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Against this background, logical questions that arise are: how did the Argentine contrive these social changes and how have these changes unfolded thus far? In this debate, the floor is given to a key figure in this voyage: the Argentine-born journalist, author and activist, dr.
Bruno Bimbi. TG: You are considered one of the major players behind the realisation of same-sex marriage in Argentina. Today, more than a decade later, how do you look back on this process? Three and a half years later, we were celebrating the adoption of the same-sex marriage bill. Then along came the Gender Identity Law and many other advances that changed the life of millions of people, making Argentina a more just and inclusive nation and motivated the rest of Latin America to initiate similar changes on a regional scale.
Indeed, hereafter, countries like Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico followed, while adopting various approaches. As I mentioned in the preface, the title of the book is both a confirmation of a change, which has been put in place, as well as an expression of hopes and wishes. What is true, however, is that the social debate revolving around the laws discussed above, induced changes of historical dimensions that enabled Argentina to advance half a century in only a couple of years.
As a consequence, many policies containing fundamental rights were called into existence. Similarly, even the most conservative Argentinian newspaper has an LGBT-blog besides the fact that its reporters publish constructive articles about sexual diversity. In the course of the equal marriage debate something unheard of took place: for months it was the main topic on the political agenda of the entire country. Virtually all newspapers were writing about it and it was discussed on many television and radio programmes.
For weeks and weeks, this topic was the talk of the town in queues at public transportation terminals, at bars and restaurants, during family dinners and friends gatherings, at schools, universities and work. In only a few months, thousands of gays and lesbians in Argentina came out of the closet as they felt that it was either now or never and that they had to convince their families and friends to support the law.
Alongside politicians and journalists, artists and social leaders had to take a stance on the matter as well. Regarding the steering group, we did our homework and were thus prepared to discuss all aspects of the law, be it on the religious, historical, legislative and societal level.
By extension, not only did we visibly contribute to getting these laws passed, but the process did also lead to a diminishing of homophobia and an alteration of the perception of the Argentine media towards homosexuality. In your opinion, is this applicable to Argentina as well? Still, there is a distinctiveness to the Argentinian case: while being no exception to the rule, in Argentina institutional, political, social and cultural advancements have been more profound and rather supportive in nature.
A good way to understand it all is by drawing a comparison between Argentina and Brazil. In Brazil, where I coordinated the equal marriage campaign, we did indeed obtain a victory, but it all happened through judicial decisions. That is, there was neither a debate in the parliament nor the mass media and least of all in the Brazilian society. A group of judges associated with the Federal Supreme Court and National Justice Council decided that it was unconstitutional not to allow members of the same sex to get married and forced civil registers to start doing so.
It was thus a rapid change, from a legal perspective, that was not accompanied by social debate. On the other hand, in Argentina, change came about firstly in society thanks to pivotal sociopolitical debates that preceded the legal aspects.
In Argentina, it was thus a pedagogical and not just a legal-political process. That is why the way in which rights are earned is equally important as the rights themselves. This is a journalistic chronicle of nearly pages that not only narrates the Argentine case all through but also puts forward a practical guide that could be implemented in other countries. Although large-scale, this change has also been unequal — while it concerns a global tendency, it has not been experienced in the same vein everywhere in the world.
Factually, many nations are not even aware that change has started. Change has manifested itself at a faster rate in liberal democracies and secular states. In turn, in authoritarian regimes, whether right-wing or left-wing oriented, and, particularly, in Islamic-majority countries, the processes have been more tedious. In this uneven progression, Latin America was far behind, but the corresponding changes that took part in Argentina started the ball rolling.
Matrimonio igualitario. Intrigas, tensiones y secretos en el camino hacia la ley
On how Argentina became a trailblazer in LGBT+ rights