Gay Chile News & Reports 2003-10

1 Bill to support same-sex couples advances in Chile 6/03

2 Judge scandal is step back for homosexuals in Chile 11/03

3 Anti-AIDS commercials in Chile spark media backlash 12/03

4 Ruling forces gay parents to choose between closet, parenting rights 7/04

5 September 14-17: 3rd Regional Conference 8/04

6 Chiles’s Supreme Court Accused of Infringing Human Rights 5/05

7 Conservative Chile More Tolerant of Gays 7/06

8 Chile Gay Group Claims Web Site Hacked 6/07

8a Gay Pride in Latin America 7/07

9 Chilean court delivers controversial sodomy conviction 8/07

10 Lesbian denied teaching permit in Chile 12/07

11 Iranian and Chilean LGBT activists honoured 3/08

12 Chilean teacher saked for being a lesbian begins legal action 1/09

13 Dismissed for Being Gay, Former Police Officer Seeks Justice in Court 5/09

14 Two Transgender Women Attacked 7/09

15 The Ugly Face of Homophobia in Chile 8/09

16 Chile’s elections: “Who gets the gay vote?” 12/09

17 Chilean LGBT infrastructure damaged by earthquake 3/10

18 Mapuches against the Chile’s media campaign "Who Has AIDS?" 12/10

June 11, 2003 – Reuters

Bill to support same-sex couples advances in Chile

Santiago, Chile – Chilean lawmakers sent a bill to Congress Wednesday to grant legal status to gay and lesbian couples in a bid to liberalize the country’s conservative family laws. In Chile, a Catholic nation where divorce is illegal, gays suffer discrimination, as in much of Latin America where a macho culture dominates. The law would allow same-sex couples who have lived together for at least two years to legalize their union through a civil contract granting them rights to pensions and inheritances. Lawmakers estimate the law will benefit some 300,000 Chileans.

But the right-wing opposition has vowed to defeat the bill. But the law would not permit same-sex marriages or the adoption of children. It would allow couples to split on the grounds of family violence or mutual agreement. "Our society is not that conservative. A small powerful group is holding Chilean society hostage because they don’t want to reform the laws so that citizens have the option of choosing their own lifestyle," said deputy Maria Antonieta Saa, one of the backers of the bill.

"With this bill, we are changing the human rights record of segregation, violence and discrimination that is part of our national culture with regards to sexual minorities," said Roland Jimenez, spokesman for gay rights group Movilh. Legislators in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, passed a similar law last December in a move hailed as the first in Latin America.

November 14, 2003 – Reuters

Judge scandal is step back for homosexuals in Chile

by Fiona Ortiz
Santiago, Chile – Homosexuals in Chile got a rude reminder of the limits of social tolerance in their country when a respected judge lost an assignment after a television station exposed his visits to a gay bathhouse.
Many homosexuals in Chile believed they had won a breakthrough this year when a popular evening soap opera took a risk and included a gay character, Ariel. But that optimism was dampened when a prominent judge – who says he is not gay – suffered a major career setback over his association with a homosexual establishment. "In one week we lost everything we had gained in nine months with the Ariel character," said Juan Cristobal, a 31-year-old journalist who is open about his sexual preference, something rare among gays and lesbians in Chile.

The curfews and censorship of Chile’s long, repressive military regime ended in 1990 and a center-left government has run the country for 13 years. But this South American strip of vineyards and copper mines is still socially conservative and one of the only countries in the world where divorce is illegal.

The homosexual movement here is taking its first steps, while in Argentina same-sex civil unions are legal in the capital and in Mexico a lesbian won a seat in Congress. Periodic polls by the University of Chile show that Chile’s 15 million people are increasingly accepting of homosexuality but the majority of homosexuals fear they could lose their jobs if they came out in the workplace, said Rolando Jimenez, president of the homosexual rights group Movilh. That fear was reinforced last week in the case of Judge Daniel Calvo, a married father of five. Calvo, who is respected for his human rights work, became a very public figure in October, when the Supreme Court assigned him to head the criminal investigation into a suspected pedophile ring that had been making headlines for days.

Bathhouse Tattler
A few weeks into Calvo’s investigation, the former owner of a gay bathhouse told local television reporters Calvo had been his client. He said he believed someone who led a double life was not qualified to handle the pedophilia accusations. The reporters set up the informant with a hidden camera and he met Calvo and drew him into a conversation about the visits to the bathhouse, a place where men met for casual sex. When Calvo found out the television station was about to air the conversation, he made a public statement that he had gone to the bathhouse but said he was not gay.

