Photo: Sin Etiquetas

The last few years have seen a dramatic development of equal rights for the LGBT community around the world, and Latin America has certainly done its part. Back in 2010, Argentina became the first country in the region to legalize homosexual marriage; today, it’s legal in Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, French Guyana and several Mexican States too. In other nations, like Chile, civil unions between same-sex couples are recognized, with a more complete legal framework in the way. Venezuela, as always in revolution, lags behind.

José Manuel Simons, a Venezuelan lawyer living in Chile and head of the legal process fighting for gender recognition in la Patria Grande, explains the issue in José González Vargas’ post for LatinoUSA:

Despite having won the case for parental rights, we continue without legal protection for couples, no civil unions nor same-sex marriages, and less so, anything related to gender identity.

This struggle is not exactly new, as José notes on his post. A Pride Parade has been celebrated annually since 2000 in Caracas, but like pretty much everything else, chavismo has tried to appropriate it, provoking political sectarianism and division within the LGBT cause utterly weakening it.

After the 2015 National Assembly election (in which transgender lawmaker Tamara Adrián was elected), many thought the time for LGBT rights to be finally discussed in our legislature would come. Even though we argued that the Parliament should discuss them simultaneously with other countless things on the turbulent political arena, the idea of seeing LGBT rights as something primermundista made sure the issue remained in oblivion. As Simons says in González Vargas’ piece:

There’s not one politician taking up the banner for our rights. Not from the so-called inclusive and revolutionary left, nor from so-called activist deputies.

Two years after that new Parliament, we know what happened. No democracy, no gender equality… not even a functional parliament.

Venezuela is a ruined country with critically needed economic and social reforms, but when it comes to Civil Rights, every lost minute means suffering for the disenfranchised.

Equal rights are part of the Venezuela that should be but isn’t.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. It is hard for people to get fired up about gay rights issues when they are foraging for food and medicine.
    This simply is not the issue to be prioritized.
    I doubt that Venezuela’s stance on gay rights will have much of an effect on tourism.

      • Many “activist” world travelers refuse to visit countries that don’t embrace the LGBTQ etc world view. As is their right. As such, those who support such world views often recruit those with similar political worldviews to join them in boycotting travel to these countries.

        Do such boycotts have any effect? Who can say. Some activist people like to make a big deal out of it.

          • Plenty of outrage to go around in Venezuela. Chavismo hates all Venezuelans equally.

            The problem lies with those who are perpetually outraged. SJW’s can never get enough of it. Behind ever tree and around every corner. An outrage.

  2. Before I get shouted down and accused of awful things, let me state that EVERYONE has inherent dignity due to his humanity.

    The fad in the western world is a philosophy of voluntarism, meaning if I think of myself in a certain way therefore I am. But this is a flawed because certain things are objective and wishing them into existence does not make it so. As a trivial example, I may think of myself young, but if I am 80 years old, I am objectively old.

    A man thinking of himself as a woman a woman does not make. You cannot deny that humans are a composite of mind and body. This is written in your genes. So you do not make women or men you recognize them as an objective fact in nature. Some of the strongest opponents of this transgenderism are progressive feminist. Looking feminine is a reductionism of womanhood, what about woman’s health and reproductive rights? What about sexual harassment and victimization of women by stronger men? What about motherhood?

    As for marriage, here again it is not something someone defines, instead it is a recognition of something that happens naturally. Commonly (not always), a man settles with a woman and then offspring appear with no external intervention. There is great benefit in these unions as experience has shown us as a great place to raise the offspring. On the other hand, who I love, how many I love and how I love them is no one business, and certainly not the government. If certain benefits are bestowed on marriages which other unions aspire to, then give them if they seem fair. But benefits a marriage does not make, it is fertility.

    Going back to logic, a set of premises that produces a logical contradiction is of little use as EVERYTHING can be proved through and thus nothing is proved. Voluntarism is a self-contradictory position and yields but confusion.

    • Marriage is not a physical phenomenon brought upon by some law of physics or biology, it’s by no means “natural”. Marriage is an institution, a social convention that takes different forms and is bound by different rules across cultures. Cultures are contingent, they change and adapt. When the western world realised women had the same inherent rights as men, physical punishment was slowly but surely outlawed and erased from the institution of marriage. This time around the west is coming to terms with the fact that homosexuals are not to be excluded from society, and marriage is still a big part of it.

  3. Might as well discuss “civil rights” in Haiti, Syria, Afghanistan, or Zimbabwe. Everything else in such advanced countries as world-leading Kleptozuela is admirably well taken care off.

    Next, we should tackle another priority: endangered lizard species in the Amazon forest.

        • Why would they? Individual rights and freedom and agency are anathema to Revolutionaries. Socialism is all about the collective; individuals are slaves to the state and are disposable. The only persons afforded individual rights is the fearless leader. Fearless leader dictates what rights others may or may not have at his discretion and which may be revoked at any time for any reason.

