The statements by Freddy Bernal, saying that gay people can be cops as long as they don’t say so, are apalling, infuriating and shameful. Furthermore, to see a news anchor sit quitely while such bigotry is being spewed out in his studio is even worse.
In his little speech, Bernal tries (and fails) to explain why the Police Force cannot admit people with tatoos, earrings or hippies (I have anecdote on hippy hate in Venezuela which I will leave for another post). He also explains (doesn’t) the behavioral requirements of homosexuals serving in the force, which include not flaunting their lifestyles, not wearing pink shirts, or using lipstick – because obviously that’s what homosexuals do.
(Don’t worry fellow inked, ear-adorned hippies – Bernal says you can work for the Culture Ministry).
He quickly says that he has nothing personal with these “type of folks”, making sure we know that he does not see himself as “these type of folks”.
Bernal completely eliminates the figure of the female police officer, and maintains the view of the all powerful male dominant officer – tatoo free, aggresively heterosexual, favorite color MALE blue.
Are there no women in the force? If there are, do the same restrictions on earrings, wearing pink, makeup, and flaunting lesbian lifestyles fall upon them?
For an all-inclusive goverment, Chavismo really has it against tatoos. Furthermore, what if the tatoo is of Chavez’s signature. And again, what does having a tatoo have to do with ethics and performance? This is what Bernal is naming here to be the main concerns.
Ultimately, what bothered me the most about this interview was the idea that homosexuals shouldn’t “flaunt” their lifestyles in public, and that being gay goes against the structure of what a police officer should be. He then goes to say again and again how that is not discriminatory, how the rights of all are being respected. The only explanation he can muster on this is it simply would not be accepted, it’s not in our culture.
Bernal uses “culture” as an excuse to justify his misoginy, his bigotry, and his homophobia.
Bernal is telling brave men like Yonatan Matheus member of Venezuela Diversa, who was kidnapped and almost murdered by the Metropolitan police in 2009, that he has no place in the new Police Force (in fact, Bernal is wrong, for Yonatan has against all odds been teaching at UNES since 2012).
Just a few days ago, Matheus and Franco from Venezuela Diversa presented the Report for the State of Human Rights of the LGBTI community in Venezuela in front of the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights. It’s sad and grim.
From goverment officials expressing agression toward the community, to the lack of legal protection for same sex couples, more than a decade of continous law projects for which not a single lawmaker will support, and the continuous and unstoppable murder of transexuals and homsexuals (much of the time carried out by security forces) for which there is no justice.
Bernal’s solution is for them to stay inside the closet.Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.