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  EN LA VIDA

News
2003-07-01

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MEXICAN GAY LEADER KILLED

The president of the Lesbian and Gay Collective in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and his lover were beaten to death in their home June 8.

Nogales is 63 miles (101 km) south of Tucson, Arizona, on the U.S. border.

Jorge Luis Armenta Peñuelas, 27, and Ramón Armando Gutiérrez

Enríquez, 33, apparently were killed with a hammer, according to a report in El Imparcial.

Armenta also was running for City Council as a member of the Convergence party. Police have no suspects in the slayings.

— Rex Wockner

PARTNER BILL INTRODUCED IN CHILE

A gay partnership bill was introduced in Chile's Congress June 11.

It would allow same-sex couples who have lived together for at least two years to enter a civil contract and have access to marriage rights in areas such as pensions and inheritance. The right to adoption is not included.

'Our society is not that conservative,' Congresswoman Maria Antonieta Saa told Reuters. 'A small powerful group is holding Chilean society hostage because they don't want to reform the laws so that citizens have the option of choosing their own lifestyle.'

Neighboring Argentina has comprehensive gay civil-unions laws in the city of Buenos Aires and the province of Río Negro.

— Rex Wockner

Guatemala Harassment

Richard Stern, Ph.D., of Costa Rica, reports on news from Guatemala.

On Tuesday, May 14, 2003, Mr. Jorge Lopez, President of the Board of Directors of OASIS, a Guatemalan organization that supports integrated actions against HIV/AIDS, as well as gay rights, was kidnapped by two unknown men, who forced him into a white vehicle, with polarized windows. Luckily, Mr. Lopez managed to escape from his captors and at the moment he is out of danger. In a new act of intimidation, on Friday May, 23, Mr. Lopez and other members of OASIS personnel were victims of an episode of harassment by five men who drove a white car and dressed in civilian clothes. After a short persecution, the car disappeared.

The harassment against this organization probably is linked to the fact that OASIS has been denouncing the police department for abuses against male, female and transvestite sex workers as well as the murders of several trasvestis (the best known is the case of Maria Conchita, aka Luis Palencia). OASIS has been also denouncing the lack of action from the government to prevent and to stop the stigmatization, the discrimination, as well as the human-rights violations of gay people and others, whom, due to social exclusion, are forced to become sex workers.

This attack is in addition to the murders of more than 20 teenagers between January and March of this year who were enrolled in educational programs for young gang members. Those programs were run by organizations like CALDH and the Comparative Institute for Penal Studies. Likewise there has been harassment of 'Lesbiradas' and workers form Casa Alianza during the past two years.

It seems that the reason of all these attacks is the actions of the OASIS in denouncing publicly the irregularities committed by the Guatemalan police department. Another probable reason for being the target of this attacks is the fact that Oasis is working with vulnerable populations such as children who live on the streets, young gays, transvestite sex workers, as well as female and male sex workers.

It is for these reasons that we, the signatory organizations, want to support those who have no voice, and particularly OASIS, in demanding of the Government of the Republic of Guatemala that:

1) The Government Investigate the attacks against of human rights defenders and identify and sanction the people who are responsible for the attacks.

2) The Office of Professional Responsibility of the National Civil Police Department investigate the accusations against the police officers presented by these organizations and proceed with the corresponding legal actions.

3) That the government Guarantee nondiscrimination against Guatemalan citizens by reason for health, sexual orientation, practice of their sexuality, or age. The antidiscriminatory legislation of the country, must include laws that condemn acts against people with different sexual orientation and in general, promote laws that respect the sexual diversity of the Guatemalan citizens.

4) Support the work of OASIS and other organizations that fight against HIV/AIDS as well as to support their efforts in promotion and defense of sexual diversity, with information campaigns which can help to eliminate the social stigmatization and the discrimination.

5) To provide all the conditions of support to CICIAC (the Guatemalan Investigative Commission related to Illegal and Paramilitary Security Forces) so that it can investigate theinvolvement of the Clandestine Security Organizations that may be involved in the attacks against Human rights activists.

Send letters of support to Dr. Ruben Mayorga, Director, Oasis

E-mail: oasisgua@terra.com .gt

Tel: 502-253-3453

Fax: 502-232-1021

IGLHRC REPORT ON LESBIANS IN COSTA RICA

'Justice for All: Discrimination Against Lesbians in Costa Rica' is a report written by local gay and lesbian organization, CIPAC/DDHH (Centro de Investigación y Promoción para América Central de Derechos Humanos) and is edited by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). Renowned Costa Rican lawyer and feminist activist Alda Facio wrote the Introduction, which addresses the history of lesbian activism and lesbian communities in Costa Rica. The report analyzes the ways that Costa Rican law discriminates against lesbians both explicitly, and by omission. It also includes vivid testimonies of lesbian lives and struggles in Costa Rica, as well as an overview of positive legislation for LGBT people around the world.