The Supreme Court removed Calvo from the case, citing the damaging media storm over his private life and saying the judge was vulnerable to extortion attempts. "The Calvo case is a setback for homosexuals," said Fernando Mata, a sociologist who works for a government anti-discrimination program. Carolina Toha, a member of Congress for the Liberal Party for Democracy, criticized the court’s decision. "If we are going to be so strict about people’s double lives, we should punish with the same energy those who have lovers," Toha wrote in a newspaper column Thursday. "What homosexual who has a public position doesn’t lead a double life in Chile? There is no state authority in this country that has come out as a gay."

December 3, 2003 – Reuters

Anti-AIDS commercials in Chile spark media backlash

by Ignacio Badal
Santiago, Chile – The Chilean government’s media campaign against AIDS hit a roadblock this week when three leading television channels refused to air commercials, including one showing a gay couple in bed. The channels said the commercials, which promote condom use, violated their editorial policies. "The ads fail to address the negative consequences of promiscuous sexual conduct to people and their families. On the contrary, they suggest that such conduct is an option or a model for personal fulfillment," said Channel 13, which is owned by Chile’s Catholic University.

Two other channels showed the series of four commercials, which the government launched Monday for World AIDS Day along with radio jingles, pamphlets and bus-stop posters. The commercials feature a married man who has a lover, a teen-ager having unprotected sex, a housewife whose husband is cheating on her and a gay couple. Chile, where divorce is illegal, is considered one of the most socially conservative nations in Latin America. Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, homophobia is one of the biggest obstacles to proper treatment of an estimated 2 million people with AIDS-HIV in the region, according to a study by the Pan-American Health Organization. Chile’s Roman Catholic Church, like the Vatican, has spoken out against the government’s emphasis on condoms to stop the spread of AIDS. The government expressed disappointment at the backlash.

"We’re talking about people dying here," said government spokesman Francisco Vidal. "I have my own opinion about infidelity and homosexuality, but they exist. So how do we deal with a problem like this? Looking at the ceiling or dealing with it?" Some 4,000 Chileans have died of AIDS and 28,000 are infected with the HIV virus, according to the government, which has promised free anti-retroviral treatment for them through donations from international organizations. The commercials show people looking in the mirror and asking themselves why they are not taking precautions against HIV-AIDS. They are based on studies showing Chileans are well-informed about the causes of AIDS but do little to prevent it.

July 1, 2004 – Knight Ridder Newspapers

Ruling in Chile forces gay parents to choose between the closet, parenting rights

by Kevin G. Hall
Santiago, Chile – Judge Karen Atala had the love of her three daughters and commanded the respect of Chilean lawyers arguing cases in her courtroom. Now, all across the deeply conservative Andean nation, she’s known simply as "the lesbian judge." Atala became an unwitting public figure and international gay-rights symbol when Chile’s Supreme Court, in a controversial 3-2 decision May 31, overruled two lower courts and awarded custody of her children to her ex-husband, Jaime Lopez.
The small-town judge wasn’t an alcoholic, promiscuous or a negligent mother – reasons Chilean courts usually place children in the custody of their fathers. Atala’s "grave" mothering mistake was admitting she’s a lesbian who took a partner. In South America’s most conservative nation, the court ruling sought to bolster the Roman Catholic Church’s definition of traditional families. Monsignor Cristian Contreras, an auxiliary bishop in Santiago, praised the "commonsense" approach of the judges.

Gay rights groups have been galvanized by the decision, and Chile is seeing a debate like the one under way in the United States over state-sanctioned marriage and the inheritance rights of same-sex couples. How it plays out in Chile might affect gay rights throughout Latin America. Three judges on the Chilean high court ruled that Atala, 39, "imposed her own interests, deferring those of her children" by living with art historian Emma de Ramon, the daughter of a famed Atala had taken the kids to family therapy, anticipating the need for counseling to deal with the complex change in family structure. The two judges who voted in favor of Atala blasted the decision as discriminatory. "This is a ruling based on a public morals standard that contradicts essential elements of democratic society," Juan Pablo Olmedo, Atala’s attorney, said in an interview.

Atala, who lived in the central town of Villarrica, didn’t disclose her sexuality openly and belonged to no gay rights groups. The limelight was thrust on her when her former husband – who originally accepted her being lesbian when they split in February 2002 – sued for custody. By that time, Atala and de Ramon were living together in Villarrica. They’ve since moved to Los Andes, an hour from Santiago and 500 miles from Atala’s children.

"It fell on us, and the violence that they have brought with all of this," de Ramon, 44, said in an interview. Atala, a federally appointed local judge, is on a voluntary leave of absence and isn’t granting interviews. De Ramon said her partner was seeking treatment for a deep depression that followed the loss of her daughters. Atala’s girls – aged 9, 5 and 4 – now are living with Lopez. Lopez, a lawyer, has since had his new girlfriend move in. Lopez’s attorney didn’t respond to requests for an interview. In an interview with Chile’s El Sabado magazine, Lopez said he didn’t think an "alternative" family was good for his daughters.
"Nobody asked them whether they wanted to be ‘alternative’ girls. I don’t want my kids to be the rallying flag or icons for the homosexual movement," Lopez said. Atala, he said, could be a lesbian in private, just not in the context of being a mother.

