Supporters mark global day against homophobia, transphobia

*Michael Lavers originally published this piece on The Washington Blade on May 16, 2014.

Supporters mark global day against homophobia, transphobia

LGBT rights advocates in more than 120 countries will commemorate this year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) with a series of vigils, conferences and other events.

Geena Rocero, a transgender Filipino fashion model who founded Gender Proud, a trans advocacy group, is among those who are scheduled to take part in an IDAHOT event outside of Manila, the country’s capital, that the Association of Transgender People in the Philippines has organized. Rocero on Thursday also participated in a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong that local LGBT rights advocates organized.

The Rainbow Pride Foundation, a Fijian LGBT advocacy group, on May 10 held its own candlelight vigil at a church in Suva, the Pacific island nation’s capital. Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education on the same day held a “conga against homophobia” in the Cuban capital as part of a series of events throughout the country that will commemorate IDAHOT.

The Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays on Friday will hold a symposium at a hotel in the Jamaican capital that will examine challenges that LGBT people in the Caribbean country continue to face. María Eugenia González, co-founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, is scheduled to attend an anti-bullying conference in the Peruvian city of Iquitos on May 21.

So-called rainbow flash mobs are scheduled to take place in at least 11 Russian cities on May 17. An estimated 100 people are expected to gather in Khabarovsk to release rainbow colored balloons in an IDAHOT demonstration that city officials have allowed to take place.

Svetlana Zakharova of the Russian LGBT Network told the Washington Blade earlier this week that her colleagues are “willing to defend their rights” in spite of the Kremlin’s ongoing crackdown on LGBT rights. These include a 2013 law that bans the promotion of so-called gay propaganda to minors.

“Whatever the difficulties, many LGBT (people) and their supporters in Russia are looking forward to participating in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia,” said Zakharova.

Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays Executive Director Dane Lewis had a similar view, noting anti-LGBT violence and discrimination remain pervasive in the country.

“We need to begin to have discussions about the layers of stigma and discrimination experienced by LGBT Jamaicans and the challenges faced by those who identify as Christians,” he said.

Kate Montecarlo Cordova, chair of the Association of Transgender People in the Philippines, noted to the Blade that LGBT Filipinos lack legal protections and access to health care. She said hate crimes and speech, anti-trans harassment and bullying in the predominantly Muslim portion of the country that includes the island of Mindanao often go unreported.

“We, from the transgender community, feel that the IDAHOT celebration is important in our advocacy and in our lives,” said Cordova.

The Mexican government this year is officially organizing IDAHOT for the first time.

Enrique Torre Molina, an LGBT rights advocate and blogger in Mexico City, told the Blade earlier this week that he is hopeful that President Enrique Peña Nieto will speak at an IDAHOT event.

The British Council Mexico on Friday hosted an event that government officials, local LGBT activists and journalists attended.

“The conversation will go beyond the government’s official position and public policy on the subject of homophobia,” said Molina. “Fighting homophobia and promoting respect is, at the end, a task that concerns us all.”

The Finnish government on Thursday announced it will increase its contribution to the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership founded by C-SPAN co-founder John Evans that seeks to promote LGBT rights, by one million Euros. A State Department press release noted that Helsinki will continue to work with the governments of Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, the Arcus Foundation and other groups to “build on our shared commitment and partnership to advance freedom, equality and dignity for all.”

“Today of all days, we are reminded that the cause of justice can and must triumph over hatred and prejudice,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “This is a day of action for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities and their allies all over the world. It is time to reaffirm our commitment to the equality and dignity of all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Gays, trans people gain rights in 2013

IDAHOT first took place on May 17, 2005, to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

This year’s commemoration takes place against the backdrop of significant progress in the LGBT rights movement in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and other regions of the world.

Ten U.S. states, Brazil, Uruguay, France, England, Wales and New Zealand have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples over the last year. The U.S. Supreme Court last June struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Dutch Senate last December approved a bill that would allow trans people to legally change the gender on their birth certificates and other official documents without undergoing sterilization and sex reassignment surgery. A similar measure advanced in the Chilean Senate earlier this year.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday signed a bill that bans anti-discrimination in his state. A similar measure took effect in neighboring Delaware last year.

The Indian Supreme Court last month issued a landmark ruling that recognizes trans people as a “third gender.”

