Sunday, December 26, 2010

Year in Review, pt. 3: World Cup fever, Jorge Steven Lopez's killer brought to justice, Lady Gaga's Little Monsters in Monterrey

Soccer superstar supports marriage equality: On the eve of the South Africa FIFA World Soccer Cup, May brought expressions of support for marriage equality from one of soccer's biggest starts: Cristiano Ronaldo. His country of birth, Portugal, became the 6th European country to allow gays to marry in May and a reporter wanted his reaction. "We must respect the choices made by anyone," he said. "after all, every citizen should have the exact same rights and responsibilities."

The Putos Peronistas fly their blue flag: In May, Argentina got one step closer to becoming the first country in Latin America to grant same-sex couples the right to marry when the House of Deputies voted in favor of a marriage equality bill with 125 in favor, 109 against and 6 abstentions (you can see the blue Peronist Fags flag proudly flying above the legislative chambers after the vote was taken).

Justice in the murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado: In Puerto Rico, Juan José Martinez Matos pleaded guilty the brutal murder of 19 year old gay college student Jorge Steven López Mercado last November and received a sentence of 99 years in prison.

The murder had drawn international attention for its brutality as well as for the silence it elicited from the leading political and religious figures in the island, with rallies for justice held in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.  Public figures such as Miss Universe 2001 Denise Quiñonez, Calle 13 singer René Perez and Ricky Martin also raised their voice denouncing the crime.

Uniting all those threads was the amazingly moving work done by my friend Pedro Julio Serrano,who works at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, who helped the López Mercado family to get through some of the most difficult times as their murdered son was brought to justice. Pedro Julio was next to Jorge Steven's parents after Martinez was sentenced...

Maradona is not gay. I repeat, Maradona is NOT gay: In June, as the FIFA World Cup got underway and the Argentinean soccer team emerged as a favorite to win the tournament, team manager and soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona raised some eyebrows when he adamantly denied he was gay in response to a reporter's seemingly badly translated question (here is a direct link to the video).

Argentina, alas, did not go on to win the Cup which also meant that Maradona did not have to keep a promise he made to the team's technical manager to run naked around the Obelisk in downtown Buenos Aires.

Church mural is too gay: In the Dominican Republic, an artist who had been contracted years ago to paint a church mural, denounced that a new priest wanted the mural torn down because it was too gay.  A community vote on whether the mural would be left standing or torn down was planned but I never found out the outcome.

Lady Gaga to the rescue in Monterrey, Mexico: In the meantime, LGBT activists in Mexico who had long lobbied the Mexican government to observe May 17th as the official "International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia" were enraged that the federal government finally acceded to their demands only to strip the words "homophobia" and "transphobia" from the official designation. Instead, Felipe Calderón's government, who had previously appealed the groundbreaking marriage equality ruling in Mexico City before the Supreme Court and lost, called it "The National
Day of Tolerance and Respect towards Preferences".  How did the activists respond? Of course! Staging a Lady Gaga "Bad Romance" flashmob at the Plaza of Heroes in Monterrey!

Menudo outing, pt. 2: Oh, and in the meantime, another former Menudo singer came out. Or, in other words, Angelo Garcia was already out but nobody asked him until a couple of months before even Ricky Martin came out.  But word of a 2nd Menudo being an openly gay man didn't catch fire until media followed up on Ricky's Twitter confession.

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