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    November 18, 2007

    You say 'Parada,' they say 'Marcha'

    Posted by: Chris

    Bsas_pride1blog This is Gay Pride weekend here in Buenos Aires, where my partner and I are living for the rest of this year. My first reaction was to the small size of the event, since B.A. bills itself (repeatedly) as "the gay capital of South America." I would put the numbers at tens of thousands, certainly smaller than most big city Pride events I've attended, and a tiny, tiny percentage of the millions who filled Avenida Paulista for the world's largest Gay Pride, in São Paulo, Brasil, back in June.

    The location yesterday was perfect, however, on the Plaza de Mayo, scene of Evita's famous speech on the balcony of the Casa Rosada. From that picturesque square, the parade proceeded through the Centro to the Plaza de los Dos Congresos. The event here in BsAs is called the "Marcha del Orgullo," or Pride March, and it did have a more political feel than the "Parada de Orgulho" in São Paulo.

    There were political banners for the event's theme, "Equality, Liberty, Diversity," as well as, "The same rights with the same names," a direct call for marriage and not simply civil union recognition for gay couples. Still, drag queens dressed in wedding gowns, gyrating to "The Wedding Song" is unlikely to change many minds on the subject.

    Gay marriage is a hot topic right now in Argentina, since the election earlier this month of Cristina Kirchner, the current first lady and a former senator. A prominent Cristina backer in the Senate introduced a gay marriage bill in the weeks leading up to the election, but gay Latino blogger Blabbeando has raised a number of legitimate questions about whether that support can be attributed to the prime candidate herself. Reading his analysis, Cristina comes off a bit like her cautious and calculating counterpart running for president back home in the U.S.

    It's a mistake to judge a community by its Gay Pride, but overall I'm surprised that gay Argentinians are pushing for marriage. Moreso than in Rio or São Paulo, many gays here seem to be fairly closeted, although many would have you believe they are post-gay rather than pre-gay. Perhaps a bit of both is fair, but it speaks well of the activists here and the political scene that gays can be a political force with such a (relatively) small visible presence.

    More pics follow here and on the jump as well.

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    Comments

    1. Lucrece on Nov 18, 2007 9:10:26 PM:

      Argentina is a country that, like other South American countries, is rampant on "machismo." You'll get over the surprise and realize that being closeted in Latin America is not a rarity. Perhaps your anecdotes will teach some readers here to be a little more appreciative of the U.S.

      Explanations for this are easy to a South American native. Like in my previous home country, Venezuela, Argentina is also a place where violence against gayt men is the norm, if not a ritual, of the heterosexual man's eternal quest for cementing his masculinity among his peers. Laws in South America exist just like in the U.S.; they are not followed, however, as they are seldom enforced. Straight men can beat up openly gay men with impunity.

    1. Randy Bear on Nov 20, 2007 10:39:36 PM:

      Surprisingly I had an interesting time at the march (or dance) down Avenida de Mayo. My friend and I happened to be in BsAs during the march and came down to enjoy. What seemed to be more different about BsAs's march is that people participated in the march rather than observed from the street. This gives the impression of a more accepting and open community in my mind.

      Saturday I was a part of Argentina's GLBT quest for Equality, Liberty and Diversity. People waving from the apartments on the Avenida de Mayo as well as from the streets showed me this is a more accepting country than I expected. But I come from San Antonio, TX so maybe there's a difference to be explored there.

      Anyway I can now see why Chris and his partner have fallen in love with BsAs. It's a great city.

    1. Randy Bear on Nov 20, 2007 10:42:59 PM:

      BTW here are my pictures from the parade:
      http://www.randybear.com/BsAsParade

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