Jamaican and Belizean judges last year heard lawsuits challenging their country’s laws that criminalize homosexuality. A Lebanese judge in March struck down the Middle Eastern nation’s anti-sodomy statute in the case of a trans woman who faced charges for allegedly having a relationship with a man.

Gay Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was sworn into office last December. Angélica Lozano, a former Council woman in the Colombian capital, in March became the first openly LGBT person elected to the South American country’s Congress.

LGBT rights crackdowns continue in Africa, Russia

In spite of this progress, anti-LGBT violence and discrimination remain pervasive in many parts of the world.

The U.S. and several European countries cut aid to Uganda after the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni, in February signed into a law a bill that imposes a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in January signed a draconian anti-gay bill that, among other things, bans membership in an LGBT advocacy group and punishes those who enter into a same-sex marriage with up to 14 years in prison.

The 2014 Winter Olympics took place in Sochi, Russia, in February against the backdrop of criticism over the Kremlin’s LGBT rights record.

Police arrested 10 activists who held rainbow and Russian flags as they sung the country’s national anthem near Moscow’s Red Square just before the games’ opening ceremony began. Authorities earlier in the day arrested four Russian LGBT rights advocates in St. Petersburg as they marched with a banner in support of adding sexual orientation to the Olympic charter’s anti-discrimination clause.

The Indian Supreme Court late last year recriminalized homosexuality — it announced in April it will consider a motion to reconsider the controversial decision. A new Brunei legal code that punishes those convicted of homosexuality by stoning them to death has sparked global outrage that includes calls to boycott hotels the Bruneian government owns.

A report the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission released earlier this week found discrimination and violence against lesbians, bisexual women and trans people in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines and Japan remains pervasive. Grupo Gay da Bahia, a Brazilian LGBT advocacy group, noted more than a quarter of the 338 reported LGBT homicide victims in Brazil in 2012 were trans.

Carlos Vela of the Homosexual Community of Hope in the Loreto Region (of Perú) told the Blade that one LGBT person a week is murdered in the South American country. This violence continues to take place, even as Peruvian lawmakers debate a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.

“It is the most extreme expression of systematic violence,” said Vela, referring to the murders of LGBT Peruvians.

Jasmine Kaur of Oceania Pride, which took part in the May 10 candlelight vigil in the Fijian capital, noted homophobia, anti-LGBT hate crimes and violence is “quite strong for the LGBTIQ community” in the South Pacific country. She said the Fijian constitution includes a non-discrimination clause, but it is “flawed.”

“The bill of rights has many limitations,” said Kaur. “It is not one that can guarantee its citizens protections.”

The Human Rights Campaign on Thursday released a report that documents advances and setbacks in the global LGBT rights movement over the last year.

“Despite entrenched homophobia and transphobia in many nations around the world, the global fight for LGBT equality made historic gains in 2013,” said HRC Director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb. “At the same time, last year included horrific new anti-LGBT laws as well as alarming trends in anti-LGBT harassment and violence. These serve as important reminders of the many challenges ahead and the tremendous amount of work left to be done.”

Henness Wong, a Hong Kong activist who helped plan IDAHOT events in the former British colony, said the climate for the city’s LGBT residents is slowly beginning to improve in spite of lingering institutional and cultural homophobia and transphobia.

“Hong Kong is definitely safer than Brunei who will stone gays,” said Wong.


Mexico City’s hottest tacos and gay parties

*Jean Paul Zapata published this piece on Gay Star News on March 4, 2014.

Mexico City's hottest tacos and gay partiesDon’t let the name fool you. Mexico’s Anal Magazine is an intellectual publication and has a highbrow following.

‘With a unique design, this magazine is dedicated to spread any kind of cultural expression of erotic nature or general interest to men who are not afraid to show their fascination for other men.’

The magazine’s logo is clever and well conceived; The content (no doubt provocative) extends to include literature, fashion and interviews; The publication has quickly established itself as a social force within the city’s LGBTI community.

Anal also puts on One Hell of A Party, the name given for its signature Halloween bash.
Three-year Mexico City resident and gay activist Enrique Torre Molina credits Anal Magazine with the city’s hottest dance floor. Facebook photos of previous parties corroborate these claims.

Torre Molina works with ‘media, non-profit organizations, companies, schools, and government agencies to promote respect for LGBT people,’ and has his fingers on the pulse of Mexico City’s culture scene.

