Report IDAHOT 2014: Venezuela

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Venezuela

Actions for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia were organised in eight different states in Venezuela, in 2014. Just some of the highlights from around the country included various street marches and demonstrations, the release of new public awareness and advocacy materials, and official proclamations from local and state authorities, in honour of May 17.

Caracas communities demonstrate on May 17
In Caracas there were two separate activities organised around the IDAHOT 2014 – reflecting the currently polarised state of Venezuelan politics.
One was the 4th Annual March Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The march was prevented from following its traditional route, after intervention by the local (Libertador) Municipal authorities, and had to stay within the Chacao Municipality. The event was held under the slogan “I’m LGBTI, I have the right to freely express my personality”, and was organised by Venezuela Diversa and Positivos en Colectivo. The parade aimed to petition the Bolivarian government, and other governments around the world, to protect the rights of LGBTI people.
A separate demonstration was also organised by the PSUV (the Chavista bloc) in Libertador.

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental right that cannot be denied on the basis of the sexual orientation, gender identity and expression of a person. This is guaranteed in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and in international law.
…a free and independent media is essential to inform the public and to give voice to LGBTI people to discuss issues that affect them… media has a social responsibility, and ethics play a role in combating all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and to promote mutual understanding between groups.- May 17 statement by Venezuela Diversa and Positivos en Colectivo.

Yonatan Matheus, Director of Venezuela Diversa said “there are endless rights we must vindicate such as the right to identity recognition of transgender people, non-violence in all its expressions by the security forces, in education, in centres of public and private health, in political discourse, in all public spaces”.
Mauricio Gutierrez, representative from Positivos en Colectivo, said “it is a step forward that the municipal councils of Chacao and Baruta unanimously signed the May 13 agreements aimed at promoting respect for sexually diverse communities, and declared May 17 the Municipal day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.”
Municipal authorities speak out
Declarations on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2014 were made by the following municipalities of Caracas: Chacao Municipality, Baruta Municipality and Libertador Municipality.
Previously, the day was declared by the El Hatillo Municipality, and by the Umbrella Municipality of Caracas (2011). The only municipality that is not currently celebrating in Caracas the day, is the Municipality of Sucre.
Puerto Ordaz: Declared in the State of Bolivar the IDAHO-T. They had a concentration on 17 May.
Other activities
Public demonstrations around IDAHOT 2014 were also reported in:
Valencia, Estado Carabobo
Barinas, State of Barinas
Mérida, State of Merida
Maracaibo, State of Zulia
Maturin, State of Monagas, and
Macuto, State of Vargas.
The organization Reflejos de Venezuela also took action around the IDAHOT 2014, including the launch of a guide for parents of LGBT children and young people. The aim was to raise awareness amongst parents of LGBT people, and to encourage a spirit of comprehension around these questions.

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