The ruling struck widespread fear into Chile’s sizable gay population. "We are very afraid," said Alejandra Arevana, whose lesbian partner has children. The Supreme Court’s ruling, she said, tells lesbians "you cannot be one publicly, say you are or live with your partner if you have kids." Arevana said she knew of five cases in which lesbian mothers lied in court to avoid the decision Atala was handed. As a judge, Arevana reasoned, Atala could hardly lie to the court. Soledad Larrain, a family therapist in Santiago and a pioneer in Chilean women’s-rights issues, said the country’s lesbian mothers were forced to choose between sexuality and motherhood rights. "Many lesbians who live with their children are now afraid to go public," she said.

Chileans appear divided on the ruling. An opinion poll published June 7 in the daily newspaper La Tercera said 46 percent opposed the court ruling and 50 percent supported it. The support for Atala was surprising for a country generally guided by strong Catholic values and the legacy of right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet, who ruled from 1973 to 1990. Many of today’s highest judges came up through the regime, and Pinochet left Chile with a constitution that even today remains difficult to amend.

Conservative Chile didn’t have a divorce law on the books until just this year, and there’s still no legal recognition of common-law marriages, meaning that opposite-sex partners who share a life without getting married have no inheritance rights. The court decision virtually ensures that same-sex couples will demand a seat at the table when Chile tries to legally recognize what U.S. courts define as common-law marriage. "We are still in diapers when it comes to civil recognition of gay marriages," said Marco Ruiz, who heads the United Sexual Minorities Movement in Santiago. Gay rights groups also want clearer legal and constitutional prohibitions on discrimination due to homosexuality, he said, and tougher criminal penalties for gay bashing.

As in many Latin countries, social life in Chile is more liberal than its laws. Santiago, the biggest city, offers dozens of gay and lesbian bars, and their patrons aren’t shy about their sexuality. "I have a hard time figuring out what made people shift. I think globalization is part of it – that elsewhere in the developed world it is ‘normal’ to be gay," said Tim Frasca, a gay journalist from Galion, Ohio, who settled in Chile 21 years ago. "You now have a sort of pre-1960s level of well-meaning tolerance – which is not the same thing as rights." Chilean families, he said, tolerate gays and lesbians providing "they don’t lose respect," a euphemism for public displays of homosexuality.

Knight Ridder special correspondent Martin Noboa contributed to this report.

August 8, 2004 – IGLA, Latin America and Caribbean

September 14-17: 3rd Latin American and Caribbean Regional Conference

Santiago de Chile – Homosexualities, globalization and social movements in Latin America, are the topics that will open the conference of the International Lesbian and Gays Association (ILGALAC) in September. This third ILGALAC Conference will take place during the celebration of Pride Week and Chile’s National Independence, between September 14th and 17th. The weeks begins with the Social Forum for Sexual Diversity, an activity that opens the participation of social and political Chilean organizations in the Chilean Social Forum that will take place this upcoming November.

The topics that are in the agenda will be centered on legal and regulative advances that have been made in previous years. This evaluation will focus on the context of the economic, political and cultural globalization that the region is experiencing, in order to start a debate about the role of GLBTTI organization in this context. During the three days of session an Action Plans is expected to be developed for the next two years as well as the election of new Regional Chairs, who are currently held by Rosangela Castro and Carlos Sánchez, former Director of Movimiento Unificado de Minorías Sexuales Chile (Chile Unified Movement of Sexual Minorities) and current President of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras Luis Gauthier (Luis Gauthier National Workers Union).
Translation: Proyecto Agenda LGBT

May 13, 2005 – The Santiago Times

Chiles’s Supreme Court Accused of Infringing Human Rights–Judiciary Under Scrutiny For Homophobic Rulings

by Emily Byrne
Chile’s Supreme Court sent a report Thursday to The Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) about its ruling that denied former Judge Karen Atala custody of her children. Atala, who lives with her lesbian partner, alleges that the Supreme Court did not grant her custody of her three daughters because of her sexual orientation. Atala appealed the Supreme Court ruling to the IACHR (ST, Nov. 29, 2004), claiming that it infringes her basic rights and the American Convention on Human Rights, ratified by Chile in 1990.

Atala said the Supreme Court didn’t respect Article 1 of the Convention, according to which member states are committed to ensure that all citizens have free and full exercise of rights and freedoms, “without any discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status, birth or any other social condition.” The IACHR ordered the Supreme Court to produce a full report on the case last November. In the seven-page report sent Thursday, the Supreme Court reasserts that its decision to give custody to the children’s father was to protect the children, and it did not have anything to do with Atala’s sexual orientation. The Supreme Court sustains that Atala was never questioned about being a lesbian.

