|Stephen Barris, ILGA|
Jose Genuino, Federal Deputy for Sao Paulo, member of the parliamentary front for LGBT citizenship, a network of some 200 Brazilian deputies and senators in favour of equality for LGBT people. The speech was given during the gala dinner opening the fifth ILGALAC conference in Curitiba, January 28 2010 in presence of a representative of the President of Brazil, a representative of the government of the State of Parana, of Paulo Vannuchi, Brazil Minister of Human Rights, of Dr Mariangela Batista Galvao Simao, representing the Ministery of Health, a representative of the City of Curitiba and of representatives of three United Nations agencies: Eduardo Gutierrez (Development : PNUD), Dr Pedro Chequer (ONUSida), Dr Pamela Bermudez (OPAS, Pan American Health Organisation). Were also participating Gloria Careaga, Co-Secretary general of ILGA, Beto de Jesus, Susel Paredes and Amaranta Gomez Regalado, Co-Secretaries generals of ILGALAC, Belissa Andia Perez, ILGA World Trans Secretariat, William Ulrich, Vice President of Interpride and Toni Reis and Rafaelly Wiest from the Organizing committee of the conference and Grupo Dignidade.
Good evening, comrades and friends... I would begin reminding how important it is to be here in this fifth conference. How important it is to be a part of this struggle for so long. To be here in this conference in presence of a Minister. In presence of the government of this State. In presence of the City council. In presence of institutions such as United Nations agencies. The Health Ministry, the local government. Because I am from a time, and Toni knows this very well, where we could not hold public events, during the drafting of the new Brazilian Constitution, we could not discuss openly the right to one’s sexual orientation. When Toni went to the first public hearing to discuss the project on sexual orientation presented by our comrade Marta Suplicy (who presented the first Civil Union Project in Brazil), we did not only have to face humiliation and discrimination. We had to face violence within the National Congress. I participated to the first marches, to the first Prides when they were considered to be criminal, a matter of mockery and discrimination. This is why your struggle is our struggle. A struggle with an institutional and political status (in favor of) a cause that is universal, a cause that is the fight against prejudice, a cause against the fortresses of religious autoritarism, of State violence which sees homosexualism as a crime and shares the same fallacious neo liberal vision which sees people as things...
If people are things, they do not have desires dreams, feelings, they do not have any right to being different. This is the fortress we are fighting against.
I am proud to belong to a government which organised the first national conference of gays, lesbians, transexuals and transvestites! (…) This is why we are having this fight in Congress. Deputy Rosinha knows this, Toni knows this, because there (in Congress), hypocrisy, religious fundamentalism, especially in times of elections, do not understand that having a jon, a salary, economical growth, production, education and health is just as radical as fighting prejudice, respecting diversity, seeing that tolerance and the human being cannot be submitted to one single truth, be it religious, governmental, or ideological.
We want the radicalisation of democracy. Human beings, men and women, are subject to their own will, their own dreams. This is how I learned as an activist of the socialist left that the struggle of homosexuals, the struggle of women, the struggle of gays, of transvestites is just as radical as is the fight for a job or a paycheck. It is mistake of the left to separate struggles… as if economic transformations were not the other side of the very same coin alongside with subjective transformations with which we want to build a society with free men and women.
What we want from Congress are civil rights, universal rights. When we want a stable union, we do not want to debate about family. We want a debate on marriage. We want a debate about civil rights, stable union between two persons (…).
We are in Congress to face a Right which uses hypocrisy and religious fundamentalism to create violence. You know very well that violence can happen just as much in a golden cage than in a paper one. Violence uses force but also the souls and hearts of people. When one discriminates, when one establishes a feeling of guilt, when one prevents people to enjoy his or her right to happiness.
I am an activist of this struggle. You can count on me, we are going to work. Times may not be in our favour right now but who lives through the eighties and the seventies and is now attending this conference knows... we are winning. This is a fight, this is a war, this is a struggle which you all know very well how to win... You have all my fraternal support!