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Nuevo presidente salvadoreño cierra Secretaria de Inclusión Social

Activistas LGBTI demandaron al nuevo gobierno mantener la SIS

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El nuevo presidente de El Salvador Nayib Bukele tomó posesión el 1 de junio de 2019.

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Este pasado sábado en El Salvador se realizó el traspaso presidencial al nuevo presidente electo el 3 de febrero del corriente año con el 53,1 por ciento de los votos, Nayib Bukele, un joven empresario de 37 años, que ha marcó un precedente al romper con el bipartidismo que existía en el país centroamericano. 

Con un discurso simbólico, Bukele no habló en temas concretos sobre el trabajo que realizará en su función, sin embargo hizo jurar alzando la mano a los asistentes al traspaso e incluso a televidentes, que defenderían lo conquistado el pasado 3 de febrero. 

Otros puntos importantes fueron el salto al protocolo que realizó al comenzar su discurso sin saludar a los diputados de la Asamblea Legislativa, invitados especiales y la representación de países amigos, aclarando que él había llegado a celebrar con el pueblo. De igual manera otro dato a resaltar fueron los minutos que se tomó para dar parte de su discurso en señas, mostrando así un poco de la inclusión que se espera mantenga en su gobierno. 

Inclusión que la Federación Salvadoreña LGBTI demanda se mantenga y continúe avanzando como en los dos Gobiernos pasados, por ello exigieron “mantener y fortalecer la Dirección de Diversidad Sexual de la Secretaría de Inclusión Social (SIS), ampliando su mandato en la promoción de políticas públicas inclusivas y normativas legales para a garantía y defensa de los derechos humanos de la población LGBTI”, mencionaron en parte de las demandas del pronunciamiento socializado por la Federación Salvadoreña LGBTI.

Además pidieron conservar el Decreto Ejecutivo No 56, que prohíbe toda forma de discriminación por orientación sexual, identidad y expresión de género en el Órgano Ejecutivo, entre otras demandas que tienen que ver con la defensa y protección de los derechos humanos de la población LGBTI.

Al siguiente día del traspaso, Bukele se reunió con el Consejo de Ministros de su nuevo gabinete, los cuales por unanimidad reformaron el reglamento para suprimir la Secretaría Técnica de la Presidencia, la Secretaría de Gobernabilidad, la Secretaría de Participación, Transparencia y Anticorrupción, la Secretaría de Vulnerabilidad y la Secretaría de Inclusión Social, en esta última se encuentra la Dirección de Diversidad Sexual, la cual ha sido un logro en los últimos gobiernos para la población LGBTI.

Ante este anuncio dado a conocer en redes sociales, algunos activistas se pronunciaron en las mismas, “tomando en cuenta que las personas LGBTI estamos contempladas en el Plan Cuscatlán, y para evitar incertidumbre en la población respecto a la desaparición de la SIS, deseo respetuosamente preguntarle: ¿Qué sucederá con la dirección de diversidad?”, fue la pregunta que realizó el activista y director del portal LGBTI El Salvador G, Nicolas Rodríguez. 

A lo cual en otro tweet el presidente de la república contestó que esta dirección sería asumida por el Ministerio de Cultura, externando a su vez que tuvieran paciencia pues solamente llevaba 36 horas en el gobierno.

A lo cual la actual Ministra de Cultura, Suecy Callejas Estrada contestó vía tweet, “Gracias Presidente, nosotros tenemos clara la misión de generar y ejecutar políticas públicas claras que sean en pro de la protección de los derechos humanos. Los cambios culturales son más difíciles de lograr, pero los que sí perduran. ¡Bienvenida la diversidad!”.

Es notable que la forma de comunicación del nuevo presidente de El Salvador será diferentes a las de otros políticos, esto lo dejó claro desde los tiempos de campaña electoral, haciendo todo anuncio sobre la misma y utilizando como medio oficial para informar todo sobre su candidatura por medio de sus redes sociales. 

Seguirán habiendo cambios en las diferentes dependencias y los activistas LGBTI estarán contralores de estas decisiones que pueden afectar o no, los avances y alianzas de colaboración que se habían establecido hasta la fecha, “Sí habrán momentos difíciles, pero espero que me acompañen a tomar esas decisiones con valentía”, fueron parte de las palabras en el primer discurso como presidente de Bukele.

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District of Columbia

Another gay couple assaulted in D.C. in suspected hate crime

Two men holding hands when hit from behind by group of attackers

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Chuck Johnson (left) and J.P. Singh were assaulted in June. (Photo courtesy the couple)

A gay male couple informed the Washington Blade this week that they were assaulted by a group of young men on June 17, at least of one of whom shouted the word “faggots,” while the couple was holding hands walking home on the 1500 block of T Street, N.W. a few doors away from their house.

One of the two men suffered a broken jaw and fractured thumb when two or three of the attackers punched and kicked him in the head and face after knocking him to the ground, according to a D.C. police report that lists the incident as a suspected anti-gay hate crime.

The incident took place about six weeks before another gay male couple was attacked and punched in the head and face by a group of young males appearing in their late teens as at least one of them shouted “monkeypox faggots.” The incident occurred on Aug. 7 along the 1700 block of 7th Street, N.W. in the Shaw neighborhood as the men were walking to a nearby bus stop.

D.C. police, who have released photos of two suspects in the Aug. 7 incident and a photo of one suspect in the June 17 case, say no arrests have been made in either of the cases but both cases remain under active investigation.

The two victims in the June 17 case identified themselves as J.P. Singh, Professor of Global Commerce and Policy at George Mason University, and Charles D. “Chuck” Johnson Jr., CEO and President of the Aluminum Association industry trade organization. They initially identified themselves in a little-noticed article about the incident that they wrote and published on June 23 in the blog Medium in which they also posted a photo of themselves.   

“We, JP and Chuck, are a middle-age interracial gay couple,” the two wrote in the article. “We have been together for nearly 27 years, and live in a gay neighborhood in Washington, DC.  On Friday, June 17, while walking back from the gym at 10 p.m. and holding hands, a group of young African American men assaulted us on our street,” the two wrote.

Their article goes on to explore issues surrounding racial justice and crime, and the possible impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on police response to crime, including anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, among other related issues.

 “Assaults like ours open wounds in our society around race and LGBTQ issues,” they state in the article. “Through writing this article, we want to emphasize context and healing, and not encourage racialized ways of thinking that we associate with divisive tactics.”

Singh told the Blade the incident began on T Street, N.W., steps away from their house and in front of the house of gay D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kyle Mulhull. He said a group of the attackers approached him and Johnson from behind and the couple didn’t see the attackers until they were struck with punches.

“Before we knew it, I heard Chuck yell,” Singh said. “And when I turned to him, I felt a punch on my ear.”

According to Singh’s account, the attackers ran toward 15th Street and Johnson ran after them presumably to be able to inform police of their location, with the intent that the attackers could be apprehended.

But Singh said that another group of attackers emerged from an alley and appeared to have joined the first group and began assaulting Johnson again. The D.C. police report says officers responding to a 911 call from Johnson arrived on the scene when Victim 1, who was Johnson, was observed at the intersection of 15th and U Streets, N.W.

“The officers observed that Victim 1 was bleeding from his mouth as a result of the assault,” the report says. The report says the officers call the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department for assistance.

“Victim 1 stated that he and Victim 2 were walking eastbