Most people who travel to Ecuador come to experience the variety of landscapes, climates, cultures, fauna and flora that this small country has to offer. Many tourists visiting Ecuador go to the amazing Galapagos Islands. However the rest of Ecuador has a great deal to offer.
About the size of the state of Colorado, Ecuador has the highest population density of any South American country and also has a high proportion of indigenous people with their unique cultures and languages. Added to that Ecuador offers a tropical coast-line with Guayaquil as the largest city in Ecuador; snow-capped volcanoes such as Cotopaxi and Chimborazo with an altitude of approximately 6000m; highland market towns like Otavalo and Saquisili; the historic colonial town of Cuenca; Amazon rain-forest with its unique bio-diversity, and a capital city located practically on the Equator which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ecuador has undergone a remarkable transformation in the last few years. On 10th August 1998 the constitution of Ecuador was reformed to "recognise the equality of all before the law without discrimination against age, sex, ethnic orgin, colour, religion, political affiliation, economic position, sexual orientation, state of health, incapacity, or difference of any kind." These rights are possibly the most enlightened in South America and may be the envy of some of the more economically advanced countries in the world.
Nevertheless eight years is a relatively short time to change attitudes. Prior to this Ecuadorians could be arrested for offences against public morals on any pretext like, for example, just being present in a gay bar. So, although Quito has become a little more liberal in the last few years bear in mind that Ecuador generally still has a macho and conservative culture. Homosexuality continues to be viewed negatively so adjust your behaviour accordingly and keep a low profile in public. Acceptance will only be achieved slowly and by not provoking reactionary elements.
Regrettably some some authorities and police in Ecuador haven’t yet got the message. On 2nd April 2002 Amnesty International issued a report entitled ‘Pride and Prejudice: Time to break the vicious circle of impunity for abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in which are documented cases of homophobic harassment, torture and ill-treatment against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people, in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil.’
On the rest of these pages can be found my Gay Guide to having fun in Quito, Ecuador.
All night life in Quito has suffered a serious set-back since August 2001. By decree of the mayor all bars must close at 22h00 Monday-Thursday and 24h00 Friday-Saturday, and discos must close at 24h00 Monday-Thursday and 01h00 Friday-Saturday. Business owners are dismayed by this decree and hope to persuade the authorities to revert to the former regulations. Some business owners are now ignoring these hours but if you are caught in a police raid you must have your passport or cedula.
The gay scene is relatively quiet from Sunday to Thursday but Friday and Saturday are the nights when everything takes off.
Most of the gay places are in or near the districts of Mariscal and Colon in Quito new town. However these areas are definitely not safe at night so take a taxi every time. The doormen at the gay places are very helpful so take their advice.
The gay scene in Quito is free of dress-code, uniforms, and clones; dress for all occasions and places is casual light-weight summer wear (although you will need a light sweater or casual jacket in the cool evenings). There is no age-ism. There is also a lack of attitude. You will find Quiteños very friendly, interested in foreigners (gringos), and a fair proportion speak some English. It does help to be able to speak some Spanish, but not speaking Spanish isn’t a bar to having a good time. Do I have to tell you where the best language classroom is?
If you want some information about the gay scene in other cities outside Quito go to the Gay Links page where you can find links to some gay Ecuador websites in Spanish.
Any girls travelling to Quito wanting information about the scene for womyn are invited to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
28th March 2008 – PinkNews
Evangelicals attack Ecuador’s protection of sexual minorities
by Lucy Durnin
A member of Ecuador’s National Assembly has caused outrage throughout the gay community by comparing homosexuality to paedophilia and bestiality. Rosanna Queirolo, a former model, television news anchor and triathlon athlete, won election on a manifesto of environmental protection and maintaining links with the country’s large expatriate community, most of whom are in the US. However, since joining the Assembly she has caused controversy by embracing the country’s ultra-conservative Christian Evangelical movement and campaigning against constitutional protection for homosexuals.
In 1998 Ecuador became the first country in the Americas to adopt constitutional language granting protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. On 22nd March Querilo stunned legislators, including some members from own party, when she stood up at a public hearing and asked the Constitutional Assembly to consider changing parts of the constitution referring to "sexual orientation". She claimed the word "orientation" should be changed to "preference" as in her interpretation, orientation could also be applied to "paedophiles and other degenerates."
Despite unanimous outrage from the gay community, as well as a barrage of emails criticising her attack on a vulnerable community, Querilo expanded on her comments in the press. On March 25th, she commented to the El Universo newspaper: "The best thing would be to remove the words ‘sexual orientation’ and to include ‘sexual preference’. The word ‘orientation’ leaves the door open to paedophiles, to bestiality.
"Sexual orientation can include not only homosexual, bisexual and transsexual groups but also paedophile organisations. God created us to procreate and the only way to procreate is through the union between a man and a woman. Any human invention cannot fit within a constitution." She also added that God should be named in the Constitution as the "ruler of mankind."
Evangelical groups have rallied in support of Querilo’s comments, announcing that they were on their way to gathering two million signatures demanding that God’s name be included in the constitution, that abortion should be penalised and that same-sex marriages should be banned. However, members of her own party are disturbed by Queirolo’s views and internal calls have been made for an official condemnation of her statements.
Members of the PAIS party are said to be drafting a statement unequivocally stating that same sex marriage, abortion and the invocation of the name of God are not constitutional matters and will not be considered in the new constitution. Assembly member Tania Hermidia, also from PAIS told El Universo that the proposals for a change in constitution "reveal a profound ignorance in what concerns human rights". Fernando Cordero, Vice President of the Assembly added: "Those who promote this debate seek to tarnish the name of the Assembly, to divide Assembly members and the Ecuadorian people"
April 07, 2008 – Blabbeando
President Correa falls into political trap, accedes to right-wing demands, says gay couples deserve some rights
Last week, US-based conservative religious web portal LifeSite posted an article championing Ecuadorian Assemblymember Rosanna Queirolo and her efforts "to preserve family values in the nation’s constitution" ("Famous Model and TV Announcer Wins Battle to Protect Life and Family Values in Ecuadoran Constitution," April 1, 2008).
Queirolo had launched a well-publicized effort to remove anti-gay discrimination protections from Ecuador’s constitution and to eliminate any access to abortion in a country that already bans them except in cases of rape or incest (it was those "in case of" instances that she also wanted to eliminate in part by establishing that life should be recognized by the constitution at conception instead of at birth).
She was soon joined by a few colleagues and by members of the Ecuadorian religious right who took to the streets to demand further changes to the constitution including access to ex-gay treatments for gays who wanted to be "cured," a ban on the official recognition of any partnership that was not between a man and a woman, and the inclusion of God’s name in the magna carta.
Initially there were rumors that Queirolo would be censured by her political party, PAIS, particularly for statements made on the Assembly floor linking gays to pedophiles.
In addition, President Rafael Correa (above) used his weekly radio show to categorically deny that he’d let the constitutional re-drafting process be entangled in these issues claiming that 1) The issue of same-sex marriage was a non-issue since the gay community wasn’t asking for marriage and the government already had established that marriages could only be between a man and a woman; 2) Similarly, that abortion was also not a constitutional matter and that the country already had laws banning abortion and was respecting "life;" and 3) That including the word "God" in the constitution would discriminate against people who had religions other than Christian as well as atheists.
President Correa says he fell into a political trap, accedes to some right-wing demands, but still says that the rights of same sex couples should be recognized: Since my last post on the issue, there has been a change in fortunes.
For one, instead of censuring Queirolo, the PAIS party released a 6-point official position paper on April 1st which seemed to cave in to some of the demands by the religious right.
Among those positions:
The preamble to the Constitution will include the name of God and the diverse forms of religiosity, spirituality and beliefs of Ecuadorians in an ecumenical manner
The new Constitution will guarantee life. And will recognize and protect it in all phases, including care and protection from conception
The State will strengthen families as the nucleus of society. Marriage will remain as the union of a man and a woman, recognizing civil unions.
There are caveats but, in short, PAIS, which happens to be the party affiliation of the President, pretty much embraced some of the language that the right wing had demanded. They did close by also stating that "Nobody will be discriminated based on their sexual orientation."
On his radio show on Saturday President Correa admitted that he’d fallen into a political trap.
Ecuador Inmediato reports that Correa characterized the 5-hour meeting that led to the release of the PAIS statement as time spent on matters that did not have any "transcendence." He said that he personally still believed that the word God should stay out of the Constitution but admitted that it would now be included. He made a pledge to continue allowing "therapeutic abortions" in the case where a doctor deemed it necessary to save a woman’s life or "in case of sexual violations." And, on the issue of same-sex partners he said that he would fight to guarantee certain legal rights of common law partnerships although he stopped short of saying whether those same-sex common law partnerships themselves would be recognized (not sure if any form of partnership between same-sex couples would be recognized if the constitution ends up enshrining the family as the nucleus of society and only recognizing family as being constituted by that conformed between a man and a woman).
"Let’s not continue to play the right wing’s game," Correa said, "let’s not fall into their traps any longer, let’s discuss the topics that should really be included in the Constitution, let’s keep working."
Queirolo, for her part and having done the damage, promptly announced on April 2nd that she would be leaving the PAIS political party, according to El Comercio, although she made a commitment to follow through on making sure that the changes she championed made it to the final version of the Constitution.
May 20, 2008 – Blabbeando
Ecuador: Kidnapping, torture, confinement at ex-gay therapy centers
Speaking of ex-gay conferences in Mexico: At least they are shrouded in the friendly veneer of a "we don’t really want to turn ALL gays straight, it’s just for those folks who want it" message. No such public relations spin in Ecuador. On Sunday, acknowledging that the International Day Against Homophobia had been observed the day before, El Universo decided to turn its eye on a number of unauthorized gay "treatment" centers with two searing articles
In "Prayer and seclusion to ‘cure’ gays" reporters Maria Alejandra Torres and Marjorie Ortiz expose a network of 140 rehab centers that promise to cure homosexuality despite not being authorized to offer such treatments (even if eighty of them are said to be officially certified as drug abuse and alcoholism rehabilitation centers). They’re not authorized to "treat" homosexuality, the reporters say, because no medical authority in the country recognizes such treatments, because some states such as Guayas actually bans such "therapies" and because homosexuality is not considered to be an illness. much less a crime ever since Ecuador struck down sodomy statutes ten years ago.
“There is no authorization for the functioning of clinics that correct these sexual behaviors because they are not an illness, but instead an option" says Patricia Castro, coordinator of the Sanitary Authority of the Health Department of Guayas, "It’s a lie, a local sham, this implies that the professionals aren’t serious."
El Universal interviews Chiqui, a 22 year old transgender woman who says she knew she was a girl as far back as 6 years of age. She tells the paper: "My father paid $1,000 to have them lock me up in a clinic because he wanted me to change. Four men practically kidnapped me on the street. I wore my hair long and, since I had already taken hormones, my breasts had grown. They clipped my hair. Myself and another three homosexuals. They would lock us up in rooms of less than a meter wide. So small that we had to stand on our feet, in the dark, with flies." The place where she was taken was God’s Paradise, a drug and alcohol rehab center, led by Jorge Flor who some residents call "My pastor." "When I tried to escape," says Chiqui, "they hit me until they broke my nose. They’d ask if I was a man or a woman, they’d take our pants down, they’d throw water between our legs and would put live cables to shock us with electricity." Flor denies all charges and says there are no homosexuals at God’s Paradise. "Look," he told the reporters as he pointed at a group of men praying outside the center in a yard, "They are all men."
Jorge, who didn’t give his last name and is a member of a local LGBT rights organization, said he had experienced similar experiences: "They gave me hormones that changed my voice. They would put on videos with men and, if we happened to get an erection, they would hit us. They would wake us up at 5:30 and, if we had not committed an infraction, they would give us breakfast. They applied electric shocks to our private parts and on our hands." Jorge also said that the center was led by men who called themselves pastors and claimed that they would touch "patients" to see if they would become aroused, and if not, declare then "cured." Both said that they’d been taken to the center against their will but the paper also interviewed a young lesbian who said that she had registered at one of these centers willingly hoping that is she became straight her parents might stop suffering over her lesbianism. In her case, the 20 year old went to the Youth Home led by Dr. Eugenia Macias.
"Even though I never tried to escape, they made me take three pills that would make me sleep all day long, even though my mates would tell me that I was awake, but I almost don’t remember a thing. On the fifth day I woke up at the Liberty Clinic, I don’t know how I was taken there. There, those who misbehaved were locked up in a room without a mattress. My mom would send me make up and dresses. They charged $200 a month." Macias initially denied the charges and said that the Youth Home is only for people with mental problems but eventually admitted that there was a period in which some people might have come from her late husband’s drug rehab clinic after he passed away. She said that they were sent elsewhere.
Others are upfront about their desire to change the gays, even if their efforts are not recognized by Ecuadorian authorities, and in their case they embrace the nicer, gentler public relations angle. Nelson Quintero who leads a (big surprise!) evangelical center says “No cure is offered, just wellness. The assistance must be spiritual and professional, but they should not be locked up." El Universo notes that even though some Catholic denominations also support these therapies (including the US-based Courage organization which claims they have a site in Ecuador), most of the ones pushing for them in Ecuador happen to be evangelical ministries. Evangelical leaders include Assemblymember Balerico Estacio who (big shock!) was among those who sought to eliminate constitutional protections for gays and lesbians back in March. "They are demons that invade the body," he says in defense of the centers, "The natural self does not understand them, even if its psychological. Nothing can be done if it’s not from God’s spirit."
In the second article ("’Cured’ but still without a partner") 50 year old Nelson Ballesteros identifies as both a pastor and an ex-gay who found it hard to behave as a man after years of dressing up like a woman. Ballesteros says that he began to get closer to God twenty-six years ago but has faced "relapses." He swears that he hasn’t had sexual relations with men since 2001, nor – as a matter of fact – with women. "I haven’t been decisive, but I don’t reject women," he says.
45 year old Luis, only identified by his first name, shares a photograph of himself dressed as a woman 23 years ago but says that he was saved by God on January 20th of 2000 . He is now a married evangelical preacher with two kids. His story, El Universo says, has been used by many of these ex-gay organization to spread the word throughout Latin America that gayness can be cured. At the New Life center, gay "clients" have to stay for at least a year. Timoteo Zárate, who identifies as ex-gay, says that gays are separated from drug addicts and admits that he oversees two interns who were fifteen and twenty-one years of age when they arrived atthe center.
Kudos to El Universo for exposing such shameful practices. Let’s hope it leads to meaningful reform.
31 July 2008 – 365gay.com
Catholic Church Blasts Ecuador’s New Gay-Positive Constitution
by The Associated Press
(Quito) A top Roman Catholic official said the country’s draft constitution is incompatible with the faith because of its provisions on abortion and same-sex unions. A special assembly controlled by leftist President Rafael Correa’s political movement recently approved the 444-article constitution, which will be put to a national referendum Sept. 28. More than 90 percent of Ecuador’s nearly 14 million people are Catholic.
Archbishop Antonio Arregui Yarza of Guayaquil criticized the draft charter for including what he called ambiguous abortion laws and granting the same benefits to same-sex couples and married heterosexual couples. “A union between homosexuals is not a family,” Arregui said in a news conference Monday. “We’re going to request that the entire Christian conscience takes note of the nonnegotiable incompatibilities of this constitution with our faith.” He also said the proposed document is “leaving the door open to the deletion of a new baby.”
September 29, 2008 – The Washington Post
Voters in Ecuador Approve New Constitution–Allows Civil Unions for Gay Couples – New Document Would Enhance Presidential Powers, Allow Consecutive Terms
by Joshua Partlow and Stephan Küffner – Washington Post Foreign Service
Rio De Janeiro – Ecuadorans approved by a wide margin Sunday a new constitution that would expand the powers of President Rafael Correa and open the possibility that he could serve a decade in office. Preliminary and unofficial results Sunday evening indicated that at least 65 percent of Ecuadorans voted for the constitution. That result, if confirmed in final totals, would hand an important political victory to Correa, the 45-year-old former economic minister who has made this a central issue in his first two years as president.
"Today Ecuador has decided on a new nation. The old structures are defeated," Correa told cheering supporters in the coastal city of Guayaquil. "This confirms the citizens’ revolution." The victory, Correa said, gives him the opportunity to effect rapid social change in pursuit of his vision of alleviating poverty and weakening the traditional elite as he implements what he calls "21st-century socialism." Voting is mandatory for Ecuadorans ages 18 to 64, and nearly 10 million people were called to vote in the referendum, although absenteeism normally runs at close to 30 percent. The president of Ecuador’s Supreme Electoral Court said he expected official results by Monday afternoon.
Rewriting constitutions has become a favorite tactic of a new crop of South American leaders eager to solidify their political agendas. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, an ideological ally of Correa’s, increased his powers with a new constitution after he took office in 1999. Another like-minded politician, President Evo Morales of Bolivia, is fighting for a new constitution, but he has confronted entrenched, and sometimes violent, opposition led by regional governors who say he is mishandling the economy and threatening their interests. In Ecuador, a 130-member constituent assembly — a majority of which supported Correa — convened to write the new constitution. The constitution gives the president the ability to abolish the National Congress once each term, although such a move would trigger presidential elections.
Opponents of the president say the document would allow Correa to consolidate too much control over the economy, as well as over strategic sectors such as oil and mining, without sufficient checks on his authority. And some voters said Sunday that the new constitution would create a bloated state that will not be able to meet expectations. "The state will be unable to meet demand due to a lack of resources," said Lucia Cordero, 42, who was voting in La Floresta parish in northern Quito, an area home to both working-class and middle-class residents. "It’s too statist."
Ecuador currently prohibits presidents from serving more than four consecutive years, although recent history shows that holding on to power even that long is difficult amid the country’s tumultuous politics. The country has inaugurated eight presidents in the past decade. The new constitution would allow two consecutive four-year terms, which, if Correa wins new elections planned for February, could put him in position for 10 years in office. However, government spokesman Vinicio Alvarado recently said that Correa would only serve another six years if he wins.
Correa’s supporters emphasize that the 444-article document — Ecuador’s 20th constitution — prohibits discrimination, respects private property, will increase spending on health care and the poor, and enshrines more rights for indigenous groups. In a country rich with ecological treasures, including the Galapagos Islands and part of the Amazon rain forest, the constitution also calls on government to avoid measures that would destroy ecosystems or drive species to extinction — the first such measure of its kind, according to Ecuadoran officials. The constitution would allow civil unions for gay couples.
"We expect a change. We expect the government to meet its promises," said Beatriz Astudillo, outside a polling station in Quito. Correa, educated in the United States and Belgium, was elected in December 2006 with 58 percent of the vote. He has been critical of the type of pro-privatization, free-market policies often referred to as the "Washington consensus," and he has taken bold if controversial moves in his mission against those he considers the corrupt rich.
Correa was criticized in July when he ordered a state takeover of major television stations. The government said they and other businesses were owned by two Ecuadoran brothers and former bankers accused of owing the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Correa was accused by opponents of attempting to use the TV stations to garner support for the new constitution, though the confiscations were also widely popular. Correa dampened expectations that the broad changes outlined in the constitution could be introduced overnight. "We can’t achieve anything immediately," he said, adding that new laws will have to be passed in the near-term to implement the guidelines of the constitution. "We don’t have a minute to lose."
December 21, 2008 – Blabbeando
Ecuador: President Rafael Correa vows to fight homophobia in wake of NYC murder
In a week that saw the remains of José Osvaldo Sucuzhañay flown from the United States to Ecuador to be buried near his family yesterday, Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa (right) has vowed to fight against homophobia and xenophobia in his country and elsewhere.
From a Spanish-language article by AFP, an excerpt of which I have translated to English: The Ecuadorean immigrant José Sucuzhañay, of 31 years of age, was "vilely assassinated for xenophobic reasons, for homophobia; They mistook him for a homosexual and was with his brother" as they walked in Brooklyn, New York, said Correa. "We will fight together … to forever uproot these aberrations of certain maladjusted [individuals], uproot them from the face of the earth, from humanity: Xenophobia, homophobia and all kinds of discrimination, all kinds of violence," he said.
Sucuzhañay and his brother Romel were attacked in the early morning of December 7th by what are described as three black men who wielded a bat. While Romel was able to escape without serious injury, José passed away on December 12th after spending days in a coma at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. President Correa’s comments were similar to those made yesterday by another of the Sucuzhañay brothers during José’s burial in Cuenca, Ecuador. From The Associated Press:
"My heart is broken and so is that of all my family," his brother German said during a funeral Mass in the cathedral of the southern town of Cuenca. Sucuzhanay’s coffin was scattered with roses and covered with the Ecuadorean flag. "The brutal killing of my brother Osvaldo is the result of xenophobia, of homophobia and racism that our compatriots are experiencing in these times," he said, calling on Ecuador’s government to demand that U.S. authorities solve the crime.
Interestingly it was yet another Sucuzhañay brother who lives in New York that had previously denied that any anti-gay slurs had been shouted during the attack as police reports and most accounts picked up by media. From a December 12th article in El Diario La Prensa: [Diego] Sucuzhañay denied the versions [of events] given by authorities that his brothers Romel and José Osvaldo were shouted anti-gay phrases. "My brother Romel told me that they shouted insults against Latinos, that they shouted ‘Hispanics, sons of bitches,’ but not anti-gay insults."
The apparent unease in calling the attack a homophobic one also was reflected by calls for action from certain Latino leaders and Ecuadorean community organizations in New York who highlighted the xenophobic aspect of insults that were allegedly shouted during the attack but never made any mention that there might have been anti-gay slurs shouted as well. President Correa might have chosen the same route but he seems to understand that the fact that the Sucuzhañay brothers were attacked because a few guys thought they were a gay couple is as troubling as the fact that they were attacked because they were Latinos. Not surprising, then, that he is one of the most progressive Latin American presidents on LGBT issues.
Baxter Laboratories in Ecuador Accused of Discrimination Against PLWA–Fires HIV worker
by Richard Stern*
Baxter Laboratories Ecuadorian division has fired a person living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) and he has alleged that the dismissal is based on discrimination due to his HIV status. The Ecuadorian Coalition of People Living with HIV/AIDS (CEPVVS) denounced this situation in a press statement released on Tuesday February 2nd.
Baxter is an international company working in the area of Health Care based near Chicago, Illinois. It has numerous subsidiaries throughout Latin America.
According to CEPVVS, Carlos (not his real name) was fired on October 21st, 2009, after more than six years of working for Baxter. Carlos immediately filed an appeal with the Ecuadorian Labor Ministry. The Labor Ministry ruled quickly that under Ecuadorian law that a person cannot be fired because of their HIV status, and he was temporarily reinstated after an order was signed by a Labor Ministry official. However, less than a month later he was fired a second time, after Baxter, choosing to ignore the Labor Ministry’s ruling, appealed the previous decision and a district court judge ruled in their favor. Interestingly, on November 20th, Judge Susana Vallejo, of the district Court of Quito, had initially ruled in favor of Carlos and issued a restraining order against Baxter, mandating that he not be dismissed. However, just a week later , on November 27th, she reversed her own decision. The reasons for this change are not clear.
Lawyers Jose Luis Nieto and Diego Coronol of the non-governmental organization Kimirina, which has supported people living with HIV/AIDS in Ecuador for the past 10 years, have now filed an appeal in the Ecuadorian Supreme Court. The Ecuadorian PLWA Coalition issued the following statement about the case: “We reject discriminatory practices against PLWA, which are acts that are completely inhumane. We also feel that such acts are obstacles against progress towards controlling the epidemic in Ecuador.
Therefore we ask that the judges take into account the Constitution, as well as international precedents, and the laws that are relevant in this case in order to …. acknowledge the violation of the rights of the plaintiff, and we also ask that they hold the company involved (Baxter) responsible for the damage that has been done, in order to establish a precedent that irresponsible acts such as these are not repeated.” Carlos had, in fact worked for Baxter for six years, , but it was not until two months after his HIV status was discovered by the company, that he was fired. During the previous six years, he had rigorous evaluations every six months.
In order to continue with company for such a long time, he would have had to have received at least satisfactory, if not outstanding evaluations. When I confronted Ms Angela Zuluagua, Baxter’s media representative in Latin America, with this fact, she claimed that his performance apparently must have “suddenly deteriorated” which would have resulted in his dismissal.
December 08, 2010 – OnTop Magazine
Ecuador’s First Gay Marriage Includes Transgender Man
by On Top Magazine Staff
Ecuador will have its first gay marriage this Friday, December 10. Joey Hateley and Hugo Vera will exchange vows in Quito during a civil ceremony officiated by Councilor Norman Wray, the president of the Metropolitan Commission on Gender (Comision Metropolitana de Genero), according to the website proyecto-transgenero.org. Hateley, the artistic director of TransAction Theatre Company, transitioned from a woman to man, but is legally considered female. The British-born thirty-five-year-old Hateley and Vera, a twenty-three year-old Ecuadorian, are considered a gay couple and can only marry due to that technicality.
“The couple Hateley-Vera are considered a gay couple like any other, with the difference that they can marry and procreate,” the group wrote in its announcement.
According to Hateley’s profile posted on Facebook, he is an MA graduate from Lancaster University and is currently teaching at Manchester University. “Joey has performed and worked with trans adults and vulnerable young people in Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Ecuador, India, Namibia, Peru, Quito, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, USA and the UK,” the profile reads. The couple is expected to marry at 3PM at the Civil Registry office.
February 2, 2011 – Public Radio Ecuador
Google Spanish to English translation
Radio Ecuadorian LGBT Program Aims at Raising Awareness
"No One Shuts Up", with the Association of X silhouette, is a radio program is provided by Public Radio Ecuador. In this space we talk about the Activities of the Association X Silhouette, events, projects. Directed and Told by Diane Rodriguez, the REACH program with the millions of Ecuadorians here on Issues of raising awareness of youth and transgender, transsexual, intersex, lesbian, gay and bisexual men.
Date of this program was October 4, 2010.
Access to Radio Program click here
February 2011 – Extra
¡Gays, en peligro! – La policía asegura que se brinda mayor seguridad en los sectores frecuentados por los trans.
by Ángela Amoroso
Que no los tratan igual, que la justicia para ellos o ellas es lenta y que no se hace nada para crear una sociedad tolerante son algunas de las quejas de las organizaciones de Gays, Lesbianas, Bisexuales, Transexuales e Intersexos o Hermafroditas (GLBTI). “Evelyn”, una trans de 30 años, fue asesinada el 12 de febrero en el sector de La Y, norte de Quito. Con la falda levantada y su cuerpo entre los matorrales, agentes de la Unidad de Criminalística inspeccionaron la escena del crimen para determinar el modus operandi de los asesinos. Junto al cadáver había un pico de botella con el que abrieron el vientre de “Evelyn”.
Sus compañeras dicen no saber nada al respecto. Aún está por definirse si se trató de una represalia por su inclinación sexual o un crimen común. Para la Asociación Silueta X, este es solo uno de los tantos crímenes de odio que se evidenciaron en el país en los últimos dos años. Según datos de está organización, durante el 2010 y lo que va del 2011 fallecieron seis personas trans producto de la intolerancia, el irrespeto y el desconocimiento de la gente frente a la diversidad de sexualidad.
Por ejemplo, en el mismo mes en el que se encontró muerta a Evelyn Ormeño, “Gabriela”, también recibió un balazo en la cabeza. Sus victimarios fueron dos sujetos que la atacaron cuando estaba dentro de su gabinete de belleza, ubicado en el Guasmo sur de Guayaquil. La víctima quedó en estado de coma y luego de cinco días murió. Según Efraín Soria, vocero de la fundación Equidad, este tipo de crímenes son comunes en la sociedad y que, si bien es cierto varios de estos salieron a la luz, hay muchos asesinatos a personas GLBTI que se quedan en el anonimato. Para Soria, la principal causa es la lentitud en los procesos legales y la falta de apoyo de las autoridades, sobre todo de los legistas. “Las leyes no son iguales para una persona heterosexual que para una persona trans, pareciera que a nadie le importa cuando muere uno o una de las nuestras”, expresó.
Pide que la sociedad se una para luchar en contra de los crímenes de odio. “Cuando hubo el caso de la menor de edad que fue brutalmente apuñalada por su padrastro en Guayaquil, se unieron los políticos, la sociedad y la fuerza pública, por eso se capturó al criminal. ¿Por qué no se hace lo mismo cuando se trata de un homosexual violentado?”, cuestionó Soria.
Por otro lado, el coronel Edmundo Moncayo, comandante del distrito metropolitano de Quito, manifestó que “las leyes son para todos” y que “la seguridad pública tiene la obligación de resguardar el bienestar de toda la sociedad, sin importar la inclinación sexual, la religión ni la raza”. Moncayo expuso que no pueden tenerse preferencias hacia ningún grupo, ya que “no podemos únicamente dedicarnos a proteger a las personas homosexuales, pues la seguridad es para todos”. Sin embargo aclaró que debido a la incidencia de violencia contra personas de género sensible, la Policía brindará mayor resguardo realizando constantes patrullajes en lugares frecuentados por transexuales y transgéneros.
Municipio de la capital
Norman Wray, presidente del Comité de Equidad y Género del Municipio de Quito, reveló que los crímenes de odio en el país “son un vil reflejo de la intolerancia que los ecuatorianos tenemos frente a lo diferente”. En el 2007 entró en vigencia una ordenanza que prohibía la discriminación a personas con inclinaciones sexuales distintas a la habitual, pero este trabajo duró aproximadamente más de dos años. Para Wray es más que obvio que la cultura ecuatoriana no está preparada para respetar este tipo de diversidades. Sin embargo, dentro de los proyectos municipales se busca crear una conciencia no homofóbica desde los colegios. “Intentamos llegar a los jóvenes, la tarea es dura, pero por algo se empieza”, manifestó el concejal.
El funcionario expresó que gracias a esta comisión y a la organización de las personas GLBTI se creó proyectos culturales, en los cuales la gente conozca más sobre el género sensible. “Aún nos falta mucho por hacer, estamos trabajando al respecto”, mencionó Wray.
March 2011 – Vimeo
Elizabeth Vasquez: “Project Transgender—Various Bodies, the Same Right”
by Fairhaven College, WWU plus
Elizabeth Vasquez, Ecuadorian Attorney at Law and founder of Project Transgender, speaking at Fairhaven College on February 2, 2011. Elizabeth Vasquez will speak to the right of all sexual identities to participate in the various cultural and artistic life in their communities; and address the programs established to realize these rights in her country, Ecuador.
2nd August, 2011 – Metro
Transphobia: The battle for change – Hate crimes against lesbians, gays and bisexuals are rising, according to the UN. But so too are attacks on the transgender community.
by Graeme Green
‘I knew I was different when I was a child,’ says Diane Rodríguez, a transgender activist. ‘I used to play with boys, not because I liked how they played but because I liked them. Now I realise it was because I had the mentality that I was a girl.’ Diane used to be Luis. Last year, after suffering discrimination at work, she set a legal precedent in Ecuador when she fought for the right to officially change her name from male to female. She is now fighting for the right to change her gender on legal documents too.
I meet her at the offices of Silueta X, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the foundation she set up at the same time she launched her legal battle, which helps transgender people deal with legal, health and education issues. A frequent problem she comes across is transgender people being kicked out of home, leaving them with no option but to turn to prostitution. As a result, the transgender community suffers from high levels of HIV. It’s something close to Rodríguez’s heart, as she was banished from home by her stepfather. ‘I had to work on the streets for one week,’ she says. ‘If my mother hadn’t found me and taken me back, I would still be working on the streets now.’
Latin America has a particular problem with transphobia. As well as transgender people encountering discrimination with friends and family, they are also subject to high levels of violent attacks and murder. Between January and June last year, there were 93 reported murders of transgender people around the world. Of these, 74 occurred in Latin America. However, Rodríguez says it’s just the tip of the iceberg. ‘There are no good statistics, because when the police find a transgender person dead, they just put “male” on the form,’ she says. ‘It’s a hidden problem.’
But it’s not just a male to female issue. Worldwide, there are 14 million men who have become women and 4.5million women who have become men. The UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, recently conceded attacks on sexual minorities were rising. She stresses homophobia and transphobia are no different to sexism, misogyny, racism or xenophobia. ‘Whereas these last forms of prejudice are universally condemned by governments, homophobia and transphobia are too often overlooked,’ she says.
Anamaria Bejar of the HIV/Aids Alliance, says attacks in South America are happening with widespread impunity. ‘When a transgender person is assassinated, mostly their friends organise and pay for the funeral as, for many families, “they were already dead” when they left home,’ she says. ‘The police don’t take them seriously. Paramilitary and crime groups consider the assassination of a transgender person as “social cleansing”.’ There have also been reported cases of threats, harassment, intimidation and violence against those working to protect the human rights of transgender people and other sexual minorities.
16 Aug, 2011 – Lapatilla
Spanish to English Translation
Ecuador Closes 30 Clinics That Offer Illegal Cure for Homosexuality
Ecuador closed so far this year nearly 30 illegal clinics that regarded homosexuality as a disease, which offered a possible cure to it, while gay groups believe could exist in the country about 200 such centers. "They say there are 200 in the country, it is possible, if we ditched almost 30, would be very important to denounce (the victims) to be closed down all (illegal clinics)," he said in an interview with Efe Minister of Public Health manager, Nicolas Jara. Karen Beard, Causana foundation representative explained that these clinics are behind rehabilitation centers for persons addicted to drugs, which are apparently legal but which become unconstitutional when giving treatment to homosexuals, since the Magna Carta country, passed in 2008, is the first to recognize the rights of these people.
Ziritt Paola, 28, spent two years admitted to one of these centers, which "was losing the strength to live" after suffering various abuses, including sexual abuse and torture, including being handcuffed days without eating, beating or the guards throw urine or water ice on top. "It was degrading, humiliating, horrible," said Ziritt, who spent three months alone, handcuffed in a room that was called "sauna", as in there was nothing more than a pipe, where it was tied and had no light.
One day, one of the guards approached him and unzipped his jacket. Beneath the jacket, kept a piece of bread, yogurt, milk and the book "Man’s Search for Meaning," which recounts the experiences of its writer, Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp. Despite Ziritt’s mother was the one who entered the clinic, because at that time thought that homosexuality could be cured, she took it from there, after her daughter did get to sneak a letter.
Although Ziritt managed to get nearly four years ago, regrets that the clinic where he was still open, despite having many complaints, because, she says, many of these centers "are a mob who pay money" to not close down. For its part, Jara said that by the Interior Ministry are working to close these clinics "underground" that are outside the constitution and are "a sham" because "there is no treatment for homosexuality." In this regard, the Ombudsman said Ecuador, Fernando Gutierrez, who stressed that "law does not authorize" treatment of homosexuality "as a disease," so if you have one such center would be closed.
Jara and Guerrero also agreed that the fear of reprisals, the victims do not report to clinics, but gay groups asked that they highlight this situation. However, the activist said Cayetana Salao that homosexuals "do not feel protected by the state" and explained that different groups recently organized a symbolic trial in which testimony was the main Ziritt and in which different authorities are judged by the existence centers. The audience was Assemblywoman, María Paula Romo, Breaking the political movement of the 25 who said that although the "law and regulations prohibit" the existence of these clinics is "totally inadequate implementation" of the legislation. Romo also noted that there are "religious and political speeches are reproduced in the family" and that reflect prejudice against homosexuals, which must be fought with education, recalling that, in most cases is the same family who people entering these facilities.
9 November 2011 – PinkNews
Petition urges closure of Ecuadorian ex-gay “torture clinics”
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
A petition has been launched, demanding an end to Ecuadorian “torture clinics” allegedly designed to turn lesbians straight. The petition, addressed to Ecuadorian Health Minister David Chiriboga, welcomes moves by the Ecuadorian government to close some 27 such clinics – but points out that over 200 are still open. According to the petition letter, escaping patients have reported cases of physical and psychological abuse including verbal threats, shackling, days without food, sexual abuse, and physical torture – inflicted in an attempt to “cure” their sexuality.
Paula Ziritti, 24, who escaped after two years in one such facility, told of three months when she was shackled in handcuffs while guards threw water and urine on her. She also described numerous accounts of physical and sexual abuse. She says: “The closure of the first clinics by the government is good, but not good enough. Why is the clinic where I suffered still open?”
Writer and sexual rights campaigner Jane Fae warned of the dangers of “medicalising and pathologising human sexuality”. She said: “We’ve seen it in the US, and occasionally in the UK too, with ‘reparative therapy’, as well as surgical interventions designed to ‘normalise’ the bodies of intersex children.”
Homosexuality has been legal in Ecuador since 1997, with state recognition of same-sex relationships being introduced in 2009. The petition, which is supported by Fundacion Causana, an LGBT human-rights organization, and a coalition of other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender groups has so far attracted almost 80,000 signatures.