Guatemala: Two gay men run for Congress

GUATEMALA CITY — Two openly gay men are among the candidates who are running for seats in Guatemala’s congress.

Aldo Dávila, executive director of the Guatemala City-based HIV/AIDS service organization, Asociación Gente Positiva, is a member of the Winaq Movement. Winaq is a leftist party founded by Rigoberta Menchú, an indigenous human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. Otto René Félix is a member of the far-left Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) party. URNG is a one-time guerrilla movement that formally entered politics in 1998, two years after the signing of the peace accord that ended Guatemala’s decades-long civil war.

During interviews with Washington Blade, both candidates sharply criticized Initiative 5272, a bill in Congress that would “protect the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, freedom of conscience and expression and the right of parents to guide their children in the area of sexuality.” 

Félix stressed that the bill’s supporters “can use 5272 as an electoral weapon to generate conservative votes” in the general elections scheduled to take place on June 16. Dávila said that Initiative 5272 is one of many things in Guatemala that have had an adverse impact on the country’s LGBTI community.

“There are many laws at this moment that are violating our rights,” he said.

Félix said many LGBTI Guatemalans have no access to health care or employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. He added the life expectancy of trans women in Guatemala does not exceed 40 years because of violence. 

“There is a lot of social inequality in Guatemala,” Félix told the Blade. Read more via the Blade