108

108 NEVER AGAIN! Memory of a Dictatorship

108. A number. A word. A value judgment that is still used pejoratively by Paraguayan society to disqualify people for their sexual orientation, as a synonym for "homosexual", "puto-travestl" or "weird".

Most people do not know the origin of the term and this is no accident. In this way, historical memory is weakened and the true causes and consequences are avoided: deep discrimination and persecution.

It all started on September 1, 1959, in Barrio Obrero, when the fire broke into one of the rooms of a pension. It was the radio presenter Bernardo Aranda, who was cremated in his own bed, after being killed in strange circumstances. .

The police intervened and needed culprits. Without any proof they accused 108 alleged gay men who were imprisoned, savagely tortured and their names listed, distributed in all the shops and public buildings of Asunción, popularizing the term "108 y un quemado” (108 and one burned).

The fate of these 108 people after the torture to which they were subjected is unknown. On the other hand, the murder of teenager Mario Luis Palmieri in 1982 also triggered intense persecution of LGBTI+ people in times of Stroessner’s dictatorship.

In this context, since 2012 SOMOSGAY has been conducting an audiovisual project to recover memory, interviewing victims of these persecutions throughout the country, rewriting a different history against LGBTIphobia, authoritarianism, violence, discrimination, genocide, male-chauvinism and racism.

We build from solidarity, empathy, hope, love and the positive things that we want to see in Paraguay, in the region and the world. We reaffirm our pride in "being a 108", as a symbol of resistance to tyranny, committed to recognizing the victims of repression, torture, exile and even death, because of their orientation, identity and sexual practices.