According to an article in the Washington Blade, out politicians and LGBTI advocates from throughout the hemisphere are converging in Lima to share strategies and best practices related to the advancement of protections for LGBT people and our families.
The article goes on to lay out the successes and challenges facing lawmakers and advocates in the region. On one side of the scale you have Argentina where since 2012 transgender people can legally change their gender without undergoing surgery and the growing list of states in the U.S and countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, French Guiana and a few others that allow lesbian and gay couples to marry.
On the other side of the scale there are hate crimes, violence and criminalization. For example in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Belize consensual sexual relations between gay and lesbian people are against the law and in the United States trans women of color are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. Rates of poverty also impact our communities especially in places where we are not protected from workplace discrimination and for those of us who are immigrant, indigenous, of African descent, or belong to some other group that has been institutionally marginalized. We face harassment, violence and murder in high rates and because our families are not universally recognized-in many places we cannot legally claim our non-biological children-we cannot guarantee the safety and well-being of those we love.
Some of the leaders heading to this meeting include Long Beach, California Mayor Robert Garcia and out politicians from Argentina, Colombia and a lawmaker from the host country who recently came out Carlos Bruce. Bruce came out during the discussion of his proposed civil union bill.
Advocates from Promsex in Peru, Caribe Afirmativo from Colombia, the LGBT Federation of Argentina, Deivis Ventura from the Dominican Republic and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce along with others will be participating in this convening. Chuck Wolfe, President of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute is also supporting these efforts according the Washington Blade and is quoted as saying:
“Victory has a long history of empowering local leaders, and we look forward to sharing these insights with aspiring LGBT advocates across the region. Until we are free everywhere, none of us is truly free.”