26 Mar 2009
LGBT advances in Venezuela
Rowland's blog which is becoming crucial reading for ecosocialists had this, which I think he had from somewhere else and so on...good news.
Latin America's sexual conservatism is crumbling....
Venezuela and the Bolivaran Revolution are on the verge of taking a major step forward on the issue of LGBTI-Q rights, and becoming yet the latest country to leave the United States in the dust with regards to the LGBTI-Q rights struggle. According to National Assembly member Romelia Matute, who is Deputy of the Assembly’s Family Commission, the legislature in Venezuela is well on its way to approving a bill that would grant same-sex couples legal recognition, including shared patrimony and inheritance rights.
In the story first reported this past Friday by Spain’s ABC, Matute said that the “report on the ‘Organic Bill for Gender Equality’ is almost ready for a second - and final - [legislative] debate.” She stated that the bill would include language allowing “the union between two people of the same gender” in the form of something she called “co-inhabiting associations”. Matute also said that members of the National Assembly, of which a majority belong to President Hugo Chávez’ United Socialist Party of Venezuela, have met a number of time with Venezuelan LGBTI-Q rights organizations and also said that it was those organizations who had requested that the usage of the term “co-inhabiting association”. Matute said that the government would recognize “the joint-living associations formed by two persons of the same gender, on mutual accord and free agreement, with the full legal and patrimonial effect”.
In another enormous step forward for members of the Venezuelan LGBTI-Q community, according to Matute the the bill would also address transgender issues, saying that “Whoever changes their gender through surgical means, or any other means, exercising their freedom, has the right to their identity, and to drafting or changing all documents associated with their identification”. Taking into consideration how it is that the mainstream “queer” rights groups in the United States tend to shove trans issues off the side in order to push a heteronormative agenda that only addresses gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, it is amazing to see Venezuela taking the step towards recognition of the rights of trangendered people. In a statement that was delivered today by Radio Reflejos of Venezuela , which also operates an online LGBTI-Q show, it was called a collective achievement for the LGBTI-Q right movement in Venezuela. It also singled out a few individuals who, they say, have attended meetings with those drafted the bill, including: Transgender rights activist Rummie Quintero from Transfemenina, who is said to be the first transgender person to be ever called for consultation by the National Assembly; Elena Hernaíz from the Reflejos Foundation; transgender attorney Tamara Adrian, from Diverlex (pictured right); and organizations such as Union Afirmativa, the Lesbian Feminist Collective, and others.
It is interesting to note those who were not among the list of people brought in for consultations on the bill, including the United Socialist Bloc for Homosexual Liberation or their leader Heisler Vaamonde, who aligned themselves with Chávez’ government over the years despite few advances in LGBTI-Q rights during his decade-old rule.
Finally, LGBTI-Q activists have urged people to contact the Deputies of the Family Commission in order to offer their support too this initiative as it reaches the parliamentary floor for a vote. They include:
Marelys Pérez Marcano: firstname.lastname@example.org
Flor Ríos florrios: @ an.gob.ve
Carmen Rodríguez Rauseo: carmenrodriguez @ an.gob.ve
Juan José Molina: juanmolina @ an.gob.ve
Diluvina Cabello: diluvinacabello @ an.gob.ve
Alberto Castellar: albertocastelar @ an.gob.ve
Viva Chavez! Viva Venezuela! Viva the Revolution! Viva the LGBTI-Q struggle!