to privatize the gas industry have left over 60% of Bolivia’s 9 million people living on less than $2 a day. Currently 7 million people in Bolivia do not have any kind of health insurance. So it obvious that the gas companies are trying to bully the people of Bolivia by making them think they will be poor if they approve the new tax when many of the people of Bolivia are already living in poverty.
Our group saw first hand the poverty in Bolivia. In the evenings we would see families rummaging through large piles of garbage looking for food and anything else that might have some kind of value. El Alto is a very poor town right outside of La Paz and is the main passage way into and out of La Paz. There is no way to get to La Paz without driving through this community and seeing the poverty.
Gays in Bolivia
Another issue I researched while in Bolivia was the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. I did research before I went to Bolivia to make contacts and find out where the GLBT people met and interacted but I could not find any information. Even once I got to Bolivia I still could not find any signs of GLBT life.
So we decided that we would go look for transgender prostitutes in the red light district and interview them. Prostitution is legal in Bolivia, but you have to be registered with the health department and get tested every three months for sexually transmitted diseases.
We were privileged enough to meet Romina. She was wealth of information to us and even invited us to come to her home the next day to continue talking with her. She was about 5’7” while wearing heals and claimed most of her clients are married men. Romina is also part of a group of transvestites that meet every Friday for a Bible Study.
Romina gave us information about David Aruquipa Perez who has a Master in Gender Studies and who is the coordinator for The Galan Family. The Galan Family is a volunteer group of 50 men and one woman that integrate theater, photography, and film to educate the people of Bolivia around issues of sexuality and gender. Most members of the group have Master level degrees and are working professionals. The group works to create a space with drag queen performances to start dialogue on sexuality in this very Catholic Nation.
So between the Catholics and the Indigenous people LGBT rights were not voted for in the government. However, the group is continuing to work on getting GLBT issues in the constitution. Some of the members recently were able to meet with the President of Bolivia and talk with him.
The group also has a weekly radio show in La Paz on Tuesday nights on 101.7FM called Trans Stage. The group also has started a gay pride march that takes place on the last Saturday of June. In 1995 when they had their first public parade they were arrested. In 2004 they had 300 people march in the parade. The gay community does not get any support from the churches and even go as far to not welcome GLBT people in the church.
The group is working on getting its website www.familiagalanbolivia.com up and running soon.
Being gay in Bolivia is still a very taboo thing. Most of the GLBT people are very closeted. According to a report from the website GlobalGayz.com there is no legal prohibition against homosexuality; however, the police are woefully underpaid and target GLBT people with illicit fines.
With Bolivia being a predominately Catholic nation, it means most of the community looks down upon birth control and contraception. Therefore; there is not much education regarding condom use and that also means greater risk for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. According to a report from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, there were 11,000 document cases of HIV/AIDS at the end of 2003.
In January 2005, according to Dr. Perez who we met in Bolivia, there are 25,000 documented cases of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Perez said that only the symptoms of HIV/AIDS is treated and not the disease itself in Bolivia. He also stated the most of those infected were infected while visiting the United States and Brazil. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, HIV/AIDS has remained low with the female commercial sex workers because they are required to be registered and must be tested every three months to keep their health certificates.
Christianity and Capitalism
My experience with Bolivia has made me question whether Christianity and Capitalism are compatible. Christian Smith in his book Moral, Believing Animals:Human Personhood and Culture made a statement that has stuck with me. He said that there is danger in the “invisibleness” of some of presuppositions and beliefs we hold that are linked to our “liberal democratic capitalist…ontology culture” (Smith, 60) Smith also talks about how as moral believing creatures that all beliefs are not the same.
When I read the Gospels and see what Jesus was teaching, I believe most of teachings are not compatible at all with capitalist practices. The fact that Jesus in the book of Mark tells the rich man that he has to sell everything to get into the kingdom of heaven is one example that shows me that the monetary greed that comes from capitalism and free markets is in contradiction to Jesus.
So, if the United States wants to be a Christian Nation then the United States must no longer be a democratic capitalist nation and should not be forcing other countries to become democratic capitalist nations.
This idea that all countries need to be like the United States of America is our invisible presupposition that is dangerous as Smith talks about. Democratic capitalism does not work for everyone. The people of Bolivia want a democratic socialist nation so that all the people will have equal access to the necessities of life. The people of Bolivia want and can take care of themselves if they have access to the gas that democratic capitalist nations like the United States have taken over and rob the Bolivian people of their basic rights.
