Pride happens. If you were strolling down the tourist colonial area in downtown Santo Domingo you might have been surprised to see revelers and marchers holding rainbow flags and beating on drums last Friday as the Dominican Republic's 3rd (?) annual pride event took place down El Conde Street.
The march, organized Amigos Siempre Amigos, also had members of the transgender rights organization Trans Siempre Amigas (TRANSSA).
Both Diario Libre ("Gay Pride on El Conde Street") and Al Momento ("Gays March on Conde Street, criticize the Catholic church") covered the event in brief articles, allowing readers to post comments, most of them homophobic (a couple of examples: "The winds of social decomposition have arrived to the Dominican Republic stemming from the licentiousness of the United States" and "This country imitates all the bad things, who the hell said that to be a faggot was a source of pride, what should be done is to give all those faggots a beating right there in Conde").
New York based LGBT news portal Tras La Verdad also covered the event ("Gay pride is celebrated in the Dominican Republic; Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez is challenged publicly").
Marchers asked political leaders to promote legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender.
One participant ridiculed Dominican Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez by donning a golden robe and portraying him as the devil (the good Cardinal has been known to rile against gays and lesbians and has even gone as far as calling us "faggots").
It's not the first time that TRANSSA has been publicly active on behalf of the transgender community in the Dominican Republic. Back in December, I noted that they had participated in a reality show called "The Bus is My Home" to raise awareness about their rights (the show featured a transgender participant).
TRANSSA Coordinator Thalia Almendadres is interviewed in this news report from Dominican television.
Here is a video on how marchers ridiculed the Cardinal:
- Blabbeando: "Gay pride 2008, pt. II"
- Monaga: Gay Pride (June 23, 2008)