2010-05-04 00:00:00

The opening speech pronounced by President Evo Morales at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth caused big commotion. International and national opposition media have blown up his words, and several LGBT groups have distributed manifestos denouncing them and asking people to sign-on.
What was there so serious in his expressions that caused such a reaction? He stated, “The chickens we eat contain feminine hormones, therefore, when men eat these chickens they suffer from deviations in their male being”, he carried on to describe involuntary changes observed in human organs as a consequence of the consumption of genetically modified animals.  He made reference to hormonal alterations induced in animals which, according to his description, can provoke hormonal alterations in people who eat them. In strict terms, he was speaking about health; although it might be interpreted in such a sense, he did not say anything categorical about relationships, nor about gender identities or sexual orientation.
One could ask, does the use of the term ‘deviations’ in this case synthesize the position of President Evo on the topic of sexual diversity, or does it reflect policies promoted by the Bolivian state in this matter? A summary review of the information available suggests the answer is No, since the present Constitution as well as related public policies are oriented rather towards the full recognition and respect of sexual diversity. So in fact, what occurred was a sensationalist "hunt" after the hidden meaning of a word -possibly a simple slip of the tongue- intended to provoke biased interpretations without taking into account the other words spoken and the overall context.
We need to consider, then, these other deviations: those reducing a whole standpoint to a simple slip; those who - behind the shield of media spectacularity - transform causes that in their time have been on the cutting-edge, into a pretext or front to channel attacks on the transformation processes which, with all the contradictions and difficulties inherent to historical changes, are progressing in our region.
Magnifying one or another expression, among so many things said evades the core issue and the most transcendental one of the Cochabamba events: inserting the Rights of Mother Earth onto the global agenda and the popular imagination. These rights in some sense embrace all of us and thereby create a milestone on the road to giving recognition and respect to the diversity inherent to all forms of life. This implies a new, advanced framework for humanity and its fights for equality, challenging us, at the same time, to update and innovate discourse and arguments.
Therefore, beyond the particular circumstances of this episode and the debate it triggered, it would be interesting to know what changes have taken place or should take place in evoking the elements ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ for a greater understanding and affirmation of sexual diversity. Also, to what extent the adoption of a new paradigm or vision recognizing the indissociable character of human beings and nature leads to the relocation of distances which, at some point, needed to be emphasized, with political purposes, in the fight against homophobia and discrimination.
Within the frame of those previous debates, the natural order appeared to be systematically invoked by the conservative discourse to affirm heterosexuality as the only ‘normal’ way, while the anti-establishment and progressive discourse appealed to the social and cultural nature of the construction of human sexuality; individual options or choice resulted in diversities in this sense. We are now able to discern that nature and diversity are indissociable, and that sexual diversity is part of the natural order, or that sexuality’s biological and natural basis is as important as its socio-cultural basis. This being the case, hormones also count, both chickens' and our own.
- Magdalena León, FEDAEPS / REMTE, Ecuador