The Fight for LGBTQ+ Equality in South America

A conversation around the challenges and successes of the fight for LGBTQ+ equality in South America. With Alberto de Belaunde, LGBT+ Peruvian Congress member, and Tamara Adrián, Venezuelan Congress member and first transgender elected officer in Latin America.

  • Visibility is incredibly important in the world of politics

As trailblazers in their respective countries, both de Belaunde and Adrián speak to the challenges of engaging with politics when there were no openly LGBTQ+ politicians in their countries. Being open in such influential spaces can be challenging, but it also can have an incredible impact on paving the way for more openness in politics and in all people accepting themselves.

  • The media has an incredibly important role to play in encouraging diversity–and still has far to go in terms of trans representation

Media is an incredibly essential aspect for encouraging diversity at all levels of society, both within fictional narratives like television and movies, and within the visibility of public LGBTQ+ figures.

  • Coming out doesn’t just happen once

De Belaunde told his own “coming out” process, how he realized that he was not fully out during his first term in office, and how once he was out as openly gay he won his second term by an even larger margin than the first. Coming out is not something that only happens once, but a process that will happen for the entirety of LGBTQ+ lives because of the heteronormative expectation of our society.

  • There are deep-rooted challenges in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality in South America

Adrián explains how challenging fighting for trans equality in Venezuela has been for her. She explains how even though she has been accepted by her political party as an openly trans legislator, she is not able to be seen as a woman under the law. Even during the panel, Adrián points out that she is receiving hate messages on her Twitter account. There is a serious problem with homophobia and transphobia, and changing this will be incredibly difficult.

  • Things are changing in many South American countries 

De Belaunde points towards how South America was actually one of the first places where LGBTQ+ marriage was passed. There is more participation and visibility of people in Peru than De Balunde has ever seen, and the politician talked about how much hope that gives him in the fight for equality.

Global Pulse on Equality - South America 1