Podcast Episode #3 – Gay, Lesbian, Trans-Gender in Guatemala

Podcast Episode #3 – Gay, Lesbian, Trans-Gender in Guatemala
July 9, 2010 Lainie Liberti

The Queer Issue-

This episode includes a discussion between Lainie & Miro sharing  their feelings about human rights, gay rights & activism.  This episode includes Miro’s thoughts on being raised in an activist environment +  2 interviews:   A “queer” activist from Chicago & an interview with the Executive Director of OASIS, a Guatemala based NGO that serves the gay, lesbian, queer, trans-gender & sex worker community.

Lainie & Miro share  their feelings about human rights, gay rights & activism.

Lainie and Miro  share their candid thoughts about activism, gay,  lesbian and queer issues and what that means to them. Lainie has raised her son exposed to activism in many forms from the time he was born, surrounding issues that are important to her, like world peace, human rights and social justice. There are no taboo subjects between this pair as Lainie shares a story of reading a children’s book called Heather has Two Mommies to Miro’s 4th grade classroom in Los Angeles. Their interview is a candid look at how the two see the world and the openness they share.

Lainie has a conversation  with Casandra about activism

Lainie and Miro met Cassandra in Antigua, Guatemala when she couch-surfed with the pair. Cassandra is self described as a delightfully radical queer gynarchist who likes to share thoughts on politics and feminist issues, as well  juicy bits about sex and relationships.  She found herself in Guatemala for two months on break from grad school where she studies social work. Her travels in Guatemala included taking the time to brush up on her Spanish and experience the queer lifestyle in Latin America. She currently lives in Chicago and works with several human rights organizations.

More information on Cassandra, here’s a link to her blog.

Interview with Jorge López

Next, Lainie speaks with Jorge López about his role and experiences at the non-profit organization OASIS for the past 17 years  as the Executive Director. This interview is translated by Katja, one of the volunteers currently working  with OASIS.

Here’s a little background of his experiences with OASIS:


On 17 December 2005, a transgender worker, Paulina, was killed, the seventh murder of a transgender worker that year. Zulma Robles, who witnessed the crime, was seriously injured during the incident. OASIS reported the case to the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) and Zulma, as a witness to the murder, identified alleged agents of the National Civil Police (PNC) as the perpetrators of the crime.

Members of the organisation continued to suffer harassment and threats. Executive Director Jorge López reported being pursued by a police car during the night of 22 January 2006. On 3 February 2006 the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (CIDH) granted protection measures for Zulma Robles, Jorge López, and another eleven members of OASIS, requesting that the Government of Guatemala adopt the necessary measures to guarantee their lives and physical integrity.

We have been accompanying OASIS since the beginning of 2006. In January 2009, we intensified the accompaniment of Jorge López after he was accused of the attempted murder of sex worker Laila (Axel Leonel Donis González) and a legal process opened against him. The Ninth Court of the First Criminal Instance found that there were no elements linking Jorge López to the charge of attempted murder; but decided to keep him within the process for the possible offence of ‘Accessory to the Crime’, subjecting him to a substitutive measure of house arrest without surveillance for 6 months, and required to register with a judge every 30 days. Jorge López interprets this process as a new manifestation of the constant persecution and intimidation he has suffered in recent years, which aims to impede the progress of the organisation’s work and the respect for the human rights of sexual minority communities.

Fearing for his physical safety, we activated the Guatemala Project’s Support Network and stepped up dialogue with Guatemalan authorities, international agencies and embassies present in the country. Between August 2008 and March 2009, with PBI’s Mexico and Colombia projects and in coordination with PBI groups in Europe and North America, we organised speaking tours in Europe, Canada, and the United States, for human rights defenders accompanied by our Latin-American projects. Jorge López and Zulma Robles had the opportunity to present to various audiences the situation faced by OASIS and by sexually diverse communities in Guatemala. In February 2009, protective measures granted to OASIS in 2006 by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) went into effect providing Jorge López with 24-hour accompaniment by an agent of the National Civil Police (PNC). The next hearing has yet to be called.

The Organisation to Support an Integrated Sexuality to Confront AIDS (OASIS)

Web site is currently under construction, will update the link as soon as it goes live. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Jorge directly with any questions, comments or inquiries of support here.

The Organization to Support an Integrated Sexuality to Confront AIDS (OASIS) is an organization that works with HIV/AIDS education and prevention, as well as promoting and protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Here’s the gallery of images from Gay Pride in Guatemala City, June 26 2010


[miniflickr photoset_id=”72157624377722220″ ]

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Got Questions?

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The intro & outro were engineered by Hanna Jakobson, music “Multilayered Timbres” by Dr. Pimp courtesy of CC (creative commons) license.



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