Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dominican Republic: Gay beauty pageant to go on despite earlier threats from local governor

LGBT advocates in the Dominican Republic are up in arms over conflicting reports that the Governor of the Santiago province might ban a drag show / beauty pageant scheduled to take place next month.

As EFE reported on Thursday, Governor José Izquierdo appeared at a local radio station for an interview and announced that the authorities would not allow the Dec. 27 event to take place because it "undermines the morals and good customs of the Dominican society."

The article says that owners of a local gay bar where the event is scheduled to take place said that only 13 of 27 homosexuals had qualified for the pageant this year after a preliminary swimsuit competition. Owner Denis Gonzalez said that gays and lesbians had the right to live a normal life in society and reminded the Governor that the bar was a private establishment.

The bar is no stranger to media attention. Now called Tailú Bar, last year they staged what they promoted as a "gay wedding" under their former name Skrupulus which had Dominican media and local leaders all aflutter [same-sex partnerships have never been recognized in the island].

Online rumors had gossip reporter Francisco Sanchis as a judge and showbiz television personality Brenda Sanchez as the MC but yesterday they both told Diario Digital that this was not the case.

Sanchez said that she had been invited but had other commitments. She added that she didn't have anything against the gay community and would show her support when the time came to do so but also said that she was "a Christian woman and family-oriented"

Sanchis said he was neither in favor nor against the event and would attend if invited but not as a judge. He said that everyone had the right to choose what made them happy.

Today, El Caribe reports that LGBT rights advocate Leonardo Sanchez, director of the non-profit organization Friends Always Friends (ASA), said that Governor Izquierdo's plan to ban the event was discriminatory and threatened to take the issue to the International Court of Human Rights.

Izquierdo (left), for his part, backtracked from the comments made on the radio last week and now says that he has no legal power to stop an event that takes place in a private establishment.

"If they do the pageant in a closed space, respect the time limits for serving of alcohol and do not allow entry to minors under 18 years of age, we have no problems," he stated but also said that if any of these rules were violated he would shut the event down.

"They have the right of doing their activity within the legal norms of the Dominican Republic, personally I do not agree," he added.

Reporter Sanchis, who is from Santiago, went further in El Caribe than in his statements to Diario Digital yesterday and argued that it was time to end a certain Dominican 'double-morality.'

"What makes you a better human being are your feelings," he told El Caribe, "It is not your sexual preference nor your religion. I think that we have to end with that double-morality that exists in our country. We are not in agreement with these kind of things happening to us but, perhaps, after the criticism, we do worse things that the ones that will be done there."

Here is a news report from Dominican TV.


1 comment:

Luigi said...

Se le había olvidado que el show se iba a realizar en un club privado, como tantos otros shows “inmorales” que se realizan en la bella ciudad de Santiago.