In my first few weeks of interviews with activists to document the history of the LGBT movement in El Salvador, several things have become apparent:
- It is more accurate to say LGBT “movements.” The way that organization has broken down over time so far seems to be: gay men, transgender women, transgender men, lesbians, and feminist-lesbians. There has been some, but not much, collaboration between these groups. It does seem however, that transgender women first organized within gay men’s groups, and that feminist-lesbian organization came mostly from demobilized women guerrillas from the Salvadoran Civil War.
- I have only concentrated on the feminist-lesbian bloc so far. It has been interesting to hear the same dates come up in the interviews with activists from various generations. For instance, everyone has so far cited an international feminist conference held in El Salvador in 1993 as the starting point for the public feminist-lesbian movement in the country. Being able to start to draw a timeline from these women’s memories—to start to etch out the movement’s history—is thrilling.
LGBT activists flank the former Ombudsman for Human Rights, Oscar Luna, at a press conference in El Salvador on May 17, 2013.
Although my CLACS thesis project is to document the history of the LGBT movement in El Salvador, I write today from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on the fifth anniversary of the coup in this country. I am a CLACS/Journalism M.A. student, and my Honduras trip is in the name of the journalism half of the equation. I’ve spent the past week in Tegucigalpa and Choluteca, chasing a story about a development program the government is about to begin: “charter cities,” or ZEDEs for their name in Spanish, financed by millions of dollars from international investors. This is an extremely controversial program. It will allow investors nearly total control of the territory that the government concedes to them to create their “special development region.” According to the text of the ZEDE law, investors will be able to set everything from the laws within the territory, to the local language, to the tax and educational systems. Some civil society organizations fear that local and national government will virtually disappear in those regions.