He writes: ‘When I was in college in Puebla, I used to come to Mexico City about once a month. When I finally moved here three and a half years ago, I already knew my way around and had many friends living here. I especially like that there’s a lot of good theatre, and great people to meet every day. In this sense it’s very similar to New York, my other favorite city, where I lived for a little while. They remind me of each other.’

Here’s Enrique’s list of the best museums, theatres and tourist sights in Mexico City.

Favorite gay bar: Nicho and La Purísima.

Favorite any bar: Lilit.

Favorite dance floor: Anal Magazine’s Halloween party.

Favorite tourist sight: The view of the volcanoes when flying over Mexico City.

Mexico City's hottest tacos and gay parties2Favorite meal: Tacos at El Parnita and mascarpone cheesecake at Delirio.

Favorite getaway: Merida, Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas.

Favorite breakfast: Eggs at El Péndulo and French toast at Carrez.

Favorite park: Chapultepec, around the Tamayo Museum.

Favorite café: El Péndulo.

Favorite hotel: St Regis.

Favorite festival: Festival Mix, which is the oldest LGBT film festival in Latin America.

Favorite bike ride: I don’t bike.

Favorite long walk: Reforma avenue and shopping in colonia Roma.

Mexico City's hottest tacos and gay parties3Favorite photo-op: My building’s rooftop terrace, and anywhere with photographer Oscar Morales.

Favorite museum: Museo Memoria y Tolerancia and Museo Franz Mayer.

Favorite beach: Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca.

Mexico City's hottest tacos and gay parties4Favorite place for a first date: Cineteca Nacional or the theatre.

Favorite shopping street: Colima street in colonia Roma and H&M in Santa Fe.

Favorite food market: Mercado de Medellin in colonia Roma.

Favorite art gallery: I’m not a gallery person, but I love the photo exhibits they do on the fences of Bosque de Chapultepec along Reforma avenue.

Favorite view: From the Chapultepec Castle terrace.

Favorite public art: Sculptures outside Bellas Artes.

Favorite thing in the city that defies categorization: Theatre at the Santa Martha Acatitla prison.

Favorite theatre space: Foro Shakespeare and Teatro Helenico.

Favorite gay media outlet: Betún magazine.

Favorite hidden treasure: It used to be Tia Maria, a gay piano bar in my neighborhood, which closed last year. I have yet to find my new favorite hidden treasure.

To get in touch with Enrique, visit his website or follow him on Twitter @etorremolina.

Mexico City's hottest tacos and gay parties5

Don’t let the name fool you. Mexico’s Anal Magazine is an intellectual publication and has a highbrow following.

‘With a unique design, this magazine is dedicated to spread any kind of cultural expression of erotic nature or general interest to men who are not afraid to show their fascination for other men.’

The magazine’s logo is clever and well conceived; The content (no doubt provocative) extends to include literature, fashion and interviews; The publication has quickly established itself as a social force within the city’s LGBTI community.

Anal also puts on One Hell of A Party, the name given for its signature Halloween bash.
Three-year Mexico City resident and gay activist Enrique Torre Molina credits Anal Magazine with the city’s hottest dance floor. Facebook photos of previous parties corroborate these claims.

Torre Molina works with ‘media, non-profit organizations, companies, schools, and government agencies to promote respect for LGBT people,’ and has his fingers on the pulse of Mexico City’s culture scene.

He writes: ‘When I was in college in Puebla, I used to come to Mexico City about once a month. When I finally moved here three and a half years ago, I already knew my way around and had many friends living here. I especially like that there’s a lot of good theatre, and great people to meet every day. In this sense it’s very similar to New York, my other favorite city, where I lived for a little while. They remind me of each other.’

Here’s Enrique’s list of the best museums, theatres and tourist sights in Mexico City.

Favorite gay bar: Nicho and La Purísima.

Favorite any bar: Lilit.

Favorite dance floor: Anal Magazine’s Halloween party.

Favorite tourist sight: The view of the volcanoes when flying over Mexico City.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/mexico-citys-hottest-tacos-and-gay-parties040314#sthash.NWkkZshF.dpuf

Don’t let the name fool you. Mexico’s Anal Magazine is an intellectual publication and has a highbrow following.

‘With a unique design, this magazine is dedicated to spread any kind of cultural expression of erotic nature or general interest to men who are not afraid to show their fascination for other men.’

The magazine’s logo is clever and well conceived; The content (no doubt provocative) extends to include literature, fashion and interviews; The publication has quickly established itself as a social force within the city’s LGBTI community.

Anal also puts on One Hell of A Party, the name given for its signature Halloween bash.
Three-year Mexico City resident and gay activist Enrique Torre Molina credits Anal Magazine with the city’s hottest dance floor. Facebook photos of previous parties corroborate these claims.

Torre Molina works with ‘media, non-profit organizations, companies, schools, and government agencies to promote respect for LGBT people,’ and has his fingers on the pulse of Mexico City’s culture scene.

He writes: ‘When I was in college in Puebla, I used to come to Mexico City about once a month. When I finally moved here three and a half years ago, I already knew my way around and had many friends living here. I especially like that there’s a lot of good theatre, and great people to meet every day. In this sense it’s very similar to New York, my other favorite city, where I lived for a little while. They remind me of each other.’

Here’s Enrique’s list of the best museums, theatres and tourist sights in Mexico City.

Favorite gay bar: Nicho and La Purísima.

Favorite any bar: Lilit.

Favorite dance floor: Anal Magazine’s Halloween party.

Favorite tourist sight: The view of the volcanoes when flying over Mexico City.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/mexico-citys-hottest-tacos-and-gay-parties040314#sthash.NWkkZshF.dpuf


Blabbeando with Andrés Duque

“I’m game!” That was Andrés Duque‘s response when I asked him for an interview.

I think I first came across Blabbeando shortly after I arrived in New York (where he is based) in 2008, and have been a faithful reader since. Andrés reports on LGBT issues with a smart, inquiring style. Always “thought-provoking and fun”, as he said he intended to on his first blog post. He is also a great interviewer and very amusing Twitter user.

Blabbeando has been included in The Gay & Lesbian Foundation Top 100 LGBT Blogs, nominated for the 2011 GLAAD Awards and The 2008 Weblog Awards.

What has been your experience as a Colombian, gay immigrant, blogger and activist? The immigrant experience is uniquely different for each and every person who comes to the United States so I would hesitate to say my own experience is representative to that of others. But I do think it’s imperative for those of us who did immigrate to this country to stand up for others –including undocumented immigrants- particularly now that the issue is being demonized and used to rile up political anger. It’s mind-boggling to see how people react to economic fears by misdirecting their anger on communities that are less protected than themselves instead of rightfully blaming the policies that created the current economic downturn.

Immigration, in fact, has been of great economic and social benefit to this country over the centuries. But it shouldn’t just be about benefits. It’s about being a more humane nation. There is no reason why the wealthiest nation in the world cannot provide opportunities for immigrants to develop their full potential regardless of economic or educational background.

Of course, if you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) immigrant, the odds can be even worse if you come to this country on your own. The nation’s immigration policy is based on a federal family-reunification model that does not even recognize LGBT families. For many who might qualify otherwise, this means there are no legal options to become a naturalized citizen. It’s not that countries should not have an immigration policy. It’s that the current United States immigration policy is so absurd it actually acts against its best interests.

How did you get into blogging? I started blogging six years ago without really having a clear idea of what it was all about. But I had already noticed a few other blogs and their potential to shine a light on issues that were not being reported or debated in mainstream media. Obviously, I have always had a passion for anything Latino and/or LGBT and, from the start, that was my focus, but it was and still is a personal blog with a mix of stories, some of which do not have to do with the Latino LGBT community at all. In that sense, it took me a while to find my voice and find a comfortable writing rhythm.

Initially, I remember trying to use hyperlinks to document almost every single thing I mentioned in a blog post. It took a while for me to realize that most readers only wanted the basic information and a link or two to corroborate if I was properly describing the issue. There also was an additional obstacle: most English-language bloggers can simply point to a link and have people explore that link if they want additional information. For most news posts I rely on Spanish-language articles, which means I actually have to translate most of the background information into English as well, which can take a lot of time.

Besides having your own blog, do you collaborate with other media? There is a Germany-based media group that offers a feed to my blog posts as part of a media package that includes leading mainstream media from around the world. I also have great collaborative relationships with other online media sites including Latino gossip site Guanabee and pop culture site Racialicious which sometimes cross-posts some of my entries.

