Zapatistas on gay rights: 'Let those who persecute be ashamed!'

Wednesday, July 21, 1999

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'Let those who persecute be ashamed!'

MEXICO — The following is an abridged version of a statement issued by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation's (EZLN) Subcomandante Marcos on the eve of Mexico City's 21st Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride march.

To the lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual community: We are grateful that you have allowed us the opportunity to say our word on this, the 21st march of Lesbian, Gay, Transsexual and Bisexual Pride, which has convened some of the best of sexual diversity in Mexico.

May all of you accept the greetings of the Zapatistas on this day of struggle for the dignity of, and respect for, difference.

For a very long time, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals and bisexuals have had to live and die concealing their difference, suffering in silence persecution, contempt, humiliation, extortion, blackmail, insults, violence and assassination.

The different had to bear having their humanness reduced for the simple fact of not being in accord with a nonexistent sexual norm. This norm has been converted into a banner for intolerance and segregation.

Victims at every social level, objects of jokes, gossip, insults and death, those different in their sexual preference remained quiet in the face of one of the oldest injustices in history.

No more.

From all social sectors, from all corners of the country, from all work places, from studies, from struggles, from life: a human demand is raised — respect and recognition for the rights of the lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual communities.

Participating in today's jornada for the recognition of sexual diversity in a visible form are those who, fed up with hiding their different nature, have courage and a fighting spirit in their hearts and in their eyes.

There is nothing to hide. Neither sexual preference, nor rage over impotence in the face of the incomprehension of a government and a sector of society that thinks that everything that is not like themselves is abnormal and grotesque.

What do lesbians, homosexuals, transsexuals and bisexuals have to be ashamed of? Let those who rob and kill with impunity be ashamed: the government! Let those who persecute the different be ashamed!

But it is not just those who can make themselves seen and heard who are participating in this day of struggle.

Many must conceal themselves — at times from themselves — but they do not for that reason renounce a right that belongs to every human being: that of respect for their dignity, without regard to the colour of their skin, their language, their income, their culture, their religious belief, their political ideology, their weight, their stature or their sexual preference.

For those who are present at this mobilisation, our admiration for your courage and audacity to make yourselves seen and heard, for your proud, dignified and legitimate "Ya basta!" [enough!].

Our best wishes to your organised existence.

Our support for your struggle and your demands.

We Zapatistas, men, women and other, but still Zapatistas, greet lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual dignity.

Long life to your fighting spirit and a different tomorrow, one that is more just and human for all those who are different.

From the mountains of the Mexican south-east.

Subcomandante insurgente Marcos.

[Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN, June 28.]