Venezuelan grassroots movements have begun to present their diverse proposals for the constituent assembly announced by President Nicolás Maduro this May. The constituent assembly will be comprised of key Venezuelan sectors including communes, campesinos, and workers that will come together to develop a new constitution based on the needs and wishes of the people. Additionally, popular movements have responded to the need to present their political platforms for consideration. The sex and gender diversity movement is one.
In Venezuela, the LGBTQ community has made revolutionary gains within the Bolivarian Process; nonetheless, there is always the urgency to push for greater rights and access. As such, the Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diversity Alliance (ASGDRe), an organization across Venezuelan national territory, came together to collectively design an initial set of proposals to participate in what militant María Helena Ramírez Hernández calls “a new stage of the Bolivarian Revolution that seeks to overcome fascism, hate and terrorism financed by the US Government and carried out by the opposition in Venezuela.”
Ramírez continues, “We join the vast majority of the Venezuelan people in this [constituent assembly] and on the the national dialogue process that our President Maduro has called upon. This is a new offense against the counter revolutionary forces.”
Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diversity Alliance’s proposal for the Constituent Assembly
As a sex and gender diversity organization, we celebrate the initiative of establishing a National Constituent Assembly, this means the recognition of the people as sovereignty’s keepers, a people that calls for the abolition of a bourgeois state and for the construction of a Communal State.
This is a new opportunity, in the midst of this current moment, to gather different sectors’ proposals that have historically been working to achieve common interests, to meet the social and material needs of the people for the greatest amount of social and political stability. In this sense, the Revolutionary Sex and Gender Diverse Alliance (ASGDRe) joins this call for a new democratic contest to raise proposals, because we, the sexual-dissent people, are part of the working people, students, feminists.
I. Peace is achieved from the recognition of otherness and to achieve national dialogue beyond this current moment, we must reaffirm values of equity and equality before the law and deepen our constitutional guarantees for the sex and gender diverse population as we are part of social groups that have been historically violated, discriminated and marginalized. Settling historical debts with the sex and gender diverse population will allow us to advance towards further organizational gains.
II. Economic Improvement must begin with recognizing the constitutional standing of the forms of collective property of the means of production and of the principle of complementarity and solidarity among nationalized companies and companies under workers’ control, as well as lands recovered by grassroots organizations. Real conditions must be created so that a socialist economy, with hegemony of social property over the means of production, can be progressively established in a collective and cooperative way.
Guarantee the irreversibility of collective ownership of land and worker-occupied means of production, promoting new models of economic relationships based on the needs of the people over monetary value.
This economic development must also take into account and create equitable conditions for the sex and gender diverse population to have to access to decent work, especially trans people who for years have been practically driven to prostitution, violence, and discrimination due to the denial of their rights.
Guarantee agro-ecological principles for our agro-industrial development.
Validate the creation and research of popular, ancestral, gender-diverse, Afro-Venezuelan, indigenous and campesinos’ technologies to build a development model that guarantees investment in our own technologies and prevents the transfer or imposition of technologies that do not respond to the real interests or true needs of our country.
III. Constitutionalize Missions and Major Missions: The social missions must be the pillars for protecting citizens’ social rights and families. This must be done through new forms of organization and territorial management, in which the missions are autonomous in their relationship with the Communal State. These processes are established by people power’s control and oversight.
IV. Justice System: In order to eradicate impunity for crimes committed against the sex and gender diverse population, the Ombudsman Office’s constitutional status must ensure the rights of this population and take necessary actions for their effective protection. There must be actions that lead to retributive / restorative justice for hate crimes, femicides, as well as discrimination based on sexual orientation, expression and gender identity. This also means presenting laws created from the people as a legislative power before the municipal, state, or national legislative bodies.
Guarantee a prison system that ensures the protection, physical integrity, and respect for the identity of trans people while also guaranteeing that their sentences are fulfilled and executed in penitentiary establishments according to their gender identity, without any discrimination or prohibition regarding the sexual orientation, gender identity or expression of themselves and their partners during conjugal visits.
V. Constitutionalize new forms of participatory democracy: It is fundamental to recognize and guarantee the functional financial and administrative autonomy of people’s organizational forms and communal power that have been created throughout these last years. This process must take place under the same spirit that guided the 2007 reform proposal, which recognizes that “People’s Power is expressed by constituting the communities, communes and self-governance of cities, through community councils, workers’ councils, student councils, farmers councils, craft councils, fisherpeoples’ councils, sports councils, youth councils, elderly adult councils, women’s councils, people’s with disabilities councils” and sex and gender diversity councils.
VI. Defend national sovereignty and integrity: In order to preserve public safety and guarantee the integral exercise of human rights for the sex and gender diverse population, it should be stated in the constitutional article regarding people’s equality before the law that there cannot be discrimination based on sexual orientation, identity or gender expression. In articles relating to social and family rights, protection must be guaranteed to all expressions of union between people, regardless of their sexual orientation, identity and / or gender expression, providing them with social security on an equal basis. It is necessary to guarantee same sex marriage and unions in order to protect the right to build different families within Venezuelan society.
As for sovereignty, international treaties signed by the Executive Power should only be applicable if none of its clauses violates national and people’s interests.
VII. Uphold Venezuela’s pluricultural identity. The constitutional development of the values which allow us to recognize ourselves as Venezuelans – so that we can co-exist peacefully – should also protect ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as the diversity of all identities and the different types of relationships other than those of heteronormativity, which has been induced by mental colonization. This [mental colonization] has translated into discriminatory, sexist and misogynist daily practices that prevent the well-being, physical and moral integrity of the sex and gender diverse population.
VIII. Guaranteeing the future. Sex and gender diverse youth are among the most vulnerable populations, therefore mechanisms must be created so that they have the same access to decent work, housing and quality education with equal conditions and freedom from prejudice, which highlight the State’s secular character.
Motherhood and paternity should be a free and direct choice of citizens. For this to happen, it is necessary that women have the right to make decisions over their own bodies; whether to have children and how many children to have and in what time. [The state] should not criminalize women’s sovereign decision regarding the continuation of a pregnancy or not.
IX. Preservation of life on the planet. Nature must be recognized as a political subject and as such biodiversity must be protected and not considered as only a natural resource for extraction. We must safeguard the genetic diversity of plants, especially for food and medicinal uses as the cultural heritage for all Venezuelans. Prohibit any form of private appropriation for the exclusive use and exploitation of plants, animals, microorganisms and any living being. Guarantee the prohibition of patents for seeds and the genetic modification of species throughout the nation.
For the defense of peace, for the foundation of a new productive economic, communal, workers, collective and stable system, for the recognition of our diversities, for the sex and gender diverse population’s right to access cultural life in communities, to the enjoyment of the arts and to participate in scientific and technological progress, for the dignity of our identities, we say:
The sex and gender diverse community is active on and the way to the Constituent Assembly!
Introduction, translation and edits by Jeanette Charles for Venezuelanalysis.com