In contrast to the triumphant blend of hedonism and political activism flooding social and new media outlets as the Northern Hemisphere celebrates pride, a more somber public plea for visibility is set to take place in Buenos Aires – the country’s first march against violence targeting trans people (Marcha Contra los travesticidios).
June 28th marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the violent visceral and collective reaction to heavy handed police raids many felt embodied the institutionalized homo- and transphobia embodied in the status quo of 1969 North America. Members of New York’s LGBT community (namely trans women) decided to fight back when police raided The Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar. To many the Stonewall riots are the starting point for LGBT liberation and activism, though some in Argentina are quick to remind you that gay activism started in this fine republic in 1967 with the group Nuestro Mundo. Shade throwing aside, there is no doubt that Argentina has played an important role in international LGBT history.
The first adopter of marriage equality on a federal level in Latin America, and a leader in progressive policy concerning gender identity – Argentina is inarguably on the right side of history in terms of gay rights. The country also serves as the ideal case study on the human price associated with difference between political tolerance (via policy) and actual societal acceptance.
Despite having some of the best laws on the books, the life expectancy for a trans person in Argentina is still 35 years. This stands in contrast to the 72 and 80 years of life expectancy for cis-gendered (or non-trans) men and women, respectively in Argentina according to the World Health Organization.
Those statistics, paired with the brutality many in the community face on a regular basis has led to Argentina’s first national march against trans violence. The march will begin at 6 PM in Plaza de Mayo and make its way to the national congress building.
Community members and activists are set to come together with the simple goal of saying to the rest of society that “we are here”.
Many who plan to participate cite the words of late activist Lohana Berkins as a poignant motive behind the march’s timing. “Firstly, in Stonewall it’s interesting to retake the event and remember it was a revolt… at a time when there was no talk of being gay”. While this quote was part of Berkins mentioning the apparent erasure of trans activists as being an integral part of the Stonewall movement, being replaced by more “palatable” straight acting gay men and women in the gay historical narrative, it still embodies the spirit of activism required to achieve full and viable social inclusion.
When: Tuesday, June 28th at 6 PM
Where: Plaza de Mayo
The following day happens to be International Gay Pride Day, according to Casa Brandon at least. The Buenos Aires’ neighborhood LGBT community center is hosting a screening of the documentaries Furia travesti, Baklava and Después. Prior inscription encouraged spirit of rebellion and activism welcomed.