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Chile’s first openly gay elected official takes office

Jaime Parada Hoyl won a seat on the Providencia municipal council on Oct. 28

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Jaime Parada Hoyl, Chile, gay news, Washington Blade
Jaime Parada Hoyl, Chile, gay news, Washington Blade

Jaime Parada Hoyl on Oct. 28 became Chile’s first openly gay candidate elected to office. (Photo courtesy of Jaime Parada Hoyl)

A Chilean LGBT rights activist who became the first openly gay political candidate elected in the South American country officially took office on Thursday.

Jaime Parada Hoyl, spokesperson for the Movement of Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH,) is one of five candidates who won seats on the municipal council in Providencia, a wealthy enclave in Santiago, the country’s capital, on Oct. 28. He wore a gay Pride flag on his lapel during the inauguration ceremony.

“It is further proof that Chile is a country that is changing,” he told the Washington Blade hours after he took office, noting he remains thankful to those who voted for him. “Providencia, the third wealthiest commune in the country, was believed to be a conservative stronghold. Today, without question, I was elected with a strong vote, precisely because I ran a campaign focused on the demands of the LGBTI population and the effects it had on local life in [Providencia.]”

Parada, who is among the nine LGBT Latin American activists who met with their American counterparts in September during a State Department-organized trip, conceded he was surprised by how some Providencia residents responded to his campaign.

“Many people, including older people, told me on the street, ‘I voted for you because you are brave,’” he said. “I never thought that my platform would resonate with generations that are usually seen as more conservative.”

Parada’s election is the latest in a series of events over the last year that have highlighted the South American country’s increasingly visible LGBT rights movement.

President Sebastián Piñera in July signed a hate crimes and anti-discrimination bill with sexual orientation and gender identity and expression roughly four months after a group of self-described neo-Nazis allegedly beat Daniel Zamurio to death in a Santiago park because he was gay.

Thousands of Santiaguïnos marched in the streets of the capital in the days and weeks after the March 3 attack that had left him in a coma. An estimated 80,000 people also took part in an LGBT rights march in Santiago in June.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in February ruled in favor of lesbian Judge Karen Atala who lost custody of her three daughters to her ex-husband in 2005 because of her sexual orientation. Three gay Chilean couples who had been denied marriage licenses filed a lawsuit with the same tribunal in September after the country’s Supreme Court ruled against them.

In addition to Parada; voters in Lampa outside Santiago re-elected transgender Councilwoman Alejandra González during the country’s Oct. 28 municipal elections. Trans activist Zuliana Araya also won a seat on the Municipal Council in the coastal city of Valparaíso.

Josefa Errázuriz, who backed Parada’s campaign, defeated long-time Providencia Mayor Cristián Labbé, a retired colonel who was a member of the secret police force that operated in years after Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship began in 1973. She stressed the need to promote diversity and equality during her inaugural speech.

“To our neighbors in Providencia, the new Providencia does not exist without you,” said Errázuriz. “We play an active role in it. I pledge to all of Providencia’s inhabitants that in order to incorporate our projects I will be the mayor for everyone because in Providencia there will be no space for discrimination.”

Parada said bringing diversity education to local schools, implementing anti-discrimination campaigns and helping “those neighbors who feel vulnerable” are among his priorities.

“We have a big task ahead of us,” he said.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Mark Corpron

    December 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Interesting read of a man who repressed being gay, married, tried "christian" counseling to change his sexual orientation, finally excepting who he is.

    • Morgan Hoover

      December 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Neither this article on Jaime Parada Hoyl nor a Washington Blade article I just read says anything of the things you mentioned in your post about him.

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Local

Gay attorney’s plans to run for Del. Senate foiled by redistricting

Activists say move will ‘dilute’ LGBTQ vote

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Mitch Crane, gay news, Washington Blade
Gay Democratic activist Mitch Crane. (Photo courtesy Crane)

Plans by Delaware gay attorney and Democratic Party activist Mitch Crane to run for a seat in the Delaware State Senate in a district that included areas surrounding the town of Lewes, where Crane lives, and Rehoboth Beach ended abruptly this week when state officials approved a redistricting plan that removes Crane’s residence from the district.

The seat for which Crane planned to run is in Delaware’s 6th Senate District which, in addition to Lewes and Rehoboth, includes the towns of Dewey Beach, Harbeson, Milton, and surrounding areas, according to the state Senate’s website. 

The seat is currently held by Ernesto “Ernie” Lopez, a moderate Republican who became the first Hispanic American elected to the Delaware Senate in 2012. Lopez announced in July that he would not seek re-election in 2022. 

The redistricting plan, which was approved by leaders of the Democratic-controlled Delaware General Assembly, places the section of the Lewes postal district where Crane lives into the 19th Senate District. Crane said that district is in a heavily Republican and conservative part of the state dominated by supporters of President Donald Trump who remain Trump supporters.

Under Delaware law, changes in the district lines of state Senate and House districts, which takes place every 10 years following the U.S. Census count, are decided by the Delaware General Assembly, which is the state legislative body.

Crane told the Washington Blade that neither he nor any other Democrat would have a realistic chance of winning the State Senate seat next year in the 19th District.

“Jesus could not win in that district if he was a Democrat,” said Crane.