I am also grateful to count with support from some of the leading LGBT-news bloggers in the United States including Towleroad, Joe.My.God., After Elton, Pam’s House Blend, LGBT POV, The Bilerico Project, Queerty, Rod 2.0, Autostraddle and The New Civil Rights Movement, who often link up to my posts. It’s thanks to them and others that I enjoy a pretty wide readership out there. It is no coincidence that every one of these blogs mostly focus on LGBT news, politics and culture.

Not every blog writer posts a daily entry or multiple daily posts. I’m sure most people don’t even realize how much perseverance, dedication, personal sacrifice and time it takes a blogger to keep up that sort of blogging rhythm but it’s almost a Herculean task. And all the blogs I mentioned above manage to do that while sustaining their quality.

Which blogs do you follow the most or consider worth checking out? The blogs mentioned above are among my daily reads but there are other blogs that are not updated as frequently or might offer unique points of view. Among my favorites, and it might be an eclectic list, are TransGriot, which takes a look at LGBT issues from an African-American transgender woman’s perspective; Monaga, the thoughts of a U.S. expatriate from Harlem living in the Dominican Republic; Hairspray & Fideo, Mi blog es tu blog and Vivir Latino, three different takes on Latino life in the United States; This is fyf, a very specific snap-shot of modern NYC gay life and JockoHomo, which is, well, JockoHomo.

I also follow a few Spanish-language blogs, including Tengo un crush con Nuevallorrrr*, of course, as well as Pedro Julio Serrano (U.S./Puerto Rico), Vivir México (Mexico), Malbarracin (Colombia), Dos Manzanas (Spain), Lake (Argentina), AG Magazine (Argentina), Paquito el de Cuba (Cuba) and Blog de Lima Gay.

And finally, there is a new entry in the form of a blog/online magazine called xQsí Magazine, which is based in the United States and shows great potential. I would say that of all the blogs listed above, it’s probably the one that most overlaps the subject matter on my blog.

You are one of the most heard voices in the Latino LGBT community in New York, the whole country maybe. Do you feel some kind of responsibility for this? To be sincere, I am often unaware of the true reach of a blog. When someone actually recognizes you on the street and tells you they are a fan of Blabbeando it kinda floors you. But I don’t often think about that when I write. I do get the sense that most people who read my blog posts are not necessarily habitual readers. Most stumble upon it from other sites but once they come back a second or third time they realize I am providing information that is unique to U.S. English-language media and they become habitual readers.

In some ways, I think there is a novelty factor for readers when they read my posts on Blabbeando and find out about the tremendous advances that have taken place on LGBT rights in Latin America over the last fifteen years. It challenges deeply ingrained stereotypes that Latinos and Latin America, as a whole, are extremely homophobic. It’s not that homophobia does not exist in the region or in Latin American culture but you rarely see reporting showing these advances.

When it starts getting tricky is when others start recognizing you as an influential blogger and you start getting all sort of pitches that are not particularly relevant to the topics I cover on the blog. Most come from companies who probably see the Latino community as a marketing opportunity and see my blog as a way to reach a specific segment of that community. When it comes down to it, what they actually want is free advertising, and yet when you mention advertising opportunities on the blog you never hear from them again.

You do feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to regular readers and people who come looking for exclusive information. In that sense, I do feel pressure to be as accurate as I am able to be when breaking news and to correct myself when I get things wrong. Also, for a while I tried to be snarky and gossipy because I felt readers would enjoy it, but ultimately it wasn’t my style. I ended up erasing a few posts where I felt I had dished out at a couple of celebrities. It just made me feel dirty. Others do gossip much better than I do.

There has been some criticism that I haven’t covered a number of Latino LGBT stories out there on the one hand, or, on the other, that I have abandoned my roots as an independent blogger as the blog has grown in influence. From the start, I have followed some personal guidelines and mostly focused on unreported stories which often means that if a story is being covered by other blogs out there with larger readerships or by mainstream media, there’s not a lot more I feel I can ad to it.

Blogging is also not something I do for a living so it would be impossible to cover every single thing. As of late, I think that has been on my mind as I mull whether to change the blog format or eliminate some of the more personal posts that have little to do with LGBT Latino issues. But, for now, it seems to appeal to many folks out there and I’m not sure I would have much interest in turning the blog into a 24/7 news source.

I think you see a lot of long-time bloggers wrestle with issues as well and I have seen a lot of bloggers I used to read abandon the blogging format and embrace micro-blogging sites like Twitter and Tumblr. But I still believe there is a healthy environment for older blogs and new blogs out there, particularly if you have a distinct voice.

