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Same-Sex Kisses Cause Controversy
Benetton, the Italian fashion company, caught the attention of the Spanish-Language press last month with their “Unhate” ad campaign that featured digitally-altered photographs of prominent world leaders kissing on the lips. The majority of the kisses were same-sex, such as Barack Obama kissing Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian Imam. This sparked discussion on the Telemundo morning show, Levántate, where they asked their audience to comment online if “Benetton went too far.” Al Rojo Vivo host Maria Celeste Arrarás commented that the photos where “scandalous.” Primer Impacto, Despierta América, and Noticías Univision also covered the report, often presenting the images as distasteful on the basis that they disrespected religion.
Perez Hilton Admits “Outing” Is Wrong
On November 29 airing of Univision's popular weekly newsmagazine, Aquí y Ahora, host María Elena Salinas conducted an interview with celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton. Perez, who is Cuban-American, discussed topics such as his rise to fame and his coming out. He recounted how his mother said, “You’re my son, I have to love you,” when he came out to her. He also talked about his old practice of outing potentially LGBT celebrities on his blog, admitting that it was wrong and that at some point he came to a realization and told himself, “I have to change how I am doing things.” Perez Hilton was also interviewed in Spanish-language entertainment magazine TV-Notas last month, where he confirmed he will appear as himself in an MTV Latinoamérica drama titled Popland.
LGBT in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rican lawmakers approved a provision awaiting House approval that would eliminate protections for LGBT people in the island’s hate crimes law. According to leading Puerto Rican daily newspapers El Nuevo Día and Primera Hora, acclaimed pop star Ricky Martin, Amnesty International and others have spoken out about the measure. Much of El Nuevo Día’s coverage failed to address the issue of “hate crimes” directly, but Primera Hora’s coverage didn’t shy away from attributing the phrase “hate crime” to the proposed provision. Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives will vote on the new penal code next month.
Leading up to World AIDS Day on December 1, El Nuevo Día published a series of articles on HIV and AIDS. One of the articles highlighted the voices of Puerto Rican LGBT organizations and their HIV prevention efforts. On November 10, they also featured an article titled “Diversity on Screen,” about Puerto Rico Queer FilmFest, which featured Gun Hill Road among their 14 features.
LGBT in México (from Mexico City contributor Enrique Torre Molina)
Leading Mexican daily newspaper, El Universal published a video report about singers who sported androgynous looks, such as Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. The reporter, Fabiana Arellano, used expressions such as "dubious sexuality" and "chimera,” a term from Greek mythology that in Mexico is derogatorily used to refer to a transgender person. She also suggested that several of the artists were deceiving their fans and not expressing their “true” identity or orientation. In Mexico City, the Office of Cultural Affair’s radio station has created a weekly show called Código Diverso, entirely about LGBT issues with political, social, art, cultural, and media-related content. It is presented in a very informed and positive way - almost always in the voice of advocates who are interviewed by the host, Gabriel Gutiérrez. The podcast can be found here.
Primer Impacto Covering LGBT Issues in Colombia
Univision’s nightly news show Primer Impacto recently told the story of Sandra, a transgender ex-soldier in the Colombian military. Before her transition, she was kidnapped by the Colombian guerilla forces, the FARC, and was sexually abused by her fellow captive soldiers. She never received her pension for her military service and was forced to become a sex worker. MSN Colombia also wrote a lengthy article about Sandra’s struggle. On December 1, Primer Impacto ran a story about an American, Chandler Burr, who was denied the adoption of two Colombian children because of his orientation, though they incorrectly referred to his orientation as his “preference.” Burr is currently suing the Colombian Institute of Familial Well-Being on the basis of discrimination.