Justice for All can be consulted at www.iglhrc.org/site/iglhrc/content.php

Or e-mail amlac@iglhrc.org

GLAAD PEOPLE OF COLOR MEDIA PROGRAM

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced it has launched a People of Color (POC) Media Program to promote fair, accurate and inclusive representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color in LGBT and mainstream media. The new media program is an outgrowth of GLAAD's ongoing strategic commitment to communities of color.

'GLAAD's POC media program is designed to serve the explosive growth of media targeting specific communities of color in the United States,' said John Sonego, GLAAD's director of communications. Mónica Taher, formerly GLAAD's Western Regional Media Manager, has been appointed POC Media Director, and will be responsible to build the program. Loren Javier, who has worked as the organization's cultural interest media manager for nine years, will serve as an ongoing consultant to the program. GLAAD is actively recruiting for POC media managers to help build the program.

Chile Icon a Lesbian?

The New York Times reported June 4 from Santiago, Chile, that 'Nearly a half-century after Gabriela Mistral's death, her presence can still be felt almost everywhere in Chile. There is probably no town in this country that does not have a street, square or school named for her, the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, and her poems and essays have long been part of the school curriculum. But 'the mother of the nation,' as Mistral is often called here because of her poems for and about children, is now the focus of a controversy that is forcing a re-examination of her life and work. The recent publication of her private journals [Blessed Be My Tongue] shows that she had a love-hate relationship with Chile, while a biography and a film project argue that part of her ambivalence stemmed from what is described as her lesbianism. ... Since her death [on Long Island in 1957], Mistral's image has been remade and manipulated, especially during the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. ... Mistral never married or had children. Throughout her life she was trailed by rumors that she was a lesbian, and one passage in the journals reveals her resentment at that.

''About Chile, the less said the better,' she wrote. 'They've even hung this silly lesbianism on me, which wounds me in a way that I can't even put into words. Have you ever seen so big a falsehood?'

'But in A Queer Mother for the Nation: The State and Gabriela Mistral (University of Minnesota Press) Licia Fiol-Matta ... argues that 'Mistral was a closet lesbian' and that her posthumous 'consecration as a celibate, saintly, suffering heterosexual national icon' is at odds with the reality of her life and work.

'The appearance of the Fiol-Matta book comes as a Chilean director-screenwriter team based in Mexico have announced plans to make a movie of Mistral's life in which her American secretary is to be portrayed as her lover,' The New York Times reports.

Dali Exhibit

Zygman Voss Gallery celebrates its recent opening with an exhibit of a rare collection of Salvador Dalí works from the Pierre Argillet collection June 28-31, 2003. Salvador Dalí: Master of Surrealism includes more than 50 original etchings, watercolors and uniques and tapestries created predominantly during the 1930s through the late 1960s. In conjunction with the exhibit, Christine Argillet, daughter of Pierre Argillet, will host a free public lecture Saturday, June 28 at 2 p.m. at the Gallery, located at 222 W. Superior.

Pierre Argillet, an enthusiastic collector of works by Dadaists, Futurists and Surrealists, was a prominent friend with many master artists of the 20th century which led to a long lasting relationship with Salvador Dalí. Their collaboration began in the early 1930s, during Dalí's participation in the Surrealist movement. Argillet commissioned Dalí to illustrate a variety of works including Greek Mythology, the Hippies, poems by Ronsard, Apollinaire, and Mao Tse Tung. The Pierre Argillet collection consists of more than 200 rare etchings created between the 1930s and late 1960s.

See www.zygmanvossgallery.com or call (312) 787-3300.

Ramon Novarro Book

St. Martin's Press has recently published a biography of Classic Hollywood superstar Ramon Novarro, BEYOND PARADISE: THE LIFE OF RAMON NOVARRO by André Soares. Novarro, the first Hispanic film star, was one of the top performers of the 1920s and 1930s. Among his most notable films are the original Ben-Hur, The Student Prince, and Mata Hari, in which he costarred with Greta Garbo.

BEYOND PARADISE chronicles Novarro's struggles as a poor Mexican immigrant, his extraordinary film career, his inner conflicts (traditional Catholicism vs. homosexuality), and his brutal death on Halloween eve 1968.

Here are a few review samples:

'Concisely written and carefully researched.' Variety 'The rise and fall of Ramon ... Novarro ... is superbly chronicled in this smooth, solid, exhaustively researched biography.' San Francisco Chronicle

'Intelligent, thoughtful, knowledgeable ... . What I admire most about this book, aside from its clear, detailed prose, is the author's refusal to deal in sensationalism or political correctness.' Washington Times

'Level-headed, impressively researched biography of the first Latin performer to succeed in Hollywood.' Kirkus Reviews

'With this carefully researched, well-balanced, and intelligently written book, screenwriter Soares has probably produced the definitive Novarro biography.' Library Journal

'BEYOND PARADISE ... begins with [Novarro's] murder and ends with the trial of the two hustlers. While this is fascinating material ... the worth and value of the book resides in Soares's enormous skills as a film historian, cultural critic, and biographer, all of which combined with a strong narrative and eloquent writing style makes this one of the best books on Hollywood in years.' The Guide


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