“There is no discrimination. The sentence has been clearly passed … The sentence was imposed to protect the children who were in an environment that didn’t seem adequate for their upbringing,” said Hernán Álvarez, deputy president of the Supreme Court. But many believe that Atala’s live-in relationship with her lesbian partner was key to the Supreme Court ruling. On May 31, 2004, the Supreme Court decided that forcing the children to live with Atala and her lesbian partner could put “the psychological and emotional well-being of the children” at risk.

The court also stated that the children “could be subject to discrimination” and could be confused that “the father-figure is replaced by someone else.” “It is not possible to ignore that (Atala), when she took the decision to display her homosexuality, as any person is entitled to do according to their rights … she put her own interests first, over those of her children, especially by choosing to live with her lesbian partner in the home where she brings up her children,” the official ruling said. The court heard that parents of the children’s friends would forbid them from coming to the house because Atala was living with Emma de Ramón, a history professor.

The Fourth Chamber of the Supreme Court passed the ruling by six votes to two. The two justices not in favor said that psychological tests on children have proved that living in a household with a lesbian couple does not put the children’s development at risk. Atala now only has the right to see her three daughters on weekends and for a month during the children’s school vacation. Atala’s ex-husband, public defense lawyer Jaime López, appealed to the Supreme Court after the Appeals Court in Temuco granted custody to Atala, saying that her sexual orientation would not impede her role as a mother (ST, April 6, 2004). Supreme Court Justices Jorge Medina, José Luis Pérez and Urbano Marín supported López’s appeal from the outset. They believed the judges in Temuco hadn’t considered “the overriding right of the children to live and develop at the heart of a normally structured family.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling is extremely unusual, given that in 99 percent of child custody cases, the mother wins. But the Supreme Court was recently found to be the most homophobic Chilean institution, according to the “Third Annual Report on the Human Rights of Chilean Sexual Minorities” by the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation. In recent years there have been more than 40 cases involving the violation of the human rights of lesbians and homosexuals in Chile. Another high profile case is that of Judge Daniel Calvo, who was removed from the Spiniak pedophilia investigation after admitting he visited a gay sauna (ST, Nov. 10, 2003).

Atala’s case and others have generated an intense moral debate about homosexuality in Chile. One of those debates is to what extent homosexual teenagers should be able to express their sexuality at school. Education Minister Sergio Bitar recently said that schools should not let student’s beliefs or behavior get in the way of the curriculum or the freedom to teach. Bitar’s comments are in response to a group of gay students who will hold a public protest on May 21 in Santiago to encourage people to recognize their civil rights. Bitar admitted Chilean society has a tendency to discriminate against young homosexuals, who are defining their identity, and said homosexual students have the right to express themselves in a public place, but they should keep the protests out of the classroom.

Bitar explained that the role of schools in this matter is to fulfill legal regulations with regard to tolerance and respect, without allowing the school premises to become a site for social protest. There have been two recent incidents of sexual discrimination in the educational system, including the expulsion of two boys from Santiago’s Liceo Metropolitano for “immoral acts,” and the expulsion of a girl from Santiago’s Centro Politécnico San Ramón for “openly lesbian conduct,”

Emily Byrne (

July 11, 2006 –

Conservative Chile More Tolerant of Gays

by Lugia Navarro
Santiago, Chile — Gay rights activists say they are finding greater public tolerance in one of Latin America’s socially conservative strongholds and hope Chilean lawmakers will approve anti-discrimination legislation. Chile’s Congress is debating striking down regulations against "offenses to morals and good customs" that police have used to harass gays, even for behavior such as holding hands in public. Activists say such treatment remains common. It was only in 1998 that Chile repealed a prohibition on sex between consenting, same-sex adults.

The issue of gay rights captured the country’s attention in 2004 when the Supreme Court denied a lesbian mother and judge, Karen Atala, custody of her three daughters in favor of her ex-husband. Emma de Ramon, Atala’s partner and director of a gay parents advocacy group, said she believes there can be progress for gays under new socialist President Michelle Bachelet. Bachelet stated her intentions to do away with discrimination against gays and others in a speech in May, saying she wanted "a Chile for everyone" which "doesn’t discriminate and which doesn’t forget those who have been left behind." Lawmakers have been debating a clause that would give people reporting acts of bias special legal protection as victims of discrimination, said congresswoman Maria Antonieta Saa, who has long been active on gay rights issues.

Gays are hopeful about the legislation, in part because shifting cultural attitudes have made it politically incorrect in most Chilean circles to be publicly anti-gay, said Rolando Jimenez, president of the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement. "There are few people or institutions who would dare to say that homosexuality is perverse, pathological, and that we need to round up the homosexuals and take them to an island. They said these things easily five or 10 years ago," said Jimenez. "Chile is in the process of a profound transition in terms of ethics and values," he said.

