Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Update (of sorts): Friday night's gathering in Santo Domingo

On Thursday, I got news that a rally was being organized by a bunch of Dominican Republic gay and lesbian advocates on Friday night to show that there is a visible LGBT community in the Caribbean nation (as a way to repudiate some of the recent crack-downs against gay bars in Santo Domingo).

On Friday morning Clave Digital reported on the mysterious and anonymous call for a rally, and then... nothing: Newspapers reported on the 3rd Annual National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Forum that took place on Friday, but there was no metion of the Friday night gathering anywhere.

I had gotten the information from reputable sources so I feared that the gathering had drawn few participants, or that it had perhaps been successfully disrupted by the authorities or, worse, that organizers might have been arrested.

And then yesterday I got some news: Someone at the rally tells me that even though none of the newspapers covered it, more than 250 people showed up. There were threats that the police would show up an arrest everyone but, even though authorities were there, no arrests took place. The scene was festive and celebratory and some cried at seeing so many people gather in such a short time as out Dominican gay and lesbians. I am told an official statement will come out but just in case that it does not...

In the meantime, according to El Nacional, the Human Rights Forum ended with a draft of a resolution which called for separation of church and state and the recognition of same-sex partnerships.

This promptly elicited a knee-jerk reaction from the so-called Network of Christian Attorneys (RCA), which holds huge sway over government issues in the island. According to a Monday article in Clave Digital, the association claimed that there was a "hidden agenda" by gay and lesbian activists in the Dominican Republic to achieve the recognition of same-sex marriages as well as the removal of all laws that prohibit the "legalization of [all] sexual perversion."

Most cynically, the RCA also called for the removal of the use of the word "homosexual" which it supposedly deems as discriminatory and an obstacle to let people enjoy such a "behavior." And yet, they are happy to note that those who might call the RCA homophobic are part of a "dictatorship of homosexual ideology" (oh, how well they learn the tactics of the United States religious right!).

In the meantime, on Saturday, Clave Digital reported that the owners of the bars that were shut down last week accepted that there had been some code violations and agreed to apply for a permit to provide hotel services.

Yesterday Monaga reported that Arena had opened again so I guess the negotiations served some purpose.

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