Which issues are a priority for the Latino LGBT community in New York and the U.S.? The same as the general Latino community in New York and the United States: employment and economic security, immigration reform and access to education and healthcare. Sometimes the question about community “priorities” bothers me –and I know you didn’t mean it that way– because it’s usually code speak for ‘your priority is not important, my priority is’. I am a huge believer in chewing gum and walking at the same time –at least metaphorically because I don’t like gum– and believe we can advocate and work towards several goals at the same time.

What do you think of Colombia’s Constitutional Court’s recent decision on same-sex marriage? What will happen? You know? I don’t think I have even blogged about it and perhaps it’s because I was so frustrated with the decision. At first look, it seemed the Constitutional Court had passed the buck to congress by determining that it was indeed constitutional to define marriage as that between “a man and a woman” and ordering congress to address the legal vacuum facing same-sex partners within two years. But it later emerged that the court had determined for the first time ever that a same-sex partnership should indeed be recognized as a family unit deserving of the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.

Afraid that the ruling had left a window wide open, conservative legislators rushed to introduce bills to ban any legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, upon which the President of the Constitutional Court spoke up and clarified that the ruling indeed meant that any measure banning recognition of same-sex partnership rights would be unconstitutional. He said that the Court had ordered congress to find a way to extend legal protections to same-sex couples within two years, not to seek ways to ignore or ban them, and that if congress failed to act within that period, same-sex couples were in their right to formalize their relationship by simply registering their partnerships at notaries.

Some Colombian LGBT advocates have called it a complete triumph. They don’t expect a conservative-leaning congress to ever come to terms with granting legal rights to same-sex partners and argue that this means marriage for same-sex couples two years from now. As the pessimist I have always been, I worry that the two year window will allow congress to find a way to create some sort of legal definition granting limited rights to same-sex couples that falls way short or marriage equality and, even if they don’t, that marriage equality will not necessarily be the end result when two years have gone and there hasn’t been any congressional resolution. It’s a mess of a decision and puts the decision on our rights in the hands of legislators who will work their best to grant us something less than equality.

*Tengo un crush con Nuevallorrrr was EnriqueTorreMolina.com‘s original name.


English version of LGBT en Español: transgender youth, Ricky Martin in Honduras, gay telenovelas

From GLAAD’s blog, here’s the newest edition of LGBT en Español where I collaborated (more information on this project here):

Awareness of transgender youth in Spanish-language media

Last month, Univision.com published a 22-page photo essay titled “The 7 Signs of a Transgender Child,” that began with Chaz Bono’s story and explained his role in transgender visibility. The piece delved into transgender people in history and legal challenges, debunked myths and offered parental advice on how to best support a transgender child.  In late September, CNN México published an article titled “Transgender children, the difficult path to their true identity,” that details the story of two American transgender youth, Tammy Lobel and Mario. Despite some inconsistent gender pronoun use, the article shed light on the stories and struggles of some transgender youth.

Ricky Martin Faced Anti-Gay Opposition in Honduras. 

Ricky Martin’s October concert in Honduras garnered controversy after far-right activists demanded that the government deny his visa. In the weeks leading up to the concert, anti-LGBT religious leaders sought the help of Africo Madrid, the nation’s Minister of the Interior, who stated Martin’s family “is not the type of family that Honduran law and society wants to construct and promote to youth.”  An age restriction limiting concert entry to those 15 years of age and older was added as a result of the protest. Nevertheless, the concert went off without a hitch in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.  This story was extensively covered by the Honduran media as well as U.S. outlets such as Univision.comImpre.com, Telemundo’s Al rojo vivo and Mega TV’s Paparazzi Magazine among others.

Developments in LGBT-inclusive telenovelas

In the last edition of LGBT en Español, we introduced you to Harold and Alcides, the two gay protagonists of the Telefutura re-airing of the Colombian telenovela, El último matrimonio feliz (The last happy marriage). Things are getting complicated as the two find themselves in a love triangle with Daniel (Felipe Calderon), Harold’s much younger and financially dependent ex-boyfriend who hasn’t come to terms with the relationship’s end. Meanwhile, Alcides is struggling with coming out to his friends and dealing with his feelings for Harold. El último matrimonio feliz airs weekdays on Telefutura at its new time 8:30p.m. ET/OT and 7:30 p.m. CT. Meanwhile in Mexico, a news outlet, El Gráficomentioned in an article that the Mexican television network TV Azteca is in the development process for a telenovela, Cada quien su santo, which will feature a gay character and his relationship with his homophobic father. Neither an air-date nor U.S. syndication were mentioned in the article.

