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LGBTQIA+ Movement: From Stonewall to Brazilian Desbunde

Lives and bodies that to reach the rainbow walked, and still walk, a long historical path, crossed by homophobia or lgbtphobia. Ideological fundamentalisms naturalized in society, repressing and taxing as abnormal everything that escapes the rule of capitalist and patriarchal reflux. The time is now: less walls and more bridges! Follow the history of the LGBTQIA+ Movement.

The millennium anthem: understand what the LGBTQIA+ movement is

“I am the son of the rainbow, I have another iris, I have another look”. From this excerpt from the song ‘Filhos do Arco-iris’, which marked the São Paulo LGBT Pride Parade in 2017, it is possible to think about what the movement is and its social importance. In a style eight or eighty, structural binarism determines a way of being, male or female, and a way of loving, heterosexual relationship.

However, life is not black and white, the being does not fit in a form – here comes the LGBTQIA+ Movement. A social, civil and political cause, which at its core is home to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transvestite, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and more (including allies, all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions) .

In Brazil alone, in 2020, there were 237 violent deaths of LGBTQIA+ people (224 homicides and 13 suicides), as pointed out by the survey by the LGBTI+ Art and Politics and Grupo Gay da Bahia. In other countries, the reality is not much different. Thus, the movement in question covers a global level, first, as reception, then resistance, search for equality, freedom to be and exist, rights, in addition to social awareness.

Through activism, cultural activities and facing prejudice, groups organize, fight and assume the pride of being, of belonging. Because there is the prism, the flag is a rainbow, in the words of its creator, Gilbert Baker, “something from nature to represent that our sexuality is a human right”. However, it was only hoisted after a lot of history, which you will understand better below.

Coming out of the closet: the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement

The story is long, of pulling up a chair and extending conversation. Homoaffective relationships have always existed, but they were not always considered crimes (archaeological records indicate that in the Paleolithic Era there were relationships between people of the same sex).

Criminalization is linked to a monetary, reproductive and patriarchal bias, in which a man and a woman need to have children to serve the system. With that in mind, follow the main facts that built and marked the LGBTQIA+ movement.

The Stonewall Rebellion

When your existence is under threat, the way is to look for your gang, turn on the alert and protect yourself. In a New York ghetto, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, the LGBTQIA+ community had as a meeting point the Stonewall bar. It wasn’t the best place in the world, but it was possible in a time filled with laws that prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages in gay bars and considered any non-standard heterosexual relationship a crime of misconduct.

The owner of Stonewall, a respected member of the Mafia, paid hefty bribes to enforcement and charged double on watery drinks. However, police violence was coming in, coming in, and on June 28, 1969, there was a truculent inspection of the place. Several people were injured and many more were arrested.

On that day, lesbians, gays and transvestites came together to defend the victims. The riot triggered the Stonewall Rebellion, a wave of protest that lasted five days and spread through the streets of New York, with a demand for the right to exist without oppression. According to historian James Green, in addition to being a political landmark, this rebellion “strengthened and positive studies on gays and lesbians” (Cad. AEL, v.10, n.18/19, 2003, p. 19). The date is so important that July 28 is considered International LGBTQIA+ Pride Day.

Nuestro Mundo

The historical importance of Stonewall is undeniable, especially the unleashed visibility. However, care must be taken not to fall into an American imperialist web. In a context of Latin America, the Argentine group Nuestro Mundo, founded in 1967, had a revolutionary and politicized performance, forming the Homosexual Liberation Front in 1968.

According to James Green, there is nothing that links Nuestro Mundo to the ideas propagated by the United States. On the contrary, the group was inspired by the revolutionary spirit emanating from Cuba. In the author’s words, the name of the group suggests the ability to “affirm an identity, moving towards political awareness and the struggle for social change” (Cad. AEL, v.10, n.18/19, 2003, p. 26). ).

Second Wave of Feminism

The first wave of feminism, although fundamental to the achievement of basic rights, for example, the female vote and the participation of women in public life, did not embrace the agenda of gender diversities. The second wave, between 1960 and 1980, included the lesbian articulation. But not everything is rosy, there was a strong tension between heterosexual women and lesbians.

Questioning heteronormativity and other forms of oppression, lesbians, dissatisfied with the pace of second wave feminism, broke with the movement. These women propagated libertarian ideals against capitalism, colonialism and patriarchy. With a strong presence between 1970 and 1980, some groups created separatist communities, free from male domination, which resulted in radical feminism.

There’s no cure, because it’s not a disease

Norway had already decriminalized homosexuality in 1972, Portugal in 1982, the same year that Wisconsin (USA) prohibited discrimination against homosexuals, and Denmark had already instituted civil unions between people of the same sex in 1989. However, the term homosexuality (the suffix –ism denotes diseases) was still rated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the list of diseases.

