Some cities throughout Latin America celebrated gay pride this weekend including Santiago, the capital of CHILE, which observed it's first ever gay pride march and rally which drew 10,000 and a smaller "kiss-a-thon" which drew 1,500, according to some estimates. It was also a celebration of sorts for Chile's leading LGBT advocacy organization, MOVILH (which has a press release and a list of additional Spanish language coverage here), which is turning 15 years old this year [NOTE: That it was their first ever pride parade came as a surprise since back in September I had reported on another public LGBT demonstration in Chile which I thought was part of their observation of LGBT pride and now is apparent that it was just a public celebration of a decision by Chile's Education Ministry to adopt sexual-orientation non-discrimination language in the standard high-school sexual education curriculum].
This is the same number of participants in Lima's LGBT pride celebrations in PERU according to this AP article.
Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA, observed a trans-rights march which called for the elimination of "repressive legislation" (Comunidad Homosexual Argentina, the country's largest LGBT advocacy organization, which organizes a larger LGBT pride parade in the fall, was not listed as a sponsor).
SentidoG.com also reports of pride marches in PARAGUAY and URUGUAY.
In the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, participants did not march or rally but observed an end to the week-long indoor Human Rights Forum with the launch of a national coalition of a "GTH Alliance." El Nacional says that the goal of the Alliance, which would bring together HIV-service organizations and gay organizations in the Island nation, would be to "identify the issues that link HIV/AIDS and homosexuality, to coordinate national actions by gay, bi and trans men and other men who have sex with men, and to develop resources and tools to serve populations affected by the epidemic and to promote human rights to reduce risks in these populations."
Although they also called for a separation of church and state and for efforts to make the LGBT community in the Dominican Republic more visible, the language of the resolution betrays the fact that most of the event seemed more an HIV-prevention and treatment intervention rather than an LGBT rights, mobilization or visibilization effort which explains, to some degree, why there is no mention of the gay bar raids and closings of a couple of weeks back.
Finally, Bogota also saw 10,000 people march through the streets of the capital of COLOMBIA (other Colombian cities observed smaller pride parades as well). This was the 10th annual LGBT pride march which "El Tiempo" indicated converted it into an annual tradition while stating that the massive turn out was due to the fact that there was much to celebrate, including a mostly ceremonial statement released by Bogota's Mayor, Lucho Garzon, which said that the city will officially respect the rights of the LGBT community (a Bogota locality, Chapinero, had also announced earlier that they would provide institutional support for the launch of an LGBT Center while in Medellin, the city council adopted a "Public Policy for the Prevention and Attention of the Sexual Violence" affecting the LGBT community.
At the above links you might find photos of the different events which show the usual drag-queens, rainbow flags and gathered multitudes. I was particularly struck by the three pictures above of participants at Bogota's LGBT pride march (from a photo gallery by Roger Triana at El Tiempo's link above).
Now, Colombia has not undergone a black civil rights movement process as the United States has, which is why I am often shocked by the racism I see on Colombian television, society and culture whenever I go back (considering the fact that there is a large black and mestizo community, particularly in the coasts). What makes it more insidious is that it's not self-consciously racist but simply accepted as mindless caricatures and sometimes even embraced by blacks in Colombia (something that unfortunately is not restricted to Colombia but also other Latin American countries).
LGBT organizations in Colombia have openly participated in recent demonstrations calling for a stop to racism and protections for the civil rights of black communities in Colombia (as a matter of fact, Piedad Cordoba, a leading Senator in calling for the recognition of civil union rights for gay couples in Colombia is herself black and also a leader in the country's black-rights movement).
In any case, it is painful that on a day when I should celebrate that more than ten thousand people filled the streets of Bogota calling for the recognition of LGBT rights, some saw it fit to celebrate by using some of the racist blackface costume imagery.