Angélica Lozano received more than 30,000 votes as a candidate for the Green Alliance Party to represent Bogotá in the Colombian House of Representatives in legislative elections.
“It is very important that our fight in the name of equality and respect, justice and the recognition of our rights has been achieved,” Lozano told the Washington Blade on Monday. “For the LGBT community this means that we are completely out of the closet, that we have a voice from our own community in the Congress, that we are going to have an openly lesbian congresswoman in an institution that has been historically misogynistic and homophobic.”
Lozano, a lawyer who is the former mayor of Bogotá’s Chapinero district that has a large gay population, has advised Colombian lawmakers Antonio Navarro Wolff and Íngrid Betancourt Pulecio, whom members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) kidnapped in 2002 while she was campaigning for president. Lozano also took part in a USAID-backed training in May that nearly three dozen Colombian LGBT rights advocates attended in Bogotá.
The country’s Constitutional Court in 2011 ruled same-sex couples could legally register their relationships in two years if Colombian lawmakers did not pass a bill that would extend to them the same benefits heterosexuals receive through marriage.
The Colombian Senate last April overwhelmingly rejected a bill that would have allowed gays and lesbians to tie the knot. A handful of same-sex couples have exchanged vows in the country since the Constitutional Court’s deadline passed last June, but Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado has spearheaded efforts to challenge them.
Lozano told the Blade during an interview in her Bogotá office last May that LGBT Colombians continue to face social inequalities in spite of efforts to extend more legal rights to them. She said on Monday she and Colombian LGBT rights advocates continue to fight to secure recognition of gay and lesbian families and other measures to “guarantee our dignified life” and ensure “we will be on the right side of history.”
“Today Bogotanos have endorsed this mandate,” Lozano told the Blade.