Amid a mass of colour and pounding Latin rhythms, revellers at this year’s Bogotá Pride march waved banners stating “not one step back”. They were among tens of thousands who took to the streets to celebrate and support Colombia’s LGBT community. Many annual Pride marches that were once solemn protests against repression have become celebrations of now-existing rights or progress, reflecting the strength of LGBT communities.
In Bogotá, for example, the capital of a macho and socially conservative country, there has been surprising progress in LGBT rights.
In March, Angélica Lozano Correa, a former member of the Bogotá city council, became the first openly LGBT person to be elected to the country’s Senate. In 2016 the country’s government passed laws allowing same-sex couples to adopt and marry, and the previous year it granted transgender people the right to change their identity on official government documents – policies which have allowed more equality and openness.
But while these laws and political representation might suggest Bogotá is “friendly” and tolerant of the LGBT community, the issue is not clear-cut. This year’s Bogotá Pride march was marked by an undertone of resistance to and fear of the right-wing government of the new president, Ivan Duque. Duque openly opposes the LGBT-inclusive peace agreement his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, signed with leftist rebels Farc in 2016. Activists claim he is also against same-sex marriage and adoption rights.