But coming out of the closet remains a daring act, said Jorge Pujado, author of "The Kings of Santa Lucia Hill," a study of gay men in the Chilean capital of Santiago. "In Chile the transgression isn’t that you are a certain way, but that you are public about it," he said. Leading an openly gay life remains daunting in heavily Roman Catholic, socially conservative Chile, agrees Elias Valenzuela, 31, a marketing surveyor who recently told his family and co-workers he is gay. "I have always said that I don’t feel less worthy than others," he said. "I never let them put me down or make negative comments."

June 6, 2007 – The Washington Times

Chile: Gay group claims Web site hacked

Santiago, Chile, June 6 (UPI) – A Chilean gay rights group claims its Web site was hacked by a Chilean skinhead group.
Calling itself the "Skinheads from Pitana," the supremacy group allegedly removed from the gay right’s Web site a banner featuring actors supporting the group known as the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Freedom, or MOVILH, the Santiago Times reported Wednesday. In its place, the hackers pasted a large picture of skinheads.

"In addition, they altered the site’s monthly survey to include rude, sexual questions," said MOVLIH activist Juan Hernandez. "In a lot of areas they also wrote things about how MOVILH defends ‘sexual aberrations’ and supports people who are ‘disgustingly’ homosexual." This wasn’t the first time the gay rights group was attacked in cyberspace, having suffered two previous hacking defacements, according to MOVLIH head Rolando Jimenez. "We constantly receive threats via the Internet, phone calls, things that are now part of our daily lives. There have been flyers with my name on them … I get mails saying things like ‘I’ve got a bullet with your name on it.’ Things like that," Jimenez told the Times.

July 02, 2007 –

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 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.

21st August 2007PinkNews

Chilean court delivers controversial sodomy conviction

by Gemma Pritchard
Chilean court delivers controversial sodomy conviction Gay rights activists in Santiago, northern Chile are outraged by a recent sodomy conviction in a Chilean court, stating that it is evidence of a bias against homosexuals in Chilean law. The Santiago Times reported last week that a panel of judges in Antofagasta, Region II, had found a 47-year-old labourer guilty of sodomising a 17-year-old male. Because the accused had no previous criminal record, the court sentenced him to 41 days in jail – far less than the 541-day jail term prosecutors had recommended.

The case began when police discovered the two males having sex in a pickup truck. Although the young man in question – just 12 days shy of his 18th birthday at the time of the incident – testified that the sex was consensual, prosecutors nevertheless pursued the case, arguing that the accused "corrupted the child’s sexual morality." The ruling was the first sodomy conviction to be issued in Region II since the country’s criminal law procedures were overhauled in 2001.

The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Freedom (MOVILH), Chile’s leading gay rights organisation told the Santiago Times : "It reflects one of the most serious and atrocious legal imbalances we, Chile’s sexual minorities, face." One problem, according to MOVILH, is a major discrepancy regarding the legal age of sexual consent: 12, for heterosexuals, 18 for homosexuals. MOVILH describes the difference as "arbitrary, unjust and hypocritical."

Another problem, according to the group, is that the Code’s Article 365, which deals specifically with sodomy, can be used too easily to target homosexual men. In direct response to the Antofagasta case, MOVILH this week sent a letter to the U.N.’s Committee on the Rights of the Child. It stated: "We object to the fact that young people and couples are being qualified as criminals solely because of their sexual orientation. "That is a serious human rights violation."

13th December 2007 – PinkNews

Lesbian denied teaching permit in Chile

by staff writer
Gay rights leaders in Chile have said they are disappointed at the government’s stance regarding a lesbian teacher who is being denied re-certification. Sandra Pavez taught religious education at a state elementary school in Santiago for 21 years. The Roman Catholic church revoked her permission to teach religion after finding out she is a lesbian. In Chile religious education teachers legally have to be certified by a religious authority in order to teach. Last month an appeals court rejected Ms Pavez’ claim that her constitutional rights had been violated by the actions of the church.

The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Freedom (MOVILH) met with ministry of education officials earlier this week, but said they were disappointed with the outcome. The education minister pulled out of the meeting, which MOVILH said was the biggest confrontation they have had with the government. MOVILH president Rolando Jiménez told The Santiago Times that despite the publicity surrounding the case, the education ministry did not take a clear stance on Ms Pavez’s case.

"When it comes to issues that have to do with sexual orientation, with discrimination, the minister looks away, looks at the ceiling, and there’s no response, no initiative on the part of the ministry," Mr Jiménez said. "Here, the ministry of education and President Michelle Bachelet are rowing in different directions. While the Ministry doesn’t want to clarify whether or not it rejects discrimination based on sexual orientation, the President has rejected homophobia in various speeches. This is unbelievable."

