It's Not Homophobia! It's Protecting Our Children.
It's Not Homophobia! It's Protecting Our Children.

It's Not Homophobia! It's Protecting Our Children.

Today I almost lost my mind. How do you write a culturally sensitive post when what you are faced with shakes you to the very core of your being? It was like going back in time, but not in a good way.

I do, however, feel that this needs to be told and so I will do my very best to present the facts without projecting too many of my own anxieties, and reflect upon the day as best I can while still being respectful to the Peruvian culture only 24 hours after arriving in the country.

Today I awoke in Arequipa. An obvious pit stop between the Chilean board and Lima. I walked into the main square and into the middle of a demonstration that was well attended, and with all the passion of any protest I have seen during my time in London.

I listened to the chants. I read the signs. I reconsidered how good my Spanish really was. I spoke to one of the protesters among the sea of pink and blue. I listened, confused. Yes, that is what I thought, but perhaps her English is as good as my Spanish. I could not believe what I was hearing.

peru1
peru

"Fathers of the family protect your children."

The protest was an anti-government march. The Peruvian Government had proposed new legislation to promote gender equality in schools, equal rights for gay and trans men and women, and the predominantly catholic, conservative people of Arequipa had come out in force to demonstrate their opposition to the governments proposal.

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peru4

"It's not homophobia! It's protecting our children."

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peru123

"I will always defend the natural family until the end."

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peru 7
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peru 6

#ConMisHijosNoTeMetas = Don't mess with our children.

What really struck me was how happy and proud the people were when I asked if I could take their photos. Holding their signs. Smiling. Getting the whole family to stand, side by side, proud.

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peru 9
peru 5
peru 9

In the 8 months I have been travelling in South America I have become really interested in how, what I guess I would call, misogyny is ingrained into the Spanish language.

Me and 100 of my female friends can have dinner and laugh and joke as amiaAS. As soon as one male comes to join our party we automatically become a table of amigOS.

The suggestion that men are more important is so implicit in the way people speak, it is not entirely surprising that a governmental move to promote gender equality has been revived with such opposition.

A speech was given promoting the importance of the natural family (whatever that is in 2017), reinforcing again and again, "this is not homophobic, we are protecting our children". I think the lady doth protest too much. But of course it was a man who was the guest speaker.

peru 8
peru 8

The event finished with the national anthem, and while everyone in the crowd sang, not everyone was singing in jubilation. A girl to my left, early 20s, hugged her stomach and sobbed as she struggled through the verse. Her shoulders heaving as though someone she loved very much had just died.

Please do not give up hope whoever you are! It is for your generation to embrace this positive change.

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30 Comments on “

  1. There’s just so much unwillingness to change in the world – but I don’t know if you can blame them especially the older generation. I hope someday they’ll realize that this is actually a good thing.

    1. It really did take me by surprise, it is the polar opposite of any protest that I’ve seen before. I have mixed views about the older generations, I don’t think anyone is too old to change the way they think. Thank you for commenting.

  2. I”d like to ask- what exactly are they protecting their children from? What’s wrong with gender equality and equal rights for the LBGTQ community? It baffles me when people like to stick their nose in other people’s business when it doesn’t concern them (i.e. they’re not harmed by other people’s decisions on family or sexual orientation) in any way.

    1. My sentiments exactly! It is a government move to promote equality, but I have been told that (unfortunately) it is the Church who are behind this opposition. Live and let live! That’s what I say.

    1. Thanks Bruce! It really upset me for a couple of days afterwards. I spoke to a few more people in Peru about the protest and it would seem that, although the protest was well attended, their views are in the minority.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Punita! It was a difficult article to write as the protest itself was quite upsetting.

  3. Although i read through your post, i couldn’t understand what is exactly written on those posters that people are holding. I want to understand the relation between gender equality and protection of their children. How do they perceive a relation between these?

    1. Hi Neha, the government in Peru have proposed that the new curriculum should team children about gender equality, and the existence of same sex relationships. The Church has opposed it saying that it is irresponsible and will effect the psychological and physiological well-being of children… I know… it makes no sense.

  4. A very interesting post. Normally, I’ve seen protests that are for the opposite reason. I think knowledge and education is the best way to fight this sort of thinking. Whatever happened to “live and let live”? I do hope that the future is better and soon our thoughts and teachings are passed on to our children who in turn don’t have to worry about these things.

  5. I agree with you that a post like this deserved to be written and write respectfully and well. You did this and I applaud you. All I can say is that when I think about the world and social status that it is today, I try to look back at the past too. I do believe we have come a far way from generations before us, but it also breaks my heart that it took us this long and are still struggling to change. To all be equal. I understand the older generation cannot are the ones struggling to change and there will always be those who won’t no matter what generation, but I hope with time (and quickly) the world will all be at peace and equal.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Christina. I agree with you wholeheartedly, we have in fact come such a long way, but this was like being transported back in time to a period I did not like one bit. I have since spoken to a number of different people in Peru and it would appear that these at the protest are, thankfully, in the minority.

  6. I tried to understand your post about this matter. I am still confused. Sorry about it. It says that the protest is against government march. But why? From the post, I understand that the government try to bring more equality in the community. Is that something wrong? I don’t think so. And it does not mean that the government try to mess with the children or something like that. Equality is good, and divided community is not okay. I also think that when some group takes the chance where another group to be able to have the same rights as other, it is discrimination.

    1. I know Christian, it is quite difficult to comprehend that anyone would want to protest AGAINST equality, but that is exactly what was happening. From what I have learned since, it is mainly the Church that have encouraged this opposition. It is in fact discrimination. 100%.

    1. I have learned since that these people are, thankfully, in the minority. At the time it felt like the whole of Peru was at the march, but I have since met many, MANY Peruvians who do not hold these views and are as appalled as I am that this is even an issue to protest against.

  7. That is really bad. Never heard this kind of a protest. You always hear the opposite happening everywhere else. I too was shocked to read this and was confused at first.

    1. Thanks for your comments Gokul. It was quite upsetting, but I have since learned that these views are in the minority. It is the complete opposite of anything I have seen before.

  8. An unfortunate incident and thinking. Unwillingness to change. People protesting against a good measure taken by Peruvian government is hard to digest in these changing times when the world is breaking off the shackles of archaic beliefs.

  9. I accept that different countries are different. I visited Mauritania recently where it is illegal to be gay. You captured wonderful images of the protest which bring across the message of what is going on there very well.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. I have since researched and discovered that LGBT relationships are illegal in over 70 countries with some even having the death penalty. It is insane in 2017, and utterly heartbreaking.

  10. Governments often ignore people’s voices. But it is high time that equality for all is introduced in every country of the world. There is nothing wrong in demanding equal treatment and justice to the LGBTQ community. However, it is not right to blame the older generations because the issue is a taboo for them and they fail to realize how the impact have been to this ‘other’ community. I think once they realize, they might be able to accept why it is so important and how positive the impact could be in the overall society.

    1. Thanks Madhurima. I don’t think anyone is ever too old to change, although I except that it might be harder for the older generations.

  11. That is quite an experience I haven’t witnessed yet in my traveling. It looks like it is not a violent rally which is good. There have been rallies here in the Philippines which were violent and it is scary to be one of those people on the streets. I never though that male are more important in Peru. I thought it was only on Asian country like China and Korea. Thanks for sharing this blog post. It helps me be aware of what is happening on the other side of the world.

    1. The protest was really peaceful, and that was what I think made it so chilling. I have found out since that these views are in the minority. Almost everywhere else I went was a lot more open minded and forward thinking. Thanks for your words.

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