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Menchi Barriocanal

Menchi Barriocanal

access_timeDecember 20, 2013 01:31 pm

"There is still a pending debt of the media in this issue of discrimination, sometimes even the very same media encourages intolerance"

Known, adored and respected by thousands of Paraguayans, Menchi Barriocanal is a warm and friendly myth that emerged in journalism three decades ago, and has since gone but not gaining a solid reputation as a professional and as a person, very committed to children , human rights , the fight against discrimination and supporting the democratic awakening that is barely emerging in our society.

This multi-faceted woman who was once called the "Bride of Asunción'' which has sung vehemently protest songs in difficult times of dictatorship, which was named by UNICEF as Goodwill Ambassador and whose presence always generates excitement in the TELETON marathon. She is also a devoted grandmother and a Paraguayan open-minded promoted from the field of tolerance and non-discrimination against LGBT people. In this brief interview, Menchi gives us her view on violence in the media, marriage equality, her experience and motivations to always be committed to solidarity, besides also anticipated some of her projects.

How would Menchi define herself?

For those who know me and just do not know how to define myself, for those who already know me and maybe a while longer defined me, for everyone, tell them to define myself as a sensitive person who gets involved with what happens to her people: at this time that I have lived and I try to contribute my two cents from my place. I am a visceral woman in many things because when things hurt me I say them, unequivocally, even if it means causing some injuries along the way, but those injuries arise from the affection and conviction of what I think. Perhaps ultimately it can not be considered as wounds and Serrat says, "the truth is never sad, which is no remedy." I am a passionate woman who lives passionately and enjoy every minute of her life.


About your social commitment and struggle for human rights for quite some time, what could you tell us?

In fact I think you can not live being indifferent to the suffering of others, I find it inconceivable if my life did not feel what happens to the people around me. While life has been kind to me in many ways, that does not mean I do not stop your ears and open your eyes to what is happening around me. My life has meaning that from me and rescue me I can also rescue someone, and that permanently gives. Why I support the people who fight for human rights, looking to build a fairer, more tolerant and inclusive society. My social commitment of say there forever.


“There is still a pending debt of the media in this issue of discrimination, sometimes even the very same media encourages intolerance”


Discrimination is embedded in our society, we can observe in national and international news, countless acts of violence against LGBT people. On this point, what would be the role to be played by the media to stop discrimination?

I think they play a crucial role and there is still a pending debt of the media in this issue of discrimination. Much remains to be done, because sometimes even the same media encourages intolerance. I think the responsibility is always personal, each person must somehow pass through a process to get to understand that you can not discriminate and mistreat people. In fact, you have to understand that from the same treatment that is given to children arises in many cases violence, there are many everyday examples of this situation, children three years practically living hell because of their own parents, who are all that the child has and should care for and protect him. Considering that there are still many people who justify and defend the use of violence as a way to educate children, it is clear that if something as elementary as that we may not understand then it will be very difficult to be tolerant and respect for eg LGBT people.
Physical punishment is unjustifiable. We should be educated with respect, because when you hit a child is because you have no arguments and you 're instilling to also display that same behaviour tomorrow and that same attitude with your children and the people around them .
So if there are still such elementary things we can not learn, we see that the road ahead is very long and we have a long way to go. But they are issues that are just beginning to process here in Paraguay . There is a gap with the rest of the world where they are debating while educating and addressing this issue with renewed amplitude.

Before, was there more discrimination in the media?

In that sense I think there is less discrimination now as it was stronger. Now there are people in the media, opinion leaders even informing properly and who know more about the issue.


"We all have rights to get married, we should not have first or sencond class citizens. Whoever wants to do so should have every right to do so."


Each year, new countries are adopting the law allowing same-sex legally binding, with the same rights as any heterosexual couple. What is your opinion on gay marriage? Do you think it will soon be possible here in Paraguay?

Everyone has the right to marry. There should not be such thing as first and second class citizens. Whoever wants to do so, should have every right to do so. Now, to be frank, it seems to me that our country is not ready yet, I think that in the crowd there is much fear, but we are waking up and accepting the changes although very slowly.
People will be changing as they discuss and talk about it, so that the walls will fall. I believe that those who react with anger because they do not have answers, because in the absence of responses they show a negative stance and then it is best to inform, not to attack. I say this because to me it has happened to me several times, many people really know anything about it and the lack of information creates fear.
That is why it is important that discussions are given within an area of mutual respect for people who are afraid to lose their fears. It is better to be in the discussion in order to build and not be shooting from the outside because it does not build the cross fire from the outside that has no plot, I always tell people that instead of criticizing they should join.

According to complaints received by the organization SOMOSGAY daily, there are a lot of parents that drive their children from their homes when they learn they are LGBT. As a mother, what do you think about this?

We recently had a visit from Marcela Ordenes, from the Group of Parents, Family and Friends of the Sexual Diversity Chile MUMS organization. I thought it was great for her to come here and talk about it. I heard her in an interview by Luis Bareiro and Cativelli, and during the interview she was correcting the terms used by the journalists. This is an example of the lack of information that we suffer because Luis Bareiro still being a very respectful and knowledgeable professional is not yet aware of the appropriate terms for you to address the issue.