Social Issues

Dominican Republic pride parade calls for law to protect LGBTQ+ community

Santo Domingo, Aug 29 (EFE).- The Dominican Republic on Sunday celebrated its annual pride parade, which this year showed its opposition to a proposed law that could leave out protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

The parade brought together hundreds of people who drove the main avenues of Santo Domingo in private cars, SUVs and open-top trucks, waving rainbow flags to music.

Although the atmosphere was festive, attendees warned of the danger that a new law currently being debated by National Congress may pose for the LGBTQ+ community,

This legislative project for the first time typifies the crime of discrimination, but due to pressure from conservative deputies, two types – discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – have been eliminated from the penal code.

The executive director of Dominican Diversity, Rosana Marsán, told Efe that if the penal code is “approved without criminalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation, it will legalize what is currently happening in the country, which is the violence and discrimination that we suffer every day,” something that especially affects the poorest.

King of Pride 2021 Estarlin Aguasvivas recalled data from the National LGTBI Survey, released last Thursday, which said 96.7 percent of the members of this community in the Dominican Republic claim to have been a victim of or witnessed some form of violence.

“What we can say from this is that our community has been alienated, stigmatized and discriminated. And it is necessary for that to change. The world has changed and we cannot be left behind. We have to keep improving,” he said.

Another activist, Leonardo Sánchez, said that “the penal code not only threatens the LGBTI community, but it can also become dangerous for the development of the country.”

“It is a law that conservatism wants to impose on us, a law that is not in accordance with the moral of times we are living in now,” he said.

As approved by the Chamber of Deputies, the penal code would not punish, for example, someone for denying services or for refusing to hire a person due to their sexual identity.

However, the bill will have to be debated again from scratch, since the Senate, citing a lack of time, refused to vote on it before the end of the last legislature, which ended in mid-August. EFE


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