Gay residents of Tuluá - Colombia's fourth largest city - are up in arms over a mayoral decree banning all men from riding in the back seat of a motorcycle.
This according to Tuesday's El Pais ("Gay community, not happy about restrictions on men riding the grill").
"This measure has affected us very much, since the ban keeps us from going out on a trip with our partner and from doing other activities," said Saulo 'Sandino' Hernández, a fashion designer.
The practice, quaintly known as "riding bitch" in US biker circles (do not ask how I know that, I just do), was banned in order to "reduce the levels of delinquency in the city" according to mayor Rafael Eduardo Palau.
Local gay community members posed with a gay rights banner for the paper and argued that the measure "violates the right of freedom to develop one's personality and [argued] the basic principles of the right to equality would be broken, next to the right to free mobility of any person."
To be fair, in Colombia, as in many other countries, small motorcycles or scooters are more affordable to the general population and, in some areas, are the predominant way to travel on a day to day basis. They are also used by criminals to make a quick getaway after a street mugging or a shooting with the shooter usually sitting in the back grill of the motorcycle and another person driving it. Still, the measure probably won't pass legal muster if it's taken to court.
UPDATE: In an interview today on Caracol Radio, Yorlavi Victoria, representing the mayor's office, said that the policy is in effect only from 6pm to 6am and said that it is still in a trial stage. She also said that the mayor's office would consider giving all the gay men of the city an excemption if they received a list with their names.
Frank Salazar, a spokesperson for those criticizing the measure, rejected the idea and said that compiling a list of names was a delicate issue. Both sides have agreed to meet and try to work out a solution.
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