Post submitted by Karen González, ESMULES volunteer (ESMULES is an non-governmental organization in El Salvador working to secure the human rights of lesbian women through advocacy)
On Saturday, we celebrated the 21st March for Diversity and LGBTQ Pride in El Salvador. This was the first time an international organization, HRC from the U.S., and our own government supported the march. HRC supported us through their Global Partnerships in Pride program.
The march is a celebration of life, human rights and ultimately the right to love whoever we want and be whoever we are. Since this was my first time celebrating pride since I came out, I was particularly excited to share the message of self-acceptance and pride with thousands of others.
People here don’t usually understand the importance of this day for us and even less the importance of government institutions and international partners supporting us. Pride is a place where you can see the diversity and representation of the vast array of people that form part of the Salvadoran LGBTQ population. Pride is about spreading hope that not only will things eventually get better, but that our situation will continually improve because we won’t forget the battles, the lives lost and the pain suffered by the ones that marched before us.
Watching HRC Global Director Ty Cobb’s message and listening to El Salvador’s Sub-Secretary of Social Inclusion, Guadalupe Hernandez de Espinoza, speak at our inauguration was so moving. It is amazing to know that international institutions and public officials are committed to LGBTQ equality and the defense and respect of our human rights. It has been a big step forward but we still have a long way to go.
Local LGBTQ leaders, like HRC Global Innovator and ESMULES Executive Director Andrea Ayala, are fighting intolerance and inequality. ESMULES’ new manifesto, launched at the inauguration, sends a strong message of indivisibility and solidarity, stating that “We are everywhere and we will stand for our rights”. I can’t wait to see what they have prepared for 2018.