Gay Columbia News & Reports 2011

Gay Columbia web sites:
Quia Gay Colombia

Poor Bu Hhappy
Miss Colombia Gay Medellin

August 19, 2005
Comment from Lonely Planet Thorn Tree LGBT web site
Bogota is a big gay town. There are many clubs, bars, bathhouses. Most of the action is located in the Chapinero district (some people refer to it as Chapigay).
Best clubs:

Theatron; Lotus (a large bar above Theatron);
El Closet (on the La Calera area, ten minutes away from the city);
Blue (good bar in the Zona Rosa)
Have the usual precautions when speaking with people; don´t take people to your room without extensively getting to know them. Most people are very friendly. A word of advice: don´t accept candies, cigarettes or drinks from someone who you just met; they may have put some sleeping drug in it and plan rob you.

1 High School Students Speak About Sexual Diversity 3/11

2 Medellín policy adopted for the LGBT community 4/11

3 Colombia Corrects Its Constitution, Recognizes Gay Citizens 6/11

4 Colombian Court Effectively Legalizes Gay Marriage 7/11

5 Homophobia–Beyond Religion 7/11

6 Colombia Considers Four Bills On Gay Marriage, Civil Unions 11/11

5 March 2011 – GlobalVoices

Colombia: High School Students Speak About Sexual Diversity

In Colombia, the government of Medellin has started a campaign to raise awareness on sexual diversity in high schools, and part of the campaign includes online videos of different students speaking about their experiences.

Take Isabela, for example: She’s been an advocate for herself since she had to speak to government authorities to intercede on her behalf and get her parents to support her decision to return to school not as a boy, as she had done to that moment, but as the girl she felt she was. After that first hitch, she found that her school not only supported her decision but actually commended her for being true to herself. She insists that although some students are hostile, she’s also found support and less harassment than she expected. However, she’s also had to knock some heads together to get the point across that she won’t stand for being abused or insulted.

Katerine believes that being honest about her sexual identity has been the key to being accepted. In her case, classmates took it in stride when she came out as bisexual and she insists that even if some people feel strange or reject her, it is their loss and not hers.

Mauricio also came out as gay in his high school: he’s found that most rejection comes from ignorance and fear and he fights back with knowledge. When his classmates tell him he can’t sit or go into an area because it is “for men” he insists that he is a student of the school, and a human being. He also declares that the problem is not with gay people, but with homophobia.

Zulangie decided to come out as a lesbian in her school as a way to remove prejudices: teachers, students and administration had put up posters and had said homophobic statements so she decided that being up front about who she was would be a better way to prove that their assumptions and prejudices were wrong.

Harold is straight, but in his interview he takes the opportunity to speak on behalf of the gay community and how those who have come out of the closet can help those who haven’t to open up and be

And teacher Luz Ángela also gives her perspective: She teaches Ethics and Values at a High School and underlines that they respect students personal decisions and they encourage others to respect diversity: that High School should be a safe place for students to be themselves while learning how to deal with feelings, emotions and caring.

April 20, 2011 – Sentidog
(Translated from Spanish)

Medellín policy adopted for the LGBT community

Medellin – The City Council of Medellin, Colombia’s second city, a public policy for the LGBT community that rejects discrimination, provides financial resources for social and cultural programs and involves the creation of a community center where the community can receive counseling and health, similar to those existing in Bogotá.

By 16 votes in the second debate was the initiative of Alderman approved Luis Bernardo Vélez, ASI movement (Alianza Social Indígena). Thus, Medellín became the first city in Colombia with a public policy for LGBT people. The initiative aims to materialize the municipal government programs aimed at the transformation of the imagery and situations that give rise to discrimination and exclusion of persons belonging to this group, allocate financial resources to implement projects that achieve respect for their dignity and rights and get their participation in decision-making and follow up on Public Policy.

The draft agreement also creates the Municipal Committee on Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity, charged with implementing the Strategic Plan and Operational Plan of the public policy that cuts across all departments of the municipality, and leaves of the Advisory Council monitor the compliance. Significantly, the fact that sexual diversity will be the exclusive focus of the Ministry of Citizenship Culture and Health, and will become a cornerstone of the local government. Thus ensures that projects toward this community does not depend on the will of the mayor or the council of the day.

Herran the Representative Jairo Vargas (a sort of Ombudsman at the municipal level) said that this means a breakthrough for the city that allows you to "overcome situations of discrimination and exclusion and reach higher levels of equity and equality among people." Walter Bustamante, a researcher with Human Rights Unit, considered very significant passage of this bill, "the result of work by more than a decade have made activists to demand recognition of their rights."

Jose Manuel Bermudez, one of the leaders of the LGBT movement in Medellín, it is an achievement of several years of struggle and conviction to the council by activists and social organizations. Daniela Garcia, a transgender woman, noted for its part is still the ignorance of some people towards the identity of this community makes it vulnerable and that’s why it’s important political tool.

June 16, 2011 – Sentidog
Spanish to English translation

Colombia Corrects Its Constitution, Recognizes Gay Citizens

Changes in the Colombian Constitution that deliver improvements in social treatment for gay residents of this country, despite missing consider radical changes. Before the 1991 Constitution, homosexuals in Colombia felt like criminals. "We were second class citizens, but a fifth," admits Adriana Gonzalez, social worker dedicated to education and who now develops software for the recognition of the LGBT community. "I worship and adore the Constitution the Constitutional Court because in all these years have made a sensible recognition of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I feel we live in this country guarantee, "says Adriana.

For her, and about 4 million homosexuals estimated there are in Colombia, the prequel to the promulgation of the Constitution is as dark lines that many prefer to forget and that few recall episodes not so unusual as to be teachers, notaries and members of the Armed Forces. "The teachers’ statute, the rules to become a notary or requirements to be part of the armed forces barred their doors to homosexuals in this country. Receiving treatment of criminals, because from the Criminal Code of 1936 criminalized the relationships between same-sex couples, "says Marcela Sanchez of the NGO Colombia Diversa.

Now, after 20 years of experience under the provisions of the Constitution homosexuals have a list of items, starting with number 13, which provides that all persons are born free and equal before the law passed by the number 16, on the free development of personality, but with 42 clauses, because it states that the family is constituted by "the free decision of a man and a woman marry". The latter is perhaps the main headache of the community, because its wording implies that homosexuals have not been able to advance on two fronts: the possibility of civil marriage and the joint adoption of children. "I am a citizen, pay taxes, but I do not even the State recognizes the right to decide who to marry," says Adriana.

In the past four years, the social worker has a union, acknowledged before a notary, Marcela, a systems engineer, with whom he shares a passion for travel. The way you have been waiting is likely to have a civil marriage, as celebrated by heterosexuals. "So my family has trouble recognizing that I have a life of Marcela," he admits. The Constitutional Court has given recognition of rights, benefits and responsibilities similar to heterosexual couples, can declare their place of residence and family home and prevent their being seized, access to health plan benefits of the Armed Forces be eligible for housing subsidy programs of the Government, obtain compensation for the death of mate in traffic accidents, among others.

The ruling of January 28, 2009, also provides immigration rights, protection measures when they are victims of heinous crimes and the right not to incriminate her partner in lawsuits. Other faults of the same court recognized rights, the pension, health and membership in the pension system and the right to food. In legal terms, sounds good, but in cultural terms the task is still pending. "To buy a funeral insurance that includes my mother, who does not like being called that, I had to take the writing on the showing that Marcela is my wife. Or, on another occasion, at a hotel in Villavicencio not want us to accept payment of our account because they said they only admitted the payment by such men do ".

It is discrimination, according to Marcela Sanchez, still living in other aspects of daily life: "It shows in the non-broadcast rights for homosexuals, unpunished in research related to the deaths of gays or lesbians, violence against transvestites in suicides among adolescents misunderstood by their sexual orientation or in violation of the judgments of the Court. "

Still, with outstanding awards, Adriana Gutierrez says there are reasons to smile in Colombia and encouraged to give new struggles. "The Constitution has given us the opportunity to live in a democratic country, has given us the possibility to homosexuals, to us, lesbians, to be citizens."