=Ammon, Richard. Gay Varieties in Bolivia [Internet]. GlobalGayz.com, 2003, 1999 [cited March 28 2005]. Available from http://www.globalgayz.com/g-bolivia.html.
=Bolivia Gas Plans Trigger Unrest, 2003. Available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/3112272.stm.
=Forero, Juan. "Bolivian Chief Is Proposing New Elections in August." New York Times, March 16, 2005 2005.
=HIV/AIDS, Joint United Nations Programme on. "Bolivia." 2004.
=Kann, Andrew Dean Nystrom & Morgan. Lonely Planet. 5 ed, Lonely Planet Travel Guide Series: Lonely Planet Publications, April 2004.
=Organization, International Socialist. "Uprising Rocks Bolivia." Socialist Worker, March 2003 2003, 1.
=Smith, Christian. Moral, Believing Animals. New York City: Oxford University Press, 2003.
=Wertheim. "Brazil Warns against Bolivian Legislation." edited by Madison Energy Advisors: Pennwell Corporation, 2005.
2005 – BBC
La Familia Galan, Bolivia’s leading troupe of drag queens–a photo essay with words
(Photo link, above, has been deleted by BBC.)
Words and pictures by David Atkinson
David Aruquipa, 33, is a gay Bolivian male, who works as an activist for gay rights in La Paz. By night, he transforms into Danna Galan, frontperson for La Familia Galan, Bolivia’s leading troupe of drag queens. " To be Bolivian and gay is easier in La Paz than elsewhere in Bolivia. People here are more aware of sexual rights. In Santa Cruz, for example, there are more cases of HIV and transvestites working in the sex industry, yet more discrimination."
"It takes me about 30 minutes to transform into Danna Galan," says David. The first official case of Aids was recognised by the government in 1985 and, by 1992, 83 cases had been reported, of which 66% were identified as being within the bi- and homosexual community. " I used to work in a Aids drop-in centre, now I’m developing a theatre project with a Swedish NGO. The idea is to bring the discussion about Aids to the public’s attention by bringing it into their everyday lives."
"The concept of ‘trans’ is very important to us. By opening up the world of trans, we are calling into question what people consider to be normal or politically correct. " We want to challenge the accepted values that try to impose rules on our bodies. " These bodies that bring our politicised mandate out into the open, are ‘trans’ bodies."
"As Danna, I go out when I want and how I want. I’m prepared for any kind of reaction. But, I’m so sure of myself that, when I meet people, I communicate my self-assurance and end up convincing them. "For me, those who don’t come out and declare what they are, are simply accomplices to discrimination. The whole point for me is that I want to be visible."
"The ‘family’ came together in 2001. We now have 30 members, with new ones joining us from cities outside La Paz. "The whole idea of the Family Galan is to challenge the notion of the traditional nuclear family. " We are a family with love, fights, disagreements and tender moments like any other family. We are bonded by a philosophy that diversity is essential to family life."
Law 810: Sexual and Reproductive Rights, was approved by parliament in April, 2004, but the then President, Carlos Mesa (pictured), refused to sign it into law. The legislation has now been frozen. " When Church groups recently protested against the law, we went out to meet them. We even met Mr Mesa. " The Catholic Church calls the law – which allows homosexual couples to marry and foster children – ‘an assault on the dignity of the family’."
"This is the second year that a Gay Pride event has been held in La Paz. Bolivia’s first Gay Pride was held in the southern city Santa Cruz in 2001. In light of the controversy over Law 810, we decided to give this year’s event a more political slant, renaming it a ‘March for Sexual Diversity’."
On the march
"Some 200 people joined the march, with around 1,000 more lining the streets. At the last minute, the city council refused to grant us a license to march. " They warned us that they would send in the police to stop us but, in the end, it passed off with great success, with the crowd applauding us."
"We just want to be openly gay and talk openly about our sexuality, because these issues are part of the political, cultural and social life of Bolivia as a whole. " Why can’t we discuss openly these issues and free ourselves of the hypocrisy that surround us? " All we are saying is that we want be free to feel and make decisions about how our own bodies enjoy sexual pleasure."
July 5, 2006 – From: GlobalGayz.com
Correspondence from Rodrigo
Some Comments from a Native about Gay Bolivia
Thanks a lot for your answer and because you will keep with discretion my name. I really apologize for my english, I know I have many grammatical problemas, but at least I can make me understand the general idea.
