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Why are LGTBQ Marches important against anti-rights Laws?

By: Juan Ramón López

This 2019 marks 9 years since a group of boys and girls began to work so that the next generation of the LGBT community can enjoy a life free of prejudice, stigma and discrimination, and an end to the violation of our rights. Although many of us have gone through a painful process of rejection, we hope – even if it seems an unattainable dream – of a better future for sexually diverse people to live in an inclusive and tolerant society, and where without fear and with great pride they can show who they really are. 9 years ago, we started the Gay Pride March in Quetzaltenango.

Many have wondered what is the reason for this march and why we need to go out onto the streets. This is a manifestation for human rights, which does not ask for privileges, that only asks for respect, since, by revealing our sexual orientation we frequently become a controversial issue, manifesting towards us negative opinions and attitudes that are based on different cultural, social, religious and psychological contexts. Our sexual preference or our identity does not subscribe to the traditional roles dictated by the heterosexual and patriarchal society.

We go onto the streets because, due to the low importance and information that exists about sexual diversity, there have been speculation and misinformation about us, both in Guatemala and in Quetzaltenango, which are known for many good things, but also for being a conservative society. During these years, we have been struggling to make the LGTB community of Quetzaltenango visible and to make society aware that we are also part of it.

After all this time, we continue and will continue with the march, because although we are being more visible, the current situation regarding reports of verbal and physical aggressions, threats, criminalization, discredit, hatred, and even murders, has not yielded or changed. The legal frameworks that protect us are not enough and/or plan to be modified to justify aggressions. Laws like initiative 5272 called: “Law on protection of life and family” states: «Public and private educational entities are prohibited from promoting, in childhood and adolescence, policies or programs related to sexual diversity and the ideology of gender or teach as normal sexual conduits other than heterosexuality or that are incompatible with the biological and genetic aspects of the human being».

Durante el desfile gay en Xela, 2019.

The initiative adds in another of its sections: «The institution of marriage is between a man and a woman», thus rejecting any union of two persons of the same sex. It is urgent to continue pressing and manifesting ourselves because if this initiative is approved, the situation for the LGTBQ community far from improving, will worsen because the opening will be provided so that aggressions of all kinds are normalized and are more difficult to penalize. We need to raise awareness about Human Rights to those with conservative and intolerant ideologies, but also to sexually diverse people, who, whether or not they are part of this movements, need to know their rights and empower themselves.

Going for a walk with a rainbow flag is not an easy decision, especially in our country, where we do not exist for our authorities, and we do not have real support from any public institution in the face of violence. In spite of this, it has been 9 years where we have frankly and openly walked among friends, colleagues, colors and beauty queens, demanding to all lungs that we no longer want to live in fear.

Many will be against what we say, we think and do, but our march is one of the greatest ways to give hope to the entire sexually diverse community that lives with fear and oppression. Choosing the path of heterosexuality and binary genders would be easier and avoid many difficulties, but we want to be us, we do not want to pretend who we are not… we want to live in peace and freedom!