Guatemala: LGBTI congress takes place in Guatemala

The eighth National Congress of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in Guatemala took place this week in Guatemala City. It provided a space for dialogue, discussion and agreements among the LGBTI community and key social and political representatives.

The event was organized by the National Network of Sexual Diversity and HIV of Guatemala (REDNADS) with the support of Colectivo Gay Indígena, Asociación Gente Positiva, the lesbian grupo ODISCEA, Lambda, OTRANS and TransFormación, among other groups. The Presidential Commission of Human Rights of Guatemala, the Human Rights Office (of Guatemala),, the National Democratic Institute, UNAIDS, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala also supported the event.

“It is important that these type of congresses take place in order for the LGBTI community to exercise its rights,” Sandra Morán, a lesbian who is a member of the Guatemalan Congress and head of the Bancada Convergencia in Guatemala, a leftist party, told the Washington Blade. At the same time she said the government’s embrace of LGBTI issues has advanced slowly with the establishment of a public policy that will guarantee everyone enjoys the same rights.

The government’s policy remains in the draft stages and it is a government action that stems from a lawsuit that LGBTI organizations filed with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in which all of the organization’s actions are recognized.

One of the problems the LGBTI community in Guatemala faces is a law that protects the family and life, which bans marriage between same-sex couples. It also legalizes homophobia, negates recognition of diverse families and prohibits the existence of gender identity that is different than one assigned at birth.

One of the issues highlighted in the conference was a pro-LGBTI legislative agenda, which includes work on a bill that would ban crimes based on prejudice like murder and sexual violence, among others. Read more via Washington Blade