Crane said a Democratic candidate could win next year in the reconfigured 6th Senate District now that incumbent Lopez will not be seeking re-election.

The Cape Gazette, the Delaware newspaper, reported in an Oct. 22 story that Crane was one of at least two witnesses that testified at a two-day virtual hearing held Oct. 18-19 by a State Senate committee, that the proposed redistricting would dilute the LGBTQ vote in the 6th District and the draft proposal should be changed.

 “The proposed lines remove a significant percentage of the LGBTQ residents from the current 6th District where most of such residents of southern Delaware live and place them in the 19th District which has a smaller such population,” the Cape Gazette quoted Crane telling the committee. “By doing so, it dilutes the impact of the gay community which shares political beliefs,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

“The proposed lines dilute the voting power of the LGBTQ community in addition to others who respect diversity,” the Cape Gazette quoted 6th District resident Sandy Spence as telling the committee. 

In an Oct. 10 email sent to potential supporters before the redistricting plan was approved, Crane said he believes he has the experience and record that make him a strong candidate for the state Senate seat. He is a former chair of the Sussex County Democratic Party, where Rehoboth and Lewes are located; and he currently serves as an adjunct professor at Delaware State University’s graduate school, where he teaches American Governance and Administration.

He is a past president of the Delaware Stonewall PAC, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, and he’s the state’s former Deputy Insurance Commissioner.

 “I intend to focus on smart growth in Sussex County; work on the problems of homelessness and the need for affordable housing; and assuring that this district receives its fair portion of tax dollars,” he said in his Oct. 10 email message announcing his candidacy.

Crane said he posted a Facebook message on Oct. 26 informing supporters that the redrawn district lines removed him from the district, and he is no longer a candidate.

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MSNBC’s Capehart to host SMYAL’s Fall Brunch Nov. 6

Ashland Johnson to serve as keynote speaker

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Gay journalist Jonathan Capehart will host SMYAL’s Fall Brunch. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Pulitzer Prizing-winning gay journalist Jonathan Capehart, the anchor of MSNBC’s “Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart,” will serve as host for the 24th Annual SMYAL Fall Brunch scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6, at D.C.’s Marriott Marquis Hotel.

The annual Fall Brunch serves as one of the largest fundraising events for SMYAL, which advocates and provides services for LGBTQ youth in the D.C. metropolitan area. 

“Each year, a community of advocates, changemakers, and supporters comes together at the Fall Brunch to raise much-needed funds to support and expand critical programs and services for queer and trans youth in the DMV area,” a statement released by the organization says.

The statement says attorney and former Division I women’s collegiate basketball athlete Ashland Johnson will be the keynote speaker at the SMYAL Fall Brunch. Johnson founded the sports project called The Inclusion Playbook, which advocates for racial justice and LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

Other speakers include Zahra Wardrick, a SMYAL program participant and youth poet; and Leandra Nichola, a parent of attendees of Little SMYALs, a program that SMYAL says provides support for “the youngest members of the LGBTQ community” at ages 6-12. The SMYAL statement says Nichola is the owner and general manager of the Takoma Park, Md., based café, bar, retail, and bubble tea shop called Main Street Pearl.

According to the statement, the SMYAL Fall Brunch, including a planned silent auction, will be live streamed through SMYAL’s Facebook page for participants who may not be able to attend in person. For those attending the event in person, proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required, and masks will also be required for all attendees when not actively eating or drinking, the statement says.

The statement says that for attendees and supporters, the Fall Brunch is “a community celebration of how your support has not only made it possible for SMYAL to continue to serve LGBTQ youth through these challenging times, it’s allowed our programs to grow and deepen.”

Adds the statement, “From affirming mental health support and housing to fostering community spaces and youth leadership training, we will continue to be there for queer and trans youth together.”

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Politics

State Department acknowledges Intersex Awareness Day

Special LGBTQ rights envoy moderated activist roundtable

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State Department (public domain photo)

The State Department on Tuesday acknowledged the annual Intersex Awareness Day.

“We proudly recognize the voices and human rights of intersex people around the world,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a statement. “The Department of State is committed to promoting and protecting the rights, dignity, and equality of all individuals, including intersex persons.”

Price in his statement said U.S. foreign policy seeks to “pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics, while acknowledging the intersections with disability, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, or other status.” Price also acknowledged intersex people “are subject to violence, discrimination, and abuse on the basis of their sex characteristics” and “many intersex persons, including children, experience invasive, unnecessary, and sometimes irreversible medical procedures.” 

“The department supports the empowerment of movements and organizations advancing the human rights of intersex persons and the inclusion of intersex persons in the development of policies that impact their enjoyment of human rights,” he said.

Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad, on Tuesday moderated a virtual panel with intersex activists from around the world.

Intersex Awareness Day commemorates the world’s first-ever intersex protest that took place in Boston on Oct. 26, 1996.

Dana Zzyym, an intersex U.S. Navy veteran who identifies as non-binary, in 2015 filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department after it denied their application for a passport with their sex listed as “X.” The State Department in June announced it would begin to issue gender-neutral passports and documents for American citizens who were born overseas.

The U.S. and more than 50 other countries earlier this month signed a statement that urges the U.N. Human Rights Council to protect the rights of intersex people.

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