October 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Hundreds attend LGBT rights conference in Honduras

Honduras, gay news, Washington Blade

More than 300 LGBT rights advocates from nearly two dozen countries gathered in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from Oct. 2-3, 2015, for an LGBT rights conference. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — More than 300 people from across the Western Hemisphere gathered in the Honduran capital from Oct. 2-3 for a conference designed to bolster further LGBT political engagement in the region.

Randy Berry, the special U.S. envoy to promote global LGBT rights, spoke at the gathering that took place at a Tegucigalpa hotel alongside gay Peruvian Congressman Carlos Bruce, transgender Venezuelan National Assembly candidate Tamara Adrián, Costa Rican Deputy Minister of the Interior Carmen Muñoz, Honduran Vice Minister of Human Rights and Justice Karla Cueva, Gonzalo Cid Vega of the Chilean Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, gay Long Beach (Calif.) Mayor Robert Garcia and others. Kenita Placide of United and Strong, an LGBT advocacy group in St. Lucia, also attended the conference alongside Marcela Romero of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People and five Cuban advocates who are affiliated with the National Center for Sexual Education, a group headed by Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro.

Maximiliano Ferraro, a gay lawmaker in Buenos Aires, on his Twitter page described the conference as “two days of hard work and exchanges, for more equality and rights.”

Diane Rodríguez, a trans woman running for the Ecuadorian Congress, and Erin Greene, an LGBT rights advocate from the Bahamas, were among those who met with Berry during the conference. LGBT Federation of Argentina President Esteban Paulón and Deivis Ventura, a Dominican advocate who is a candidate for the Santo Domingo Municipal Council, also spoke with the U.S. envoy.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute co-organized the conference alongside Hivos International, a Dutch group that promotes LGBT and other human rights issues, and Caribe Afirmativo, a Colombian advocacy organization. The Association of Youth in Movement, which advocates on behalf of LGBT Hondurans and other marginalized groups, also sponsored the gathering alongside the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS and other foundations, non-governmental organizations and businesses from throughout the region.

“We’re thrilled to help our Honduras conference attendees transform their parties and their countries from within,” Caryn Viverito of the Victory Fund told the Washington Blade before the conference began.

Honduran advocates on Oct. 1 held a separate conference in Tegucigalpa that focused on their country’s LGBT rights movement.

The two conferences took place against the backdrop of anti-LGBT violence and discrimination that remains rampant in the Central American country.

Two Honduran LGBT rights advocates on Oct. 2 turned their backs to Cueva and Francisco Martínez of the Honduran Secretary of External Affairs as they spoke at the opening plenary of the Victory Fund-organized conference. Independent Cuban LGBT rights activists with whom the Blade spoke during the gathering were critical of the fact that only those affiliated with the National Center for Sexual Education were in attendance.

Editor’s note: Washington Blade International News Editor Michael K. Lavers on Oct. 3 presented a workshop on the media at the conference.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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