LGBTI conference

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By JULIAN RODRIGUES*

The Brazilian State has not institutionalized the issue of LGBTI rights. The current government can take a fundamental step by convening the IV Conference

Companion Luis Inacio Lula da Silva:

I'm sure you still have memories of that beautiful night on June 5, 2008. On several occasions, you referred to the symbolism and the strong emotion of that event.

For the first time in the history of Brazil (and the world!) a President of the Republic opened a popular/governmental Conference with about a thousand participants – aimed at building public policies to combat discrimination and violence against the population of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites, transsexuals and all people discriminated against due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

In the most iconic photo of that night, the Lord opens a small rainbow flag alongside the dear and missed Dona Marisa and Fernanda Benvenutty. It must have been the first time that a President of the Republic spent so much time next to a transvestite in a public ceremony.

His government’s LGBT policies had been under the coordination of the National Human Rights Secretariat since 2004, led by the giant Nilmário Miranda, which launched “Brazil without homophobia” (the first cross-cutting program of policies to promote LGBTI rights in the country and the world!) .

And we've been gaining strength. In 2009 his government created the Coordination of LGBT Policies and in 2010 the National Plan for the Promotion of LGBTI Policies was launched, expanding and reinforcing the pioneering actions of Brazil without Homophobia.

There were many advances and dialogues in his government. It was not without reason that Toni Reis, one of the most distinguished and long-lived leaders of the Brazilian LGBTI struggle – in an event towards the end of his second government, awarded him the affectionate title of “Santa Claus of the LGBTI”.

The II National Conference took place in 2011, still riding the wave of advances that his government made possible. The third edition took place in April 2016.

However, we are left with a bitter taste in our mouth. Valuable comrade Dilma never liked Conferences very much – you know. The president did not open our meeting. Furthermore, the president had said that reactionary nonsense that has gone down in history: “no government agency will be allowed to advertise sexual options; in no way can we interfere in people's private lives”.

All right, I pass a lot of cloth to great Dilma on several issues. But I never understood what was going through her head: could it be that she visualized the gays, sapas, locks invading houses, schools and churches? Indoctrinating straight and straight innocents to the sound of Glória Gaynor and Ana Carolina? Dragging them all to a gay sauna/dyke bar – with those insufferable voice and guitar shows?

Lula, Silvio and Simmy

Lulão was right when he attributed to Silvio Almeida (a great intellectual – but without previous experience in public administration) the mission of rebuilding Brazilian human rights policy.

More than that: the thorny task of leading a broad ideological-cultural-programmatic movement – ​​of anti-fascist propaganda and communication dispute. Humanist, progressive, anti-racist, feminist, libertarian. This is no small feat after the reactionary hecatomb that has devastated us in recent years.

Silvio Almeida was precise: he appointed the trans activist from Pará, an experienced public manager, my dear friend Simmy Larrat as coordinator of LGBTI policies for the newly recreated Ministry of Human Rights.

Simmy Larrat worked in Fernando Haddad's municipal management, implementing the innovative policies that I articulated and started to build, mainly Transcidania. I am certain that creating a federal version of this very important Program, with a transversal and federative character (but with design and funding from the Lula government) is among Simmy Larrat's priorities.

Therefore, although the situation remains very difficult for democratic advances and the consolidation of rights – mainly in the areas of women, racial equality, LGBTI, among others – I am very optimistic.

President, Minister and coordinator have all the conditions to replace the LGBTI agenda in public policies, rebuilding and advancing.

Immediately, it is necessary to compose the Council, which is parity between government and civil society and will have 38 members – taking into account not only the diversities present in civil society. Above all, raising the real representativeness, history, the political-intellectual consistency of the indications of networks, groups, collectives. A complex process that also needs to make room for the new activism of networks, for researchers. Bring people from the LGBTI sectors of other movements such as the MST, the CUT, the UNE.

Conference, structure, plan and budget

Public policies in favor of human rights, promoting racial equality, affirming gender equality, universal accessibility, sexual and reproductive rights and combating transphobia and homophobia are very recent at all levels of government. Although we have important experiences in some states and municipalities, as well as in PT federal governments, the fact is that the Brazilian state, as a whole, has not institutionalized or incorporated the issue of LGBTI rights.

The great achievements of our population are the result of historical and paradigmatic decisions of the Supreme Court. Same-sex civil union/marriage was legalized in 2011.

In 2018, the STF recognized the right of trans people to change their civil registry. The legal equivalence of homophobia/transphobia to the crime of racism – the main claim of the LGBTI movement – ​​was decreed by the Supreme Court in 2019.

In other words: Brazil has become a paradise for queers, trans and les. Before it was. Without underestimating for a second the colossal importance of the achievement of our civil rights, it must be said that the lives of most LGBTIs are still the same as those of the Brazilian people – and have gotten much worse since the 2016 coup.

It's April. It's time to make the decree calling the process of LGBTI conferences across the country – between August and November. Municipal, state, thematic, free stages.

Basic text, debates, election of delegates. All with great fervor – culminating in the national stage of the Conference that will take place in the Brazilian capital in December. Of course, it will be opened by Lulão – picking up the thread of the story.

The National Conference must approve a Plan, guidelines, actions and goals. Guide the federal government in creating structures and making available budgetary resources that will enable policies to promote LGBTI citizenship. Start all over again.

The advantage is that now we have more experience, more theoretical – and practical accumulation, more visibility in the media. The number of LGBTI Parades across the country has grown a lot, the number of militants (mainly young people) has grown.

Therefore, in order to systematically restart the process, it is necessary that Lulão and Sílvio Almeida call the fourth edition of the National LGBTI Conference soon. The National Council must be the pole of this construction. First step: to set up an Organizing Committee, perhaps with two forums, a broader one of an advisory nature and a restricted one, an executive one – which will get its hands dirty.

The time is now, therefore.

Lula, Silvio and Simmy: invite LGBTI people to think, debate, elaborate, design. Helping put the new framework in place (surfing the wave) to structure the new national programs to combat discrimination, anti-violence and pro-citizenship.

See you soon less in Brasilia – in this delight that the Fourth National LGBTI Conference must be.

* Julian Rodrigues, journalist and teacher, is a PT militant and an activist in the LGBTI and Human Rights movement.

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