Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, is quickly getting rediscovered as one of the most vibrant, culturally rich capital cities in South America. What is less talked about, however, is its rapidly emerging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, which is strongly integrated and benefits from progressive Colombian laws. Off2Colombia witnessed those changes when filming Orgullo Gay, the Bogotá Gay Pride.
(PRWEB) December 06, 2011
Imagine walking the streets of one of Colombia’s supposedly notorious capital city, Bogotá. It is said thieves prowl, kidnappers lurk and violence is never far away. But in fact it is quite different. On the left a man in a wedding dress saunters by. On the right two women dressed as felines brazenly embrace each other. Walking just five steps ahead, a man in a silver leotard dances by himself.
This is not, of course, the average day in Colombia’s capital city. ‘Orgullo Gay’, Bogotá Gay Pride, happens every June in Colombia’s resurgent capital, and every year its numbers swell as people from all over the globe come to experience the event. It’s indicative of a rising trend in Bogotá – the emergence of a strong, united and integrated gay community.
Bogotá’s openness to the LGBT community stretches to laws as well as attitudes. Colombia was one of the first countries to grant same-sex partnerships almost equal rights, and is expected to pass a law for gay marriage in 2013.
"Bogotá is a city of rights – diverse and inclusive", explains Olga Beatriz Gutiérrez Tovar, head of IDPAC (the city institute for community action). Indeed, the city opened Latin America’s first LGBT community centre in 2007, and now boasts 3 in total. Moreover, Bogotá is one of the leading centers of the world for gender reassignment surgery – a fact that reflects the city’s progressive nature.
Bogotá boasts many lgbt-friendly bars and clubs throughout the city with gay and heterosexual happily mixing and partying together. Theatron, the largest gay nightclub in Latin America, hosts over 4,000 revellers every Saturday dancing to the beat of the world’s best DJs.
There are other reasons not to expect Bogotá to be so progressive. Given Colombia’s strong Catholic traditions and the perception of Latin America in general as having a predominantly macho culture, it can come as a surprise to many who visit that Bogota should be considered so highly among the gay cities of the world, but New York City entrepreneurs and world-travelers Toby and Tiger happily attest that "Bogotá is the first city in the world in which we feel completely comfortable holding hands and kissing in public".
Josian Chevallier, co-founder of Off2Colombia states this may be due to ‘the incredibly diverse cultural history of Colombia where African, Spanish, indigenous and European influence naturally mix leading to tolerance to diversity."
Gustavo Petro, Bogotá’s incumbent mayor, was present at ‘Orgullo Gay’ showing his support for the cause. Annual leaflets are handed out to school children educating them about sexuality, with all types given an equal platform. The city’s increasingly popular parade may be the shining example of its progressive and open attitude to the LGBT community, but as public support increases for the community, Bogotá will continue to shed the reputation that still unfairly clings to it. It all raises the question: could Bogotá be the next gay capital of the world?
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