Latin Americans take to the streets for LGBTIQ rights

Prise march in Chile
More than 100,000 people marched in Chile's capital Santiago. Photo: @movilh/twitter

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Central and Latin America on June 25 to celebrate the gains made by LGBTIQ activists and demand further change, as part of International LGBTIQ Pride Month.

June 28 marked 53 years since the uprising that took place in New York City’s Greenwich Village, following a violent police raid on the Stonewall Inn in 1969.

For many people, these were the first pride marches since before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

More than 100,000 Peruvians took to the streets in pride marches across 26 cities.

The biggest march was in the capital, Lima, which marked its 20th pride march.  

LGBTIQ rights activist Esther Rodriguez highlighted the importance of on-the-ground mobilisation: “After two years of the pandemic, of living in isolation, our presence in the streets is urgently needed, due to the advances of religious fundamentalist groups that promote hate speech against us.”

Marchers demanded the approval of marriage equality legislation, introduced to Congress in October last year. Same-sex marriage is not legally recognised and the Constitutional Tribunal recently rejected the possibility of same-sex marriages performed overseas to be recognised in Peru.

Marchers also called on Congress to approve legislation which would allow people to change their identity documents to reflect the gender they identify with. Without an accurate form of identity, many transgender people are denied access to healthcare, education and employment.

According to LGBTIQ rights organisation Movilh more than 100,000 people took to the streets in Santiago, Chile.

Chileans celebrated the legalisation of same-sex marriage in March this year, but called on the government to provide greater protections for LGBTIQ people.

The march had a particular focus on demanding anti-discrimination legislation and the repeal of a law which sets the age of sexual consent between people of the same sex at 18, while the consent age for heterosexual people is 14.

Marchers showed solidarity with victims of hate crime, after a gunman killed two people and injured 21 at a well-known gay bar in Norway’s capital Oslo on June 25 — just hours before the city’s pride march was due to start.  

More than 22,000 people marched in El Savador’s capital San Salvador, with key demands including eliminating hate speech from government officials and justice for victims of hate crimes.

Discrimination, harassment and violence against LGBTIQ people is widespread in the country — human rights organisations estimate that about 500 LGBTIQ people have been killed since 1999.

Same-sex marriage is also not legally recognised in El Salvador.

People marching called on the government to approve gender identity legislation, which would allow trans people to change their name and gender on legal documents.