Opening to diversities

2006-02-04 00:00:00

The 3rd Social Forum for Sexual diversity was inaugurated in the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas. There was a climate of expectation as participants demonstrated interest to share experiences and develop common proposals. Phumi Mtetwa, of the South-South LGBT Dialogue, the forums convening organization, defined it as a space free of sexism, racism and homophobia: It is not a physical nor a separate space, but rather a space for discussion and reflection, to permeate the World Social Forum. In this way, the forum proposed to revise and reposition the interrelationships of different themes relevant to sexual diversity with other large themes, such as globalization and neo liberalism.

The opening panel was as diverse as the spirit of the forum, and included, Josefina Lema, leader of the Ecuadorian Indigenous movement Ecuarunari; Guilia, a Brasilian feminist member of the Red Latino Americana de Mujeres Transformando La Economia (REMTE) (Network of Latin American Women Transforming the Economy), the World March of Women, the Campaign against the FTAA and the Feminist Organization Siempre Viva (SOF) (Always Alive); and Marianela Tovar, of the Venezuelan organization Contranatura.

As Josefina Lema noted, “there is diversity in everything: within and among peoples and in nature. In this diverse world, we have to work together, in minga in order to achieve our common objectives and to defend against discrimination”.

On this point, Guilia stated that “we are fighting for autonomy; equality and diversity are the most evident points in common between the feminist and LGBT movements”. She added that “a challenge for us in these last years is to make evident how the global system of domination is structured, expressed in a macho society that maintains daily violence towards women as well as homophobic violence”.

One of the themes that SOF has been working on is the issue of commercialization. For example, the way that our bodies are converted into instruments of trade politics. “Our bodies are seen as market commodities and used as advertising figures on TV, in the streets and every place. Sex trafficking and the prostitution industry have increased. Even our dreams and desires have now become objects of commercialization. The feminist and LGBT movements could work together on common responses to the commercialization of sexuality”.

Marianela Trovar, a left wing militant and current member of the Venezuelan group Contranatura, explained that this is an organization focusing on sexual diversities and gender studies. According to Marienela, the Venezuelan sexual diversity groups generally are still dominated by male homosexuals, while the lesbians have remained invisible.

“There exists the task to include other types of identities, to fight for specific and immediate rights, so that we can gain a bit of space in society. If not we will fall into ghetto politics and risk not giving importance to what happens to others. “

“There is a limit to only considering sexual diversity themes and not seeing the links between other forms of oppression that are part of the capitalist and patriarchal system. Josefina, echoed Marienaela saying that “we are not going to achieve anything if each one only fights for their own battle”. “Homosexuals one the one side, lesbians on the other, indigenous people on yet another” It’s necessary to encounter the points that we have in common to change this capitalist, patriarchal system.