The organization delivers a house of its own to the community without having to face anymore the difficulties of renting. Cazal addressed the land problem in Paraguay which has a heavy impact on the city where abuses by landlords are commonplace. “All our legislation is designed to discriminate those who don’t have the privilege of owning a piece of land and it gives green light to landlords to commit all kinds of abuse. It’s even worse if you’re gay, lesbian or trans, you’re discriminate three or four times more because of your status, identity and gender expression”, explained the executive director.
In Paraguay it is usual for straight people to continue living with their families even in adulthood and this situation is not that frequent with LGBT people because many times they must leave their homes at a young age “as a matter of survival”, added Cazal. Thus, in the world, the uninhabited parts of the city are the places where the community socializes. That’s the reason the center of Asuncion, which has been experiencing abandonment, is the optimal place for a Community Center. “We need to be close to our people, because of our social function. We need to stay where our people are.”
The negative experiences in the beginnings, with buildings in terrible state, high rents, repair costs and mistreats by owners, made the acquisition of a property an institutional project faced by the highest level. The main goal of the organization became the purchase of a building located in a place highly attended by the community. “If we want SOMOSGAY to be sustainable, we must have a house of our own and stop being subjected to the whims of a landlord. Nevertheless, we are workers. We don’t have money to buy a house, therefore we thought of a innovating project which allowed us to buy the property”. The strategy to reach that goal was through surplus value. “We, workers with class conscience, only have our workforce, our surplus value.”
The managers and the executive directors set aside an important percentage of their salaries to a seed fund that grew over time. The amount was not enough to buy a house but it was for the downpayment of a property bought through leasing, a new concept in the country. With the downpayment made, the organization became co-owner of the building and after the last installment this January 2017, the LGBT Community Center’s building is now completely owned by SOMOSGAY.
The LGBT Community Center provides many services for the general public: it is a clinic, a leisure hub, a cyber coffee, and a gathering space decorated with graffiti. Everything is free for the general public.
The Kuimba’e Clinic is the first of its kind in the country, dedicated to the health and wellbeing of men. Healthcare services as well as testing, counseling and psychological consultation are freely available to everybody. The clinic, supported by AHF foundation, is open from Monday to Saturdays. To ask for an appointment people can call (021) 495 802 or through Whatsapp (0986) 173200.
“This fact sets a very important precedent to many people”, said the director executive. SOMOSGAY has its first house in 2017 and the LGBT Community Center is finally anchored in the center of the city as an oasis for hope and progress that seeks to spread all over the country.