As part of the partnership between Global Voices and NACLA, a team of five Global Voices authors from Latin America and the Caribbean will contribute weekly articles for a series about women, gender, and LGBT issues. We draw from failures and successes in Latin America and the Caribbean with an eye toward equality, advancement, and resistance for and by women and LGBT people across all borders.
We asked these five authors to tell us why they think that covering these themes in the region is important. We also asked them to share some of the online projects that they’ve discovered while covering LGBT and gender issues.
Sandra Abd'Allah-Alvarez Ramírez is Cuban. She describes herself as “a bisexual woman who loves another woman with whom she is formally married.”
“I’m Cuban, and that’s the main reason why I insistently tackle non-heteronormative sexuality, because in Cuba we have much to accomplish in that regard,” she explains. Sandra, who had to move to Germany to marry her partner, is part of Proyecto Arcoiris, a group of activists who are fighting against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Cuba.
Sandra pointed us to Pikara Magazine, a website where she often contributes articles and interviews. Pikara Magazine covers news with a gender perspective, featuring people and stories that rarely appear in the media.
“I am the son of a wonderful single mother. [She is] a person with an indomitable character, an independent spirit, and has an enviable strength. That’s why I'm interested in issues of gender equity,” Ángel Carrión, a Puerto Rican musician and blogger, explains.
Ángel says he has always been interested in stories about people who are marginalized by society. He thinks that valuable knowledge and perspectives are lost when people are excluded. Furthermore, Ángel feels he has a duty to draw attention to “the invisible,” and to help educate and change mentalities about LGBT and gender issues.
He recommends several projects from Puerto Rico, like Proyecto Matria, an organization that seeks to help victims of domestic and sexual violence on the island. He also mentions the Committee Against Homophobia and Discrimination, a group that started at the University of Puerto Rico, and the LGBTT Community Center of Puerto Rico, which offers a variety of services (legal and psychological) for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Transgender community.
Laura Vidal is a Venezuelan researcher exploring societies, their culture, and their stories. She currently lives in France.
In her opinion, “gender equality and the portrayal of movements defending the freedom of LGBT communities are fraught with misunderstandings—many intentional.” She adds that in Latin America, “the concept of gender is fiercely attacked by conservative ideas that have changed little over the years.”
Laura thinks that the debate about gender and LGBT issues in the region needs to improve, and that it is troubling to see how different parts of society dehumanize women and the LGBT community.
When asked about projects dealing with these issues, Laura mentioned the work of Coral Herrera Gómez, a Spanish scholar focusing on gender theory who Laura is interviewing for this series. She also mentioned the NGO Aliadas en Cadena, which organizes workshops for women affected by poverty in Venezuela.
Pamela Martínez Achecar, a Dominican economist and researcher, recognizes that although Latin America and Caribbean countries have advanced rapidly in economic development and in legislation to expand freedoms for its citizens, women and the LGBT community continue to struggle to receive the same treatment their male, often straight, peers receive.
She thinks that “it is therefore vital to guide the focus of public attention to these struggles, many waged in silence, to raise awareness and to highlight the great efforts of many who are fighting against inequality.”
Pamela recommends following the Center for Gender Studies from the Santo Domingo Institute of Technology, a center “devoted to higher education, research, and advocacy on public policies from a gender perspective.” She also pointed us to the Dominican feminist organization Colectiva Mujer y Salud (Women and Health Collective).
For Mexican journalist Andrea Arzaba, “gender equality doesn’t exist in Latin America, especially in rural communities.”
Andrea has met women from Southern Mexico who are not allowed to study beyond secondary school, “simply because they were born as women.” She has also witnessed cases of women who endure physical and psychological abuse because they are economically dependent on a man. “These are some of the cases that have inspired me to write about gender equality and to bring these issues to the online discussion.”
Andrea follows the work of World Pulse, a nonprofit social media enterprise that’s using digital media to give women from around the world a space where they can connect to each other and speak out about their issues. She also recommends following the blog Mujeres Viajeras (Traveling women).
Andrea started The Sunflower Post, a blog covering news from around the world with a gender perspective, and is currently writing for several websites like Future Challenges, Animal Político and IJNET. You can read her personal blog at One Lucky Life and follow her on Twitter at @andrea_arzaba.
Global Voices’ mission is to shed light on stories that remain untold in the mainstream media. Women, gender, and LGBT issues are generally either invisible or distorted in public discourse around the world. This invisibilization is one of the reasons we have made the coverage of these important topics one of our priorities, and a part of our partnership with NACLA.
Stay tuned to read Sandra, Angel, Laura, Pamela, and Andrea’s posts during the following weeks!
NACLA and Global Voices explore various issues concerning Latin America and the United States in a series of weekly posts that combine analysis on current political issues with exploration of local voices in blogs and social media.