5th March 2008 – PinkNews

Iranian and Chilean LGBT activists honoured

by Tony Grew
A trans activist and an Iranian queer organisation will be honoured by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) at a special ceremony next month. Andres Ignacio Rivera Duarte of Chile’s Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad and the Canada-based Iranian Queer Organisation (IRQO) will be awarded the 2008 Felipa de Souza Award. Each award winner will receive a $5,000 (£2,516) stipend. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in New York on April 28th, 2008.

IGLHRC’s Felipa Award "recognises the courage and effectiveness of groups or leaders dedicated to improving the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and other individuals stigmatised and abused because of their sexuality or HIV status." Previous winners include the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays, whose leader Brian Williamson was murdered in 2004 and the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) of Nepal.

"We are so honoured this year to be able present this award to two extraordinarily powerful voices for LGBTI human rights," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s executive director. IRQO provides absolutely vital assistance for lesbian and gay Iranians fleeing the threat of death in their home country, literally helping to save and rebuild countless lives. Andres Rivera has been an enormously courageous pioneer for the rights of trans people in Chile. It is truly our pleasure to honour all that these remarkable activists have done to promote human rights and dignity for LGBTI people."

In 2005 Andres Rivera, a trans man, founded Organizacion de Transexuales por la Dignidad de la Diversidad, the only NGO in Chile dedicated to fighting for trans pople’s rights, which he currently heads. He has worked with government and the local health system to facilitate the evaluation, treatment and surgery of trans people, and organised the first Rancagua debate on the Civil Union Pact. Himself the victim of employment discrimination, he fought a landmark lawsuit, bringing issues of gender identity into the public view, finally winning the right for trans people to legally change their name and sex in 2007.

"I receive this award with humility and honour," said Andres Rivera. "On behalf of murdered trans people, of those who fight to build a more egalitarian and fair world, and of those trans people who day-by-day live with the pain of not being considered human beings."

IRQO serves as the representative of thousands of Iranian queers, giving visibility to a population the Iranian government is aggressively trying to silence. Based in Toronto, Canada, with members working out of Europe and Iran, IRQO has played a key role in documenting LGBT rights violations in Iran and in mobilizing public opinion to pressure Iranian authorities to end the inhumane treatment of sexual minorities. The organisation also helps gay and lesbian refugees around the world to fight deportation orders that would return them to Iran, where they could face torture or the death penalty-and helps them obtain asylum in friendly countries. IRQO strives to increase the self-esteem of Iranian queers by offering phone counseling inside Iran and raising awareness of homosexuality in the Persian-speaking media.

Arsham Parsi, IRQO’s executive director, said: "We are thrilled that the international community has come to acknowledge the LGBT rights struggle in Iran." We can no longer claim that no one cares about our plight. This is not an award just for IRQO. We accept this award on behalf of all Iranian queers who have been long fighting for their basic human rights. The stipend will allow IRQO to continue its campaign for human rights and to challenge homophobia in Iran."

Nominations for the Felipa Award are solicited each year from activists around the world. Nominees go through a rigorous review by the staff, board and the International Advisory Committee of IGLHRC. The award embodies the spirit of Felipa de Souza, who endured persecution and brutality after proudly declaring her intimacy with a woman during a 16th Century inquisition trial in Brazil.

January 13, 2009 – PinkNews

Chilean teacher saked for being a lesbian begins legal action

by Felicity Baker
A lawsuit has been filed against the Chilean state and justice system by a religion teacher who lost her job because she is a lesbian. Sandra Cecilia Pavez Pavez filed the lawsuit in the Inter-American Human Rights Court on January 8th, over a year after she lost her teaching post. She appeared last week with her lawyer, Alfredo Morgado and the President of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH).

Rolando Jimenez, President of MOVILH said: "Once again, people who have a different sexual orientation are systematically denied justice. Sandra’s case demonstrates how sexual minorities do not have rights in the eyes of this country’s judicial system, and the only option left is to seek international assistance."

Ms Pavez had taught at a public school in San Bernardo for 23 years. She lost her position in 2007 after admitting to church authorities she was a lesbian, resulting in her teaching certificate being taken away. Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez Errazuriz, head of San Bernardo Diocese, also urged Ms Pavez to seek psychological help. She has twice previously attempted to file lawsuits, one before a local court and another before Chile’s Supreme Court but both attempts were unsuccessful.

Ms Pavez said: "If there is no guarantee of my rights as a citizen in this country then what kind of citizen am I? A third or second class citizen? Maybe I don’t even have a category in my country." MOVILH have claimed there is discrimination against minority people in Chile, who make up 10% of the country’s population.