July 27, 2011 – On Top Magazine

Colombian Court Effectively Legalizes Gay Marriage

by On Top Magazine Staff
Colombia’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday mandated the legal recognition of gay couples. A majority of the 9-judge panel agreed that gay and lesbian couples have the right to form a family and gave Congress two years to legislate on gay unions, Bogota-based El Tiempo reported. “If by the 20th of July, 2013 Congress has not acted, gay couples can go to a notary and with the same solemnity of a heterosexual marriage enter a union similar to one between a heterosexual couple,” said Judge Juan Carlos Henao, the court’s president.

Whether the ruling means full marriage for gay couples remains to be seen. “The name of the institution, be it civil marriage or otherwise, will be up to Congress,” the court said. The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops last week urged the court to uphold Colombia’s current law that restricts marriage to heterosexual couples. Last year, Argentina became the first Latin American country to approve marriage equality. Gay and lesbian couples can also marry in the city-state of Mexico City. Mexico’s highest court has ruled that all states must recognize the marriages of gay couples originating from Mexico City.

July 27, 2011 –
Spanish to English translation

Homophobia–Beyond Religion

Maybe homophobia in Colombia has religious roots, but clearly extends far beyond the religious sphere. Homophobia is endemic in Colombia. Propose to the Catholic Church (or Episcopal Conference (or Christians in general)) as main target of criticism and chanting anti-discrimination is an easy game but strategically safe. It is safe because even though the Church actually to prevent political pressure to adopt more progressive laws about its reasons for holding these positions are dogmatic and difficult to manipulate through the protest. Somehow one could say that, as suggested by Mauritius, being homophobic is part of their mission. In societies where it has been a more positive attitude towards homosexuality as the Catholic Church persists in its appointments to Leviticus 18-20 and delusional memories of what happened in Sodom.

Given the above, I think the goal of the campaign against homophobia should not be the Church, but those who exercise the homophobia of religious conviction but out of habit, who are almost all. A broad sector of Colombian society has a distant city with religion and hardly pay attention to the follies of the clergy with regard to sexuality (use contraception, have sex before marriage, & c.), but still have attitudes homophobic-based prejudice, ignorance and fear of difference and the unknown. That is the real obstacle.

In Colombia the rate of staff is essentially orthogonal homophobia political affiliation, those who call themselves "left" or "progressive" neighborhood do not want queers prefer black, and that are also racist (see Latinobarómetro 2009). Activists should reduce their attempts to silence the priests and instead concentrate their efforts on winning the sympathy and support in this sector describe. While the battle against discrimination of homosexuals to be perceived as a cause of those affected (a tiny minority, mostly invisible, and to top it because of homophobia) and not as a broad social problem, a problem with our negative relationship with sex, intimacy, and the quirky, small victories and agonizing in the courts and Congress will be fragile and always at risk of going back.

November 20, 2011 – On Top Magazine

Colombia Considers Four Bills On Gay Marriage, Civil Unions

by On Top Magazine Staff
Colombia is considering four bills on gay unions after the nation’s Constitutional Court mandated the legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples. The court’s majority agreed that gay couples have the right to form a family and gave Congress two years to legislate on gay unions. If Congress fails to act by July 20, 2013, then “gay couples can go to a notary and with the same solemnity of a heterosexual marriage enter a union similar to one between a heterosexual couple,” said Judge Juan Carlos Henao, the court’s president.

Two of the country’s dominant political parties and two alternative parties have since introduced legislation that addresses the court’s ruling. The Partido Social de Unidad Nacional, which holds the largest number of Congressional seats, has introduced a civil unions law, while the nation’s third largest party, the Partido Liberal Colombiano, is backing a bill that would legalize gay marriage. The Polo Democratico Alternativo has introduced a gay marriage law and the Partido Verde Colombiano is behind a civil unions bill.

The nation’s second largest party, the Partido Conservador Colombiano, a conservative party, has not acted.