LGBT in Mexico: Catholic Church challenged on LGBT equality; LGBT bloggers. Mexico’s nationally-distributed newspaper Milenio published an article about the LGBT community organizing to phone bank to reach Catolitel, the hotline of the Archdiocese of Mexico. The nature of the calls is to complain about LGBT exclusion from the Catholic Church, specifically the opposition to adoption and marriage for LGBT people. Reforma, another nationally distributed and high circulation newspaper, unveiled a new blog by columnist Genaro Lozano, who writes about LGBT issues in a positive way. Lozano recently posted a piece about LGBT equality in Latin America. And the Mexican political website Animal Político published an article by writer and journalist Miguel Cane, in which he tells of his experience as a victim of homophobia.

LGBT occupation of Wall Street, adoption, and Hollywood 

Los Angeles-based Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión published an article by Yurina Melara Valiulis about the inclusion of LGBT people and organizations in the Los Angeles version of the national Occupy Wall Street Movement. Another article by Valiulis appeared in San Francisco’s El Mensajero, about Los Angeles County’s campaign “Raise a Child,” which aims to encourage LGBT couples to adopt children. In honor of Coming Out Day, English-language publication Latina Magazine published a piece on the top six openly gay Latino celebrities in Hollywood. And Univision.com reported in an article that Eva Longoria’s intimate scenes with Kate del Castillo in the movie Without men have been censored in Spain. The article is also linked to a video interview that Univision did with the movie’s director Gabriela Tagliavina, who talks about some of the film’s LGBT elements.

– Daniel Alvarenga, Brian Pacheco, Monica Trasandes, and Enrique TorreMolina contributed to this report.


Transnational unity: Latin America went purple for Spirit Day

From GLAAD’s blog:

This year saw an outpouring of support for Spirit Day (October 20) from community members, organizations, media outlets, corporations and celebrities like Jenni Rivera, Elvis Crespo, Paulina Rubio and Kate del Castillo. But notably, this year also witnessed the messages of LGBT youth empowerment and anti-LGBT bullying spreading throughout LGBT communities across Latin America. What started last year as a Facebook event created by teenager Brittany McMillan is now turning into an annual transnational movement, signaling that anti-LGBT bullying is not just a U.S. issue.

Brazil’s oldest LGBT organization, Grupo Gay Da Bahia, notable for being the South American nation’s source for LGBT human rights statistics, teamed up with GLAAD to promote Spirit Day and translated GLAAD’s Spirit Day content into Portuguese. Two Costa Rican organizations—one a college LGBT organization and the other a media outlet —created a Facebook event in honor of Spirit Day that called for people throughout the world to wear purple; the event received 30,000 RSVPs. Guatemalan LGBT online portal GayGuatemala.com spread the word via Twitter and published instructions on how to go purple. Other organizations that teamed up with GLAAD for Spirit Day include Transfeministas (Ecuador), Movimiento por la Diversidad Sexual (Chile) and Lazos Solidarios En Acción (El Salvador).

Major and grassroots media in Latin America also covered the global Spirit Day efforts. Terra.com, a Brazilian-based web portal in the U.S., Spain and 16 Latin American countries, published an article about Ivonne Ortega, governor from the state of Yucatan in Mexico and her public support for Spirit Day. The Mexican lifestyle magazine, Quién, one of the most widely-read magazines of that genre in the country, ran a story on Ricky Martin and his support for Spirit Day. In the blogosphere, Brazilian LGBT blog Gmais covered Grupo Gay Da Bahia’s collaboration with GLAAD on Spirit Day. Mexico-based blogger Enrique TorreMolina blogged about Spirit Day, and the piece was picked up by Mexican LGBT website Enehache. Spirit Day also received online support from Mexican Internet TV network Canal G, who changed their website to purple; Online Mexican LGBT magazine MidOpen changed their Twitter and Facebook profile pictures to a Spirit Day badge; and Mexican visual artist Francisco Coronado changed his blog to purple.

-Brian Pacheco, Monica Trasandes and Enrique Torre Molina contributed to this report