Venezuelans Demand an End to Lesbo-Trans-Homophobia with Kisses and Culture

Over the weekend, the sex and gender diversity movement organized a cultural takeover of public space in Caracas to call for a Venezuela free of lesbo-trans-homophobia.

By VENEZUELA ANALYSIS & ALIANZA SEXO GENERO DIVERSO REVOLUCIONARIA

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Couples celebrated love across the sexuality spectrum on Saturday with dozens of same-sex and trans couples kissing in Plaza Bolivar, downtown Caracas (Humberto Duque).
Couples celebrated love across the sexuality spectrum on Saturday with dozens of same-sex and trans couples kissing in Plaza Bolivar, downtown Caracas (Humberto Duque).

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“I believe that any serious event that takes us out onto the street and with the people is a desirable event at the moment. Moreover, this is a combative event because in this time we have to battle against groups on the street that are waging war [against us] and have their own political interests," Chea Rodriguez told Ciudad Caracas. Rodriguez is a professor at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela and a self-identified trans-woman (Humberto Duque).
“I believe that any serious event that takes us out onto the street and with the people is a desirable event at the moment. Moreover, this is a combative event because in this time we have to battle against groups on the street that are waging war [against us] and have their own political interests," Chea Rodriguez told Ciudad Caracas. Rodriguez is a professor at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela and a self-identified trans-woman (Humberto Duque).

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ASGDRe members also organized a public sexual education workshop. Here, they explained how to use a female condom breaking stereotypes that the LGBTI community is promiscuous (Katherine Castillo).
ASGDRe members also organized a public sexual education workshop. Here, they explained how to use a female condom breaking stereotypes that the LGBTI community is promiscuous (Katherine Castillo).

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Collectives gave away free condoms and raffled three months worth of oral contraceptives as well. People were invited to speak with event organizers to learn more about the sex and gender diversity movement's political platform and vision (Maria Gabriela del Pilar Blanco).
Collectives gave away free condoms and raffled three months worth of oral contraceptives as well. People were invited to speak with event organizers to learn more about the sex and gender diversity movement's political platform and vision (Maria Gabriela del Pilar Blanco).

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Collectives also sold ecological products for menstrual cycles and an array of locally made food. Pins with ASGDRe's logo are featured in this image.  (Maria Gabriela del Pilar Blanco).
Collectives also sold ecological products for menstrual cycles and an array of locally made food. Pins with ASGDRe's logo are featured in this image. (Maria Gabriela del Pilar Blanco).

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Body painters created bold and elaborate designs to call attention to taboos regarding nudity and also to encourage body positivity (Humberto Duque).
Body painters created bold and elaborate designs to call attention to taboos regarding nudity and also to encourage body positivity (Humberto Duque).

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While the majority of individuals that kissed were couples, many celebrated long time friendships as well (Humberto Duque).
While the majority of individuals that kissed were couples, many celebrated long time friendships as well (Humberto Duque).

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Poets and writers spoke about their work which was for sale outside of the Bookstore of the South. The state owned editorial El Perro y La Rana has published a variety of literature from and about the sex and gender diversity movement in recent years (Maria Gabriela del Pilar Blanco).
Poets and writers spoke about their work which was for sale outside of the Bookstore of the South. The state owned editorial El Perro y La Rana has published a variety of literature from and about the sex and gender diversity movement in recent years (Maria Gabriela del Pilar Blanco).

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Representatives from sponsoring organizations called on Venezuelans of all backgrounds to support the initiative to declare Venezuela free of lesbo-trans-homophobia (Katherine Castillo).
Representatives from sponsoring organizations called on Venezuelans of all backgrounds to support the initiative to declare Venezuela free of lesbo-trans-homophobia (Katherine Castillo).

On Saturday, the Sex and Gender Diversity Revolutionary Alliance (ASGDRe in Spanish) reclaimed the main square of downtown Caracas hosting an all day event to declare Venezuela free of Lesbo-Trans-Homophobia. The event was organized in conjunction with the state owned and operated national chain Bookstores of the South (Librerias del Sur) and included: sexual education forums, showcases of relevant literature from and about the movement as well as a massive display of public affection with same sex couples and trans couples kissing.

The event was the first popular movement organized event since the issuing of Decree 006 on May 17th, International Day Against Homophobia, which declared the South American nation's capital free of homophobia, transphobia and any other social discrimination. 

Passerby engaged with event organizers to debate the social conservatism that still pervades throughout Venezuelan society. Event organizers told VA that while some people initially were very taken aback by the visibility of the event due to their religious notions regarding sex and gender diversity, many people engaged in respectful debate about gender equality and equal rights for same sex couples. 

In recent months, the struggle for same sex civil marriage in Venezuela was given the green light by the Supreme Court of Justice. Currently, the discussion to push forward the proposal rests on the shoulders of the opposition-led National Assembly which have not moved in either direction on the matter.  

The event also comes amid the community's outrage following the local authorities' discrimination and harrassment of two Lesbian couples who were affectionate in public spaces in Caracas on two separate occassions.  

Along with ASGDRe and Bookstores of the South, the event was sponsored by Equality Venezuela (Venezuela Igualitaria), Urban Ciclist Movement (Movimiento de Ciclismo Urbano), School of Popular Feminism (Escuela de Feminismo Popular) and Divas of Venezuela (Divas de Venezuela). 

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