BOGOTA – Hundreds of people marched on Sunday through the streets of downtown Bogota to celebrate Gay Pride Day, demand their rights, support peace and protest against sexual discrimination.
The marchers set off shortly after midday from National Park and arrived at the central Bolivar Square amid dancing and music.
Participants, some of them sporting butterfly wings and multicolored outfits, chanted slogans against former Colombian President – and current Senator – Alvaro Uribe.
Also, amid rainshowers during the early stages of the march, the marchers chanted slogans supporting peace and the dialogue process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas in Cuba.
After almost four years of negotiations, on June 23 the Colombian government and the FARC announced in Havana an agreement on the key “End of the Conflict” issue including a cease-fire and a definitive cessation of bilateral hostilities.
As the march progressed, participants’ spirits rose, although observers noted that fewer people turned out than for past marches when it also rained.
“I hope that this is the biggest march ever for Gay Pride because we have much to thank the movement for in the area of equality in Colombia,” Ana Maria Ruiz, one of the participants, told EFE.
In addition, she said that political, ethnic and gender diversity must be respected in Colombia.
Meanwhile, Miguel Rueda, a psychologist who works with an LGBT collective, said that the gay community is “a fundamental part of Colombia” and supported the signing of the peace accord negotiated between the government and the FARC.
According to Social Integration, affiliated with the Bogota Mayor’s Office, at least seven of every 10 members of the local LGBTI community have been the victims of discrimination or violation of their rights.