Pride 2019 in Bogotá: ‘I choose to be, I want to live’

Pride, Pride Bogotá
Pride parade in Bogotá. Photo: Laura Brinkley

Join the march for LGBTI rights and gender equality this weekend, as Pride returns to the capital.  


On Sunday, June 30, thousands of people will take to the streets to join the city’s annual Pride march, under the slogan Elijo Ser, Deseo Vivir (I choose to be, I want to live). The parade celebrates diversity, whilst calling for an end to discrimination in all its forms.

This year marks 50 years since the events in the Stonewall Inn, New York, which sparked the birth of Pride.

Iván Escobar, one of the coordinators of the activist group, Mesa de Trabajo LGBTI Bogotá, told us that it’s an important landmark: “This year is very special as we celebrate 50 years of history, 50 years of the LGBTI fight, and so it is a very heartfelt commemoration for us.”

Related: Pride 2018 in Medellín

The march reached Colombia in 1982, when the first Pride parade took place in Bogotá. Just 30 people took part in the first march, growing dramatically to a crowd of 200,000 last year. This year’s event is set to be the biggest yet, with organisations from places all over Colombia – including the Amazon – planning on making the trip to the capital. 

“Whilst legally we really have made great advances, in other respects we still have a long way to go. At the moment, we are still fighting for a cultural transformation.” 

Iván Escobar – THE Mesa de Trabajo LGBTI Bogotá

While Pride is an important celebration of diversity and sends the message that a society free from discrimination and homophobia is possible, there are still significant challenges in Colombia. Escobar said, “We are raising our voices to protest not only for the rights of LGBTI+ sectors, but also against all these killings of social leaders.”

The movement’s commitment to bringing visibility to some of the most vulnerable groups in society makes it more than just a party-like parade. According to a 2014 IACHR report, the average life expectancy for transgender people in the Americas is 35.

A rainbow over Bogotá. Photo: Katie Rawlins

The march is at once a triumph of how far we have come, but which also serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go. Escobar shared his view that, “Whilst legally we really have made great advances, in other respects we still have a long way to go. At the moment, we are still fighting for a cultural transformation,” he said, “There is still work to be done.”

Be a part of this cultural transformation by joining the march this weekend, bring along your friends and family too.


Sunday’s march will begin at 2pm in Parque Nacional (Carrera 7 #34) and finish in Plaza Bolívar. 

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