The Bogotá Post is proud to support Pride with full coverage of the march and related issues – check out our special on the event
In a few short years, Colombia’s gay community has gone from being hidden away on the margins of society to where – at least in the country’s major cities – a lesbian, gay, transgendered, transexual or bisexual person can be who they are and be proud of it.
No small feat in a deeply Catholic Latin American country like Colombia, where a large part of society is still very much defined by machismo – the inflated sense of straight-male masculinity.
While the struggles for equal rights under the law and greater social acceptance have come a long way, they still have so very far to go. Enclosed in these pages are stories of police repression, family rejection and even torture against people who had the courage to act in public in a way that straight people don’t think twice about.
Stories of lesbian, gay, transgendered and transexual people being treated by the authorities as if they were criminals or perverts who had to be carted off out of sight in order to “clean up the streets.”
With any social change, the change must take place in one’s own mind before one can struggle for equality in the wider society, and these stories are also about LGBT people’s struggles to accept themselves for who they are.
But most importantly, these stories are of bravery and transcendence; of what it is like to be a lover in a dangerous time, and to see the gradual progress being made as a group becomes more and more a part of Colombia’s social fabric.
More Than A March –
LGBT rights in Colombia, like in many countries around the world, have improved drastically over the past 20 years. But in a country famous for its machismo, the community still faces a unique set of challenges, including violence, widespread ignorance and a myriad of misconceptions about what it means to be gay, lesbian, transgender or transsexual. The Bogotá Post spoke to LGBT groups in Bogotá to get a glimpse into some of the issues they face:
By Mark Kennedy