Date: Sat, 11 Jul 98 10:01:19 CDT
/** reg.elsalvador: 23.0 **/
How homosexuality is seen in El Salvador
Processo, 813,1, July 1998
Prostitution, infant pornography, sexual rape and homosexuality are aspects of a social reality which have important points in common. In the first place, these are topics linked, in one form or another, to sex. That sex which is not of a traditional nature, or, which is not the practice of "normal people". In second place, and directly derived from the first premise, they are acts which are strongly rejected by the society precisely because they are "abnormal" sex, a topic which is so open to controversy and public curiosity. In this sense, criminal and barbaric acts such as sexually abusing a person or obliging a child to perform acts which are appropriate to adults, are legitimately punished by law. Those brutal acts which are abuses of power, in those which one of the parties is physically or psychologically harmed and those in which human rights are trampled upon, do not merit more than punishment and repudiation by the law and society.
Nevertheless, one thing is to repudiate delinquent sexual practices and it is altogether another thing to reject (or characterize as demonic) individuals or groups whose sexual preference is considered as "abnormal". Homosexuality is erroneously identified not only and on many occasions with AIDS, but is also interpreted as being morally degenerate, a perversion of the senses or a psychological sickness, all of which would lead one to perceive homosexuals as a socially defective, which then may then, in this scheme of thinking, be legitimately treated with the worst possible disdain. It is obvious that these and other ills do not exclusively affect homosexuals, but can affect, more than anyone can imagine, the most chaste and pure of those who lead a "normal" life. In the great majority of cases, mentally unbalanced people and those suffering from pathological venereal disease are not associated with sexual tendencies or preferences of the subjects who suffer these ills. In the case of contagion by AIDS
Discrimination against homosexuals and lesbians in our society cannot be hidden. This same discrimination has even been so serious that the lives of persons with these sexual preferences are placed in danger. The last weekend of the month of June, several homosexuals marched the streets of San Salvador in protest against the death of some of their companions. The data is eloquent: during recent months more than five gays were assassinated while others were beaten, supposedly by police officers of the National Civilian Police (PNC).
Information on the violence to which homosexuals are victims is not new, although it is not clear who is responsible for it. The mysterious wave of assassinations of homosexuals keeps this group on the alert, as they must now confront not only discrimination but beatings and taunting. A dangerous "homophobia" is taking control of intolerant individuals who feel not only that they are within their rights to monitor sexual preferences, but also to eliminate those who hold sexual preferences different from their own. It is a great absurdity to deprive a person of his or her life because someone considers that he or she has passed the limits of what is moral and modest when there is nothing more immoral or sickening that to believe that one has the right to pardon or take lives according to whim.
Curiously enough, this important march led by one of the many groups suffering discrimination in this country was practically ignored because the news media said little or nothing about it. In this detail one can appreciate the small importance that the media gives to defending the rights of this social group. In general, the topic of homosexuality is poorly covered in the media and, when it is dealt with, it is presented in the scandalous manner of yellow journalism and associated in an exaggerated way with prejudices and connotations of immorality and/or sickness. So it is, then, that, even before one starts, one must give up on any support from the media for the homosexual movement in this country: sensationalism and moralist stands in their way.
The case of homosexuals is more difficult to deal with than that of lesbians because repression against them is much more severe, given that this is a culture characterized by machismo. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and all of those persons close to them take upon themselves the responsibility for making them see that "it is shameful for them" to have a homosexual in the family. This is the first level of discrimination which one confronts. Then follow all of the schools, jobs, streets, churches, etc...All of this is confirmed by the fact that all of the gays assassinated were men. Repudiation against members of this community is owing to the fact that they are seen as "a species of addiction similar to alcohol or a game" which must be overcome; as a "sinful style of life"; as an "anomaly whose roots should be investigated"; as "the result of a childhood trauma", etc. (the quotations are from various treatises on homosexuality). Few countries consider this form of life as one variant more of sexual
Accepting the existence of gays and lesbians implies taking into account that masculine and feminine genre have arisen as part of social convention. This means that it has been a result of an agreement between two or more persons or organizations, on the basis of convenience, conformity, precedents or customs of a determined group. Homosexuality is another type of genre which has not been established in society. Different is the case of the male and female sex because these are biological and anatomical conditions which differentiate one from the other and which together comply with the function of procreation. Nevertheless, what corresponds to men or women corresponds physiologically speaking, does not mean that they can always correspond to each other in all other aspects such as spirituality, closeness, mutual comprehension, love, etc. At times, the differences between homo and heterosexuals are less than those which exist between men and women. In other words, a person, of whatever sex, can have pr
The problem is to be found precisely there. Society relates gays only to sexual practices which surely exist in the majority of cases, but which is not their primary reason for being. Unhealthy attitudes and people's curiosity do not permit them to contemplate a real vision of what it is to be homosexual. The limited binary categories of genre do not permit acceptance of the fact that there is another genre, another genre which is in the minority in relation to the two accepted genre, but which taken together includes all nationalities, ages, social categories and forms of personality. In El Salvador, this group is in a difficult situation and cannot count on any other support than that of its own members. But the manner in which they have organized pacifically is admirable, here and around the world, in order to defend their rights and to try to present their point of view.
Center for Information, Documentation and Research Support (CIDAI)
Proceso is published weekly in Spanish by the Center for Information, Documentation and Research Support (CIDAI) of the Central American University (UCA) of El Salvador. Portions are sent in English to the *reg.elsalvador* conference of PeaceNet in the USA and may be forwarded or copied to other networks and electronic mailing lists. Please make sure to mention Proceso when quoting from this publication.
Subscriptions to Proceso in Spanish can be obtained by sending a check for US$50.00 (Americas) or $75.00 (Europe) made out to 'Universidad Centroamericana' and sent to the above address. Or read it on the UCA's Web Page: http://www.uca.edu.sv
For the ones who are interested in sending donations, these would be very welcome at Proceso. English translation. Apdo. Postal (01)575, San Salvador, El Salvador.