          I may be wrong, but I suspect Pol Pot was not concerned with basic human rights beyond those of his daughter. Pretty sure basic human rights is not something Fidel got too worked up about, either.

  4. Chavismo is an equal opportunity oppressor. Doesn’t matter your sexual preference or preferred gender identification. You’re gonna get fucked, and not in the fun way.

    This is why so many of us…even those who support LGBT rights…find discussions of this issue ridiculous.

    Hopefully this will become relevant in the future, but now?

    VZ has much bigger fish to fry.

  5. The most basic of rights is the right to eat , to feed yourself , to have access to the health care and medicines you need to protect your health and life and that of your family , the right to have your life and property protected from the free ranging violence of armed criminals , the right of free speech, of due process , to pick the authorities that rule you ….none of these exist in Venezuela …..in the pyramid of rights that people may aspire to , the rights of gays to wed (something that hasnt bothered them for thousands of years) is way way down in the list ………., to give it the importance that this article gives it is to show a distorted view of the human priorities of Venezuelans at this time of persecution and penury…..!!

    • Bill, I’m not sure there is any support for this particular pyramid of rights you suggest. Firstly, the right to eat would fall under social and economic rights, which while recognized in the Venezuelan Constitution, you will not find in other jurisdictions like the USA.

      By contrast, when you consider where the right of equality ranks on the spectrum, which is what the author is talking about, you might want to consider the words of those great American patriots who wrote:

      “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal….”

      Equality under the law precedes other rights in this formulation.

      So the author is not presenting a distorted view of human priorities. The people who dismiss these rights as trivial or unimportant view the situation from the point of view of people who have never experienced the harm relating to inequality and discrimination under the law. That would not be you I hope Bill, because you no doubt understand what it is like to be excluded from the full exercise of your rights in Venezuela on the basis of who you are and what you think.

  6. Dialogue is on hiatus for three days, elections are a few months away and there has been no citizens movement since August. Why are some so dismayed that this would even be broached?

    Even most five or six year olds can walk and chew gum at the same time. Priority of the highest order, of course not, but nor is an issue to be scoffed at so easily.

  7. I always love reading these articles and then know ill be cringing in the comments section. Liberation has to be fought on all fronts, and when LGBTQIA+ are free we will all be free as well. Oppression is intersectional. All these homophobic commenters need to be fired.

    • According to the 2011 Venezuelan Census less than 3% of the population is identified as indigenous. Now, the topic of LGBT demographics is something wildly discussed but estimes goe from anything from 2% to 11%.So, on the lowest estimate it wouldn’t be roughly equal in number, and that’s without taking into considerations if these native populations themselves present cases of non-heterosexual, non-cisgender individuals.

  8. Whatever happened to the chavista with the ponytail? He was quite prominent at one time but hadn’t seen that cat in a long while. Saab go all Ramirez on his ass or something?

  9. Instigator of genocide, broadcasting hatred, just as the eve of the Rwandan genocide, only that Venezuela has many genocides running in parallel:

  10. Of course, any protest is valid and hyped up, even when they are chavistas, of course is all valid until is from a lgbt community demanding their civil rights , then the army of dumbasses logs in to degilitimize it and say that “there are other priorities”. And i guess these are the same people who log hours upon hours reading about futile bullshit like petro or wondering if they are going to get some dicom auction

    Of course, when your business i run down by Sundee, i and others may simple feel that there are other priorities too. Who cares about a minority of sifrinos and their exported goods shopping centers right?

  11. There is a finite amount of energy (human) available to a society. It’s our evolutionary survival instincts that drive us to make the obvious decision to put out a fire near our nest (immediate danger) before we weed our vegetable garden (future problems). Sad yet interesting that some individuals seem to be narcissistic to the point of putting their personal self-esteem and erotic justification demands before those of expiring babies, elderly, lame and truly disadvantaged.

    renacuajo67: Seldom do I see such precise explanations of a unnecessarily complex matter. Congratulations from this retired behavioral scientist. Our basic drives are marvelous in that they protect us and our species. The hypothalamus is the engine that protects our genetic code and provides impetus to reproduce and thankfully has remained pretty much unchanged since the dawn of man. Of course the brain stem is older but if your slowly starving to death probably not much the brain stem can do to protect itself. maxmordon: You are correct that the “LGBT demographics” are widely discussed and all over the place. But beyond discussion and reviewing only valid research, going back all the way to Kinsey, the percentage of people identifying as homosexual is 2% or less. (Kinsey’s research was used for years by some to reinforce their personal choices, unfortunately for Kinsey’s legacy the numbers being attributed to Kinsey were fabricated, i.e., having a homosexual experience does not make one a homosexual.)

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