Only on May 17, 1990, the WHO withdrew the term in question from the ICD-10, starting, then, to use homosexuality to designate those who have relationships with people of the same sex. This date is a historic milestone in which the International Day to Combat Lgbtphobia is celebrated. Despite the post, it took another two decades for the WHO to remove transsexuality from the category of mental disorders in 2019.

Trans Resistance

Also before Stonewall, in 1966, police raided the Compton Cafeteria in Tenderloin, San Francisco (a neighborhood inhabited by transvestites and drag queens). The violent action triggered community movements that supported the emergence of organizations in defense of the rights of trans people.

Still, there is a media erasure of the true leaders of Stonewall. Much is made of the importance of this act for gays and lesbians, however, few times (outside the movement) Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Riveira, trans women, are credited for revolutionary activism, before, during and after the rebellion. In 1992, Marsha’s body was pulled from the Hudson River in New York, and the police ruled it a suicide. In 2017, the case was reopened and the developments are in the documentary The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, available on Netflix.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Between achievements and visibility, the LGBTQIA+ movement still feels the consequences of a conservative culture, strengthened by religious discourse, which drinks from the capitalist source. Go ground and a lot of walking, the fight explodes in the Brazilian scene.

The Brazilian Desbum: the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement in Brazil

It was a dictatorship in the late 1970s. On the one hand, military oppression, on the other, resistance groups raised banners against authoritarianism. However, where is the LGBTQIA+ community?

“At that time, the vast majority of opposition to the military regime used the argument that raising banners about discrimination or oppression, which were not directly linked to measures against the dictatorship, would weaken the unified struggle against the authoritarian state” (GREEN, 2018). , p. 13).

Here, a parenthesis is valid. The 1970s became known as the years of the desbunde. “Someone broke down precisely when he threw away – under the frequent appearance of irresponsibility – the commitments to the militarized right and left of the time, to plunge into individual liberation, based on non-partisan solidarity and often associated with drug consumption or homosexuality. ” (TREVISAN, 2018, p. 284).

Returning, in the backyards, resistance was growing. Two publications marked the history of the movement: the newspaper Lampião Na Esquina (1978 – 1981) and the serial Chanacomchana (1981 – 1987). The first edition of Lampião declared that the newspaper’s mission was to give voice to homosexuals, blacks, Indians and women.

The ideas propagated by the newspaper inspired the formation of Somos: Grupo de Afirmação Homossexual (1978). This, at various times, acted alongside the Black Movement and had a historic participation in the metalworkers’ strike on May 1, 1980.

In 1979, lesbians joined Somos (until then only gay members). In April of the same year, they published an article in Lampião. To combat the machismo and lesbophobia frequent within Somos, the Lesbian Feminist Action Group (LF) emerged. In May 1980, the cleanup operation killed, tortured and imprisoned prostitutes, transvestites, lesbians, gays and other outcasts.

This was the trigger for the LF to assume its autonomy and become the Lesbian Feminist Action Group (GALF). In 1981, the group launched the experimental edition of Chanacomchana, distributed in bars and nightclubs. In 1983, Ferro’s Bar banned the entry of activists and the circulation of the feuilleton.

“The word chana, a popular name for female genitalia, takes on many other meanings: the political meaning of “chance” the meaning of reappropriating an insult against Lebian women is expressed in the word “chanca”; and the sense of eroticization of the homosexual relationship that the word “chama” refers to fire, an element that heats, burns or sets fire” (LESSA, 2021, P. 149).

On August 19, under the leadership of Rosely Roth, the group invades Ferro’s in a political act, with press coverage, regaining the right to circulate Chana. The protest became known as the Brazilian Stonewall, as it influenced the organization of other LGBTQIA+ groups. The historic date is celebrated as Lesbian Pride Day.

It is in this context that a political and sociological movement emerges in the struggle for LGBTQIA+ dignity, respect, visibility, rights and survival. To know the in-between of this scenario, read the aforementioned books: ‘Quando Ousamos Existir’ (2018), edited by Marcio Caetano, Alexandro Rodrigues, Cláudio Nascimento and Treyce Ellen Goulart; Devassos in Paradise (2018), by João Trevisan; as well as Chanacomchana and other lesbian narratives in Pindorama (2021), by Patrícia Lessa.

Faced with the growing wave of authoritarianism in the Brazilian and world scenario, each achievement needs and must be reaffirmed. Only then, the memory will not be erased and the rights will not be trampled on.

The main achievements of the movement in…

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