Venezuelan LGBTI Community Holds Annual Pride March

Major demands include eliminating discrimination in adoption policies, a civil union law, and greater medical coverage for those with HIV/AIDS.

By Paul Dobson
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LGBTI activists march through Caracas in their annual pride event
LGBTI activists march through Caracas in their annual pride event. (Félix Gerardi / Adrián García / AVN)

Merida, July 2, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) community held their annual pride march in Caracas Sunday.

This year’s march was estimated to be 30 percent larger than the 2017 July 1 event and formed part of continental gay pride activities with large demonstrations held Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil.

More than 40,000 activists demanded action from the Bolivarian government on a number of key issues, including the legalisation of civil unions, the promotion of a law against sexual, identity, and/or gender discrimination, extending adoption opportunities to the LGBTI community, as well as improved access to medication for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In defiance of a torrential rainstorm, activists from all across Venezuela joined those from the capital in a colourful and vibrant display of force. The march culminated 30 days of cultural, sporting, recreational, and political LGBTI activities in Caracas as part of the inaugural Sexual Diversity Rebellion month.

The slogan for this year’s pride march was “18 years breaking out of the closet in Venezuela” in reference to the renewed prominence and legal rights which the LGBTI community has won during the 19-year-long Bolivarian process.

March participant Oswaldo García, speaking at the activity, said that today he feels free “thanks to the revolution,” claiming that before 1999 the LGBTI community faced social and even police repression when publically taking to the streets as they did this July 1.

However, others expressed frustration at the slow pace of progress in changing opinions in Venezuelan society, which, especially in rural areas, continue to be conservative and discriminatory vis-a-vis LGBTI citizens.

Juan Bolivar came to the activity “to march for my rights, for the right to marry, to express my homosexuality where I want (…) for the right to show affection in the streets without anyone telling me off.”

“There’s plenty of discrimination in Venezuela,” he added.

His sentiments were echoed by Pamela Monterrubio, a transgender hair stylist, who explained that “we suffer a lot of humiliation and bullying.”

Amid the numerous proposals advanced by the participants, Monterrubio called for a legal change in Venezuela’s identity card system which would allow for transgender citizens to modify their legal status.

In a parallel and smaller activity, LGBTI doctors denounced the lack of HIV/AIDS medical coverage in Venezuela, claiming that 75 percent of those who suffer from the disease cannot receive treatment.

Venezuela is currently in the midst of deep economic crisis exacerbated by US-led financial sanctions, which has constricted access to imported food and vital medicines, such as anti-retroviral drugs.