The National Meeting of Parents and Friends of LGBT people was held on November 22nd, as well as the start the National LGBT Congress, organized by SOMOSGAY in the city of Caacupé, department of Cordillera. The event began promptly at 10:30 with opening remarks of the Executive Director and Co-Founder of SOMOSGAY, Simon Cazal, plus several presentations by activists and members of the organization. The Congress gathered more than 100 activists from across the country to begin what will become a series of departmental and municipal conferences, which will be gradually developed at medium term.
“We are here because we want to change our society, change our country for good. SOMOSGAY and LESVOS have a clear agenda: suppress sexism and homophobia in all its manifestations. Our mission as activists is to deconstruct an heritage of over a hundred years of prejudice and preconceptions. From now on, let's reclaim our rights with joy and colors" said Cazal to welcome the attendees.
The Meeting of Parents and Friends of LGBT People -parallel to the Congress- was attended by more than 20 families of gays and lesbians from different cities of the country, constituting this space as an historic opportunity in which they discussed issues of sexual diversity, human rights and non-discrimination. This meeting was facilitated by Ms. Yolanda Mujica, with a strong experiential component. “We will support our sons and daughters to fight for their rights and have a happy life" said Diana, of 45, mother of an LGBT activist. Meanwhile, Nilda, of 62, said "we all are equal in the eyes of God, and I am here to learn and understand situations because I want to help improve our society to raise the quality of life for my family. The family is the most important foundation of society. A parent is not bad parent for having a gay son, but is bad father if he rejects his gay son."
In the same context, several issues were discussed on the first day of the Congress, such as labor, justice and public safety, health and welfare, sport and education for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, focused to outline strategies to strengthen LGBT citizenship and to combat violence, homophobia and discrimination.
During the morning, participants had the opportunity to learn from experiences in Argentina, thanks to the comments of activist Pablo Fracchia, who through a brief videoconference sent messages of encouragement and support to the young people gathered in this event. "Latin America has a common denominator: homophobia. Our countries are increasingly moving towards a more equal and just societies and this is the time when we must work even harder, not matter how hard it gets" said the Fracchia, representing All Out, an organization that mobilizes people and their social networks worldwide to build a global movement in defense of love and equality. "Our mission is to build a world where anyone has to lose their family, compromise their freedom, safety or dignity because of who he or she loves, and therefore, my sincere greetings and messages of support for SOMOSGAY", reaffirmed.
As a result of this Congress, we aim to the establishment of the First Plan for LGBT Citizenship in Paraguay. "We are here to speak out with a more inclusive discourse towards the whole paraguayan society. This society itself needs to come out: recognizing the rights of LGBT people is a victory for our entire society, not just for gays and lesbians" said activist Maximiliano Manzoni, 20.
On Sunday 23rd, the activities continued during the second day of this important event, that deserves special attention since has become an historic initiative for LGBT people to be heard and build political demands and mobilization to various government institutions and civil society.
SOMOSGAY and LESVOS thank everyone who made possible this event, which concluded with renewed energies and strategic commitments to move towards a more just and equal society for all.