May 21, 2009 –

Chile: Dismissed for Being Gay, Former Police Officer Seeks Justice in Court

Posted by Daily Queer News – blabbeando
A former Chilean police detective who says he was dismissed from his post for being gay after fifteen years of service, has gone to Santiago’s Court of Appeals to challenge the ruling. From the Santiago Times:

On Thursday May 7 ex-Investigations Officer César Ricardo Contreras Segura presented a demand letter to the Santiago Court of Appeals requesting reinstatement in the police, reimbursement of his wages lost since his 2006 expulsion, and damages […] on claims that he was fired because the police department is homophobic.

Contreras was dismissed from the police in January of 2006, according to El Mercurio, and says that he decided to go to the Court of Appeals only after several attempts at seeking resolution through the Comptroller General office were ignored.

Read more

July 2009 – The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission "IGLHRC"

Two Transgender Women Attacked

The Issue
On Sunday, June 5, 2009, two transgender women, Clara Andrade Galdames and Grace Morales León, were attacked at the corner of Freire and Chacabuco streets in Valparaíso City by six men. The attackers kicked, punched, and beat them with wood and iron sticks, leaving Clara and Grace with multiple hematomas and cuts on their heads, legs and other parts of their bodies. Although the Chilean police have already detained the suspected attackers, these kinds of attacks are frequent in Valparaíso, a city known for being highly dangerous to people of minority sexual orientations and gender identities because of homophobic neo-Nazi groups, according to reports issued by human rights organizations.

Between 2002 and 2008 Chile has had 389 accusations and confirmed cases of discrimination against people of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, affecting an alarming 11% of transgender people.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) joins Sindicato de Transgeneras Afrodita and ACCIONGAY MHOL in requesting that you contact the Governor of Valparaíso as well as other Chilean authorities including the Minister of General Secretary, the Minister of Justice, the National Attorney of Public Ministry, a presidential candidate, and the Sr. Seremi of Justice of Valparaíso, demanding a full and fair investigation into these attacks and calling for the adoption of measures to prevent similar crimes in the future.

August 31, 2009 – Natasha Young

The Ugly Face of Homophobia in Chile

The Rough Guide to South America cites Sanitago as being one of the few cities in the continent that offer a ‘safe and welcoming haven for any sexual orientation’. On the surface, that might even be true. Bustling Bellas Artes and bohemian Bellavista boast a number of gay and lesbian clubs, bars and cafes.

However scratch behind the surface even a little and the truth rears its ugly head. A billboard in the Metro I spotted a few weeks ago (paid by) gives you an idea: ‘61% of Chileans have little or no respect for homosexuals’. 61% – a figure that surely puts into question the notion that Santiago welcomes gay and lesbian travellers with open arms.

It’s all relative I suppose. Perhaps in comparison to more conservative rural areas of Chile or other South American countries, Santiago is a liberal oasis. However, coming from Manchester, England, the homophobia here is hard to swallow. This weekend, Manchester is celebrating its annual Gay Pride festival in the very centre of the city.

Saturday was the traditional parade around the city with over 70 floats which included gay men and women from the local police force and fire stations. As every year it was watched by thousands of people including families, grandmothers and children. Of course, Manchester has its share of homophobia too, just like anywhere, but the sheer number of openly gay businesses, charities, politicians, events and TV programmes in the city are testimony to its open-mindedness.

Today in English class in downtown Santiago, I mentioned that Manchester was celebrating Gay Pride. One of my students immediately responded, “I don’t like gays”. She told me that she’d seen a similar parade in Canada and that she hadn’t liked it because there were too many lesbians there. She thought that lesbians were women who “made the decision to be lesbian because they wanted to be fashionable or because they were too ugly to get a man”. She said this without shame or without thinking for a moment that anyone might have a different opinion. She was a young, educated woman who firmly believed that homosexual was not something you were, but rather something you decided to be.

It wasn’t the first time I’d come across such blatant homophobia. I recently went out for some drinks with a group of young Chilean university students. During the course of the conversation, I mentioned that I had gay friends. “So you’re gay then?” “No, I just have gay friends”. This took a while to sink in. I talked about Manchester and the fact that gay marriage and gay adoption were accepted in England. The same girl chipped in, “Oh, but gay parents have gay babies”. I asked her how, with that logic, straight parents had gay children, but she didn’t answer. Perhaps she was the daughter of the taxi driver who, during my first month in the city, pointed out two guys together and told me that there weren’t men, they were ‘gays’. Worse still, on the computer terminal in the staff room at work, I was blocked from reading an article on the internet about Germain Greer because it contained the words ‘gay rights’.