I dont mind if you make an interview, as long as you know that is a percepction of one gay that probably dosen’t represent the 100% of reality.
I also don’t mind if you received any requests for referencie of discos or people in Bolivia. Of course you can refer them to me. Actually I received some gays friends from France, because I also speak some frensh, whats moreI love meet people from another countries and continents. I study at the University International Relations, so I enjoy making friends from different countries and cultures.
Actual situation of the gay movement in Bolivia: A Short perception
Just a week ago was the gay parade in La Paz, I also know that was reproduced in other big cities of the country such as: Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. I participate in the gay pride of La Paz. But the parade was divide in 2. One group made the parade the 26 of june (gays, some bisexuals, and some "discrets" travesties, and the 28 of june participate the "Familia Galan", which are a group of travesties, dragaqueens, that give the face in the name of all the gay movement in La Paz. They try to make a cultural activity in front of the Congress and Palace of Gevernment, but they were repressed by the police.
About the gay clubs, there is one in downtown. Altought, personaly I dont like, is the only one in the city, so sometimes there is no way to avoid this place. But exist also a few "òpen minds" disco more fashion in downtown or in neighborhoods more rich and ocasionally is possible to find gay friends.
For the tourist is very hard to find information about gay life in La Paz, because people on the streets dosent know almost absolutly nothyng about gay life, so its better to make a contact by internet with somebody before arrive.
Also what usually happpend between gays in La Paz is have their owg group of friends (according their social class) to make activities or go to straight discos or make trips, barbecues, etc.
I Am Rich Potosi
The Mountain that Eats Men (Stephen Ferry, The Monacelli Press, 1999)
I Am Rich Potosi The Mountain that Eats Men is a beautiful hard- bound edition, printed with great care by Conti Tipocolor, Firenze, Italy. Along with 88 color plates, the work includes an introductory essay by Eduardo Galeano, historical quotes and engravings, and excerpts from Stephen Ferry’s journal.
Once world-famous, Potosi is now a forgotten city 16,000 feet up in the desert highlands of Bolivia. For almost 250 years (1573-1815), Potosi was the focal point of the Spanish Empire in South America, a forced labor camp where over three million indigenous men were compelled to work inside the Rich Mountain; these Quechua and Aymara slaves extracted from Potosi such fantastic quantities of silver as to affect the course of world history.
I Am Rich Potosi looks closely at the fascinating culture of the present-day miners of Potosi, who work deep within the mountain that was the tomb of their ancestors. In their labor, daily life, and sacrificial festivals, these thousands of miners and their families re-enact and interpret history in richly symbolic ways, demonstrating not only the tragedy of their past, but also the heroism of their cultural resistance to destruction. Over a period of eight years, Stephen Ferry returned many times to Potosi, the poorest place in all of Latin America, seeking to communicate its meaning to the outside world.
To see extracts from I Am Rich Potosi, please click on:
For further information, please contact Stephen Ferry at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
July 02, 2007 – blabbeando.blogspot.com
Gay Pride in Latin America: Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, El Salvador, Chile & Colombia
You might have seen coverage of pride marches in Spain and Brazil elsewhere so we’ll skip those (just Google both and see what comes up or, better yet, browse GayNewsWatch.com for related stories). We have already written about last week’s rally in the Dominican Republic. Here is a look at other pride marches and events in Latin America that took place over the weekend that might have received less attention in these latitudes. Cochabamba, Bolivia: Santa Cruz and the capital city of La Paz might have observed gay pride events in previous years but this year it was the Andean city of Cochabamba to launch their first pride event ever (abuove-right press conference image taken from Los Tiempos).
On Sunday, Los Tiempos reported that the previous day’s gathering at the city’s main plaza was attended by thousands of individuals who "danced with transsexuals, gays and lesbians." "I didn’t know Miss Cochabamba was so tall!" said an older woman as she posed for a photo with the Queen of the Gays, stated the reporter. The paper took note of the visible trans presence and the lack of confrontations or disruptions that have marred pride events in other Bolivian cities.
Guayaquil, Ecuador. El Comercio reports that 300 people showed up for an afternoon of artistic shows at an outdoor plaza on Thursday, June 28th. The event, which began last year, was organized by the Friends for Life Foundation under the theme of "The problem is not homosexuality… The problem is homophobia." The Foundation has posted images of the event over on their blog here and here. Panama City, Panama. The Association of New Men and Women of Panama (AHMN), observed pride by releasing their first ever "Top Ten Most Homophobic Panamanians" list which included television personalities, religious leaders and politicians. At least one of the nominees expressed surprise at being nominated: Critica Libre columnist Julio Cesar Caicedo told the AFP "I am not a homophobe."
San Salvador, El Salvador. EFE reports that hundreds of people, including representatives from half a dozen HIV prevention and gay rights organizations participated in a gay pride march through the streets of San Salvador. Under the theme of "Diversity in Action" well-known gay-right activist William Hernandez stated that there was a lack of funding and institutionalized support for anti-homophobia trainings or campaigns or for HIV prevention campaigns specifically targeting the gay community. Santiago de Chile, Chile. Last week the Chilean arm of Amnesty International said that two leading gay rights organizations, MUMS and MOVILH, had received anonymous threatening messages through the internet in advance of Sunday’s pride fair. In June MOVILH’s website had also been hacked twice also by unknown put self-proclaimed skinheads who posted offensive messages and images instead of the usual content.
Fortunately MOVILH’s portal is back in MOVILH’s hands and they report no incidents of violence at Sunday’s cultural fair which celebrated both LGBT pride as well as the organization’s 16th anniversary. They also have a photo gallery of the day’s proceedings here (if people seem a bit bundled, keep in mind that it’s currently winter down in Chile). La Nacion had perviously reported that, parallel to the day’s events there would also be a second annual "kiss-a-thon" organized by MUMS in a show of support for anti-discrimination legislation.
Bogota, Colombia. Organizers of Bogota’s pride march also denounced internet-based threats from anonymous self-described "skinheads" on the eve of Sunday’s event. Fortunately, the march drew an estimated 10,000 participants despite cold rainy weather and there were no reports of any disruptions or clashes although a group of pro-gay skinheads did participate.
Organizers of the event, led by the Colombian LGBT rights advocacy organization Colombia Diversa, had planned to wear black shirts in protest of last month’s 12th hour defeat of a landmark bill that would have given same-sex couples in Colombia some partnership rights. But on Sunday the black banners and shirts also served as a powerful symbol that the LGBT community in Colombia stood together with the rest of the country in mourning the death of 11 councilmembers who had been held in captivity for five years by the FARC guerilla organization (the FARC say that the kidnapped men died in a confrontation with armed forces while the Colombian government has categorically denied any rescue mission or military activity against the FARC in the area).
In addition to those visible expressions of sadness, Fabian David, a young man who marched along with his boyfriend, noticed another key difference from marches in years past: "The majority of are not wearing masks," he told El Tiempo, "This is because there is a sense of increased comfortability with the issue.
25th July 2007 – PinkNews
Activists demand investigation into Pride explosion
by PinkNews.co.uk writer
Human rights advocates are urging the authorities in Bolivia to properly investigate an explosion at a Pride event last month that injured several people. The incident occurred in the capital city of La Paz on the 30th June, the same day as London Pride. While celebrating Respect For Sexual Diversities Day in the city, and just before the parade started, one of the floats was attacked with dynamite. There are conflicting reports as to how many people were hurt, with as many as six people injured. There were other events in cities across Bolivia on that day which passed off relatively peacefully.
In Santa Cruz, some threw eggs and ice cubes at a car of transvestites. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said that a rapid and thorough action in response to the incident would make a statement that violence against people based on their sexual preference and expression is not tolerated in Bolivia. They request that letters be sent immediately to the Bolivian authorities, demanding an investigation of the facts so that all the people responsible for the attack can be identified and punished. In previous years, in the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz, people who participated in gay Pride were attacked with rotten tomatoes and eggs by people in the crowd.
This year gay marchers in Tarija and Cochabamba took to the streets for the first time. Several institutions supported the events, such as the Institute of Human Development. Last year the Bolivian government, in concert with other South American nations, pledged to include sexual orientation and gender identity within the human rights agenda. In La Paz, the city’s municipal "Vindication of Human Rights" guarantees the right to find the conditions for one’s own political, cultural, social, economic, and ecological accomplishment without discrimination due to colour, age, gender, sexual "choices," language, religion, level of income, opinion, or nationality.
December 26, 2007 – vivirlatino.com
Bolivian Constitution Bans Gay Marriage
There was much uproar in Bolivia late last month when it was announced that a new constitution was approved in that country. Among the amendments to the document was a stipulation that seemed to go unnoticed until now; one that writes discrimination into the constitution by defining marriage between a man and a woman.
The Bolivian LGBT community is outraged, while the Bolivian government defended itself saying they "haven’t received any requests" on the part of the gay community to include gay marriage as a right in the new constitution and alleges that such a proposal wouldn’t have gone anywhere since "Bolivian society is conservative".
15 LGBT groups in Bolivia are fighting back with a document outlining their demands, among them the right to education and employment regardless of sexual orientation.
February 09, 2009 – blabbeando.blogspot.com
Update: Anti-discrimination constitutional protections might not apply to most LGBT Bolivians
Ana Simo, a long-time friend, writes the following from Paris:
Before we pop the champagne bottles –
The new Bolivian constitution does not say that the fundamental rights it lists–non-discrimination of women, LGBTs, etc.–apply to the parallel tribal justice system it creates, under which reportedly up to 60% of Bolivians will live. Tribal justice system actions cannot be appealed under the regular justice system (jurisdicción ordinaria). In addition, the constitution does not say that individuals or civil society groups can appeal the constitutionality of a tribal justice action before the Plurinational Constitutional Court the constitution creates.
I also noticed that the constitution set-up a stand alone justice system for Indian tribes but I didn’t realize then, as I do now, that it means that LGBT people in areas ruled by Bolivian tribes would probably not be covered by anti-discrimination protections. Thanks, Ana!
April 3, 2009 – Latin America Press
Wearing down homophobia
by Martin Garat
New charter prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. It´s not easy being gay in Bolivia. Violence, harassment, and workplace discrimination are daily occurrences. But homophobia is slowly being worn down, say Alberto Raña and Alberto Moscoso, of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual rights group, the “Freedom” Civil Association for Social Development and Promotion of Culture.
“My father confronted me one day: ‘A lot of your friends are homosexuals. Are you gay too? Tell me the truth!’” recalled Raña, who works in the organization’s press department. “’Yes, I´m gay!’ I yelled back. It was a shock to my parents,” he said of them, his mother a religious Catholic and his very conservative father.
Despite the political shift to the left when President Evo Morales took office more than three years ago, Bolivian society remains deeply conservative. Both the Catholic Church and Evangelical churches are “heavy weights” in Bolivian ideology, and consider that homosexuality is an illness that must be cured. When Raña came out of the closet in the early 1990s, there were no gay rights organizations in Bolivia. There were groups of homosexual friends who met discreetly to organize parties, but not to get involved in politics. When he lived in Argentina he met friends who encouraged him to stop hiding his sexual orientation.
“Buenos Aires is another world,” he said. “There´s a different mentality there and a lot of openness. I met a lot of people who I was able to identify with and they helped me make the decision to live openly as a homosexual.” Raña has worked for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals, known collectively at GLBT, for eight years. He doesn´t make much money, but he is relieved that he doesn´t work in an office where he would have to hide his identity.
“I would have to have a low profile and even ´go back into the closet´ so I wouldn´t lose my job,” he said. “If you´re gay, you´re thrown out or they discriminate against you. For teachers, it is essential to hide your homosexuality in schools. When a school principal refuses to fire a homosexual teacher, the parents of the students pressure him to,” he remembered. Moscoso, the organization´s president, said the group is constantly counting cases of unjust firings. These cases can be denounced publicly in the courts, but often, the victim prefers to keep the case private.
In a nationwide referendum earlier this year, Bolivians approved a new constitution that grants the rights of married couples to domestic partners, but only between a man and a woman. But opponents of the charter protested that the charter supposedly authorized gay married, something unthinkable in Bolivian society.
Moscoso has officiated the symbolic marriages of many homosexual couples. He laments the constitutional article on marriage but says for him, “the important thing is that the same rights are recognized. It doesn´t matter if you call it “marriage,” “union,” or “concubinage.” A legal tie between people of the same sex could be created with a law without it being established by the Magna Carta.”
Still, Moscoso notes significant advances in GLBT rights. The new constitution, for example, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and establishes sexual and reproductive rights for all citizens. “Now, the state is secular, before it was expressly Catholic, and this will help the creation of new laws that are more in favor of the GLBT community,” he said.
When Moscoso told his family he was gay, they were astonished. They asked him not to come out publicly because they thought he would be harmed on the street. Only 10 years ago, homosexuality was still a taboo topic in Bolivia. During his adolescence he was convinced he was the only homosexual in the whole country.
“I had a dictionary that had an article on the term ´homosexual,´ illustrated with photos,” he remembered. “Since the dictionary was published in Spain, I came to think that I would have to live in Spain to get to know other homosexuals.” But today, homophobic attitudes have started to let up, agreed Raña and Moscoso. It´s a slow process but they are optimistic. “The young people, particularly, have fewer prejudices. They are not as pigeonholed by religion and they live more freely,” Raña said.
Moscoso met with other organizations and government representatives to try to work together to protect GLBT rights. Moscoso´s organization was able to include a chapter on the rights regardless of sexual orientation in a national plan against discrimination. Despite these advances, it´s still dangerous to be homosexual in Bolivia. In 2007, three homosexuals were killed, apparently for their sexual orientation. This year, an individual threw a bomb at participants in a gay march in La Paz, wounding three people. Moscoso was one of the victims.
“The bomb fell a meter from my body and left me with scars on my stomach and chest,” Moscoso said. “There are religious groups that are trying to impede our parades. But now, other members of the public are trying to silence these groups and disrupt them.” —Latinamerica Press.
December 14, 2010 – Sentidog
Spanish to English translation
Transvestite population meets in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Vanina Wolf Escalante leads the transvestite population of Santa Cruz and is convinced that "without a legal corporate name, we have no identity." The transvestite population in Bolivia, in the Red Clover (Trans Red Bolivia), recorded more than 250 people are fighting to obtaining identity changes in their cards. The organization meets in Cochabamba, in a national conference which is mainly a proposed gender identity law that allows them to take their identity from the name. More than 30 leaders of the participating country’s transvestites meeting also discussed international standards and human rights issues.
The Political Constitution of Bolivia, expressed in Article 6 that every human being "enjoys the rights, freedoms and guarantees … without distinction of race, sex, language, religion, political opinion …." It also guarantees the right to life, health and safety among others. The group of transvestites are considered to be included and defended by the recently enacted Law against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination, but feels "poor" if people are not recognized by their gender identity.
For the president of the Red Clover, Rayza Torriani, "discrimination begins with the card" showing in the health centers, public and private institutions where things become stigmatized for their gender identity.
February 13, 2011 – Sentidog
Brutal represión policial en acto contra la homofobia en Lima – Report from Bolivia’s LGBT Community Delegate
Los organizadores de “Besos contra la Homofobia”, encontraron cercada por un cordón policial la Plaza de Armas donde se realizaría el evento, quienes al consultar por dicho cierre recibieron por respuesta “es porque va a haber una manifestación de homosexuales” Nada hacia prever como se desarrollaron los acontecimientos ya que no es la primera vez que se realizan actividades similares
Ayer por la noche recibí los primeros comunicados de participantes de la pacifica reunión que intentaron llevar a cabo miembros de la comunidad LGBT, lesbianas, gays, bisexuales y transexuales, quienes relataban que los miembros de las Fuerzas Policiales les exigieron dejar sus pancartas, cosa que hicieron y fueron hacia las escalinatas de la Catedral donde estaban reunidos los manifestantes, entre ellos Carlos Vela, postulante gay al Congreso en la lista de Fuerza Social, cuando las parejas empezaron a besarse, la policia arremetió brutalmente contra ellos y ellas, no solo a empujones, sino golpeándoles con sus bastones y utilizando gas pimienta.
Según los manifestantes el cardenal Cipriani del Arzobispado de Lima, habría sido quien denunciara la manifestación, Una joven lesbiana perteneciente al Bloque estudiantil LGTB, fue golpeada duramente en la cabeza lo que provoco la reacción de los manifestantes que empezaron a corear “No a la Homofobia”. Cuando intentaron reunirse frente a la Municipalidad de Lima fueron agredidos nuevamente por la policía, un joven gay que gritaba que tenia derecho a estar allí y pasear con su pareja por la ciudad, fue masacrado a golpes.
Un grupo de manifestantes fue a radicar la denuncia en la comisaría de Monserrate, quienes no quisieron tomar la misma, por lo cual tuvieron que solicitar ayuda en la Defensoria del Pueblo para que esta se hiciera efectiva. A pesar de haber invitado a miembros de la Municipalidad, en especial a la Alcaldesa Susana Villaran, quien había comprometido su asistencia, y apoyar la lucha contra la Homofobia, nadie se hizo presente en la manifestación.