I’m not gay, lesbian or even bi-sexual, but it saddens me deeply that such conservative, bigoted and hateful attitudes exist here. For me, a person’s sexual orientation is something they are born with. If a guy prefers to be with another guy, I really don’t see how that’s different from his preference for white wine over red, or liking the colour blue more than the colour green. You can’t choose who you fall in love with any more than you can choose your family or your neighbours.

Some will no doubt blame homophobic attitudes here on the fact that Chile is a relatively new democracy after years of dictatorship or on the influence of the Catholic Church. Others may blame the lesbian and gay community for being too passive and not standing up for their rights. But to be fair to them, with the attitudes on display here, who can blame them if they’re still in the closet?

December 3, 2009 – Global Post

Chile’s elections: “Who gets the gay vote?”- Gay men are holding hands and lesbians are kissing on prime-time TV, as candidates try to win over the gay vote.

by Pascale Bonnefoy – GlobalPost
Santiogo, Chile — It’s unheard of: Gay men holding hands and lesbians kissing each other on prime-time television, brought to you by conservative and Catholic presidential candidates.
Welcome to “Who gets the gay vote?” in the Chilean elections. If the generally accepted belief that 10 percent of the overall population is gay is true, winning those voters over is a matter of political life or death.

The Dec. 13 general elections will not decide who will be the next president of Chile, but they will determine who goes on to the second round in January. As it stands now, only one thing is clear: right-wing billionaire Sebastian Pinera will be on the ballot both times. His final opponent will be either Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei, of the governing Concertacion coalition, or Marco Enriquez-Ominami, who pulled out of that coalition earlier this year to run as independent.

Now they are all scrambling to appeal to voters, and gay rights have become a central feature of their campaigning. But the gay community is still wondering whether this is all for show or whether it portends real advances in a country where sodomy among adults was penalized with jail time until just 10 years ago. Pinera wasn’t the first candidate — in fact, he was the last — to support the idea of legalizing the rights of gay couples to inheritance, patrimony and health and social security benefits. But he made the news because of where he comes from: a conservative coalition with leaders linked to the Opus Dei that has consistently opposed women’s sexual and reproductive rights, divorce and sex education in schools. Gay rights weren’t even part of its vocabulary.

Then a couple of weeks ago, Pinera’s television spots began showing a gay couple holding hands, with the candidate speaking on their behalf: “Today, people accept us,” he says. “Now we need a country that respects us.” Chilean electoral laws provide free daily five-minute television spots for each presidential candidate during the 30 days prior to the elections.

March 18, 2010 – Bay Area Reporter

Chilean LGBT infrastructure damaged by earthquake

by Rex Wockner
Chile’s leading gay rights group, Movimiento de Integraci—n y Liberaci—n Homosexual (Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement), on March 11 released preliminary findings on earthquake damage to the LGBT community infrastructure.
A magnitude 8.8 earthquake occurred off the coast of Chile on February 27. Hundreds of people were killed and property damage was significant.

The Frida Kahlo Lesbian Cultural Center in Chillán was destroyed, MOVILH said, and the headquarters of the Chilean AIDS Prevention Corporation and ACCIONGAY in Valpara’so was severely damaged. "The house is ready to fall down," said Marcelo Aguilar, ACCIONGAY’s Valpara’so regional coordinator. "One of the saddest aspects is the loss of equipment that we worked hard to acquire for our headquarters over the past 10 years." All of the organization’s services have been suspended.

Just south of Santiago, in the town of Paine, the gay pub Vunker "was rendered completely uninhabitable," MOVILH reported. "The homes of many Chilean LGBT activists are in poor condition, while other activists who fight against homophobia and transphobia in Chile are still missing," the organization said. "The most serious problem we are facing is that various activists have lost their relatives and friends," the group said. "One tragic case is that of Karin Avaria, a transsexual activist from MOVILH, who has lost seven relatives." For more information, see

28 December, 2010 – MSM Global Forum
Google translation Spanish to English

Mapuches against the Chile’s media campaign "Who Has AIDS?"

Court Of Appeals
Williams Patricio Morales Madariaga, national identity card number 14366841-k, Chile, belonging to the Mapuche-williche as recorded on the certificate No. 0101954 issued by CONADI accompanying the corresponding otrosí of crafts, President Chiloé Kelwo-grouping, organization of people living with HIV / AIDS residing in Cesar Vera Street N º 212, Alto de Gamboa Castro City, for itself and on behalf of the organization before individually to VS Grace respectfully say:

That found within the legal time frame and under the provisions of Article 20 of the Constitution of the Republic and the Supreme Court Decision on Appeal Processing and Fault Protection June 27, 1992 and subsequent amendments thereto, I hereby produce proceedings against the Ministry of Health of Chile, represented here by the minister of Don Jaime Mañalich, doctor, resident in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, for the responsibility that it deserves in the launch of the public health campaign called illegal and arbitrary people with AIDS, in response to the findings of fact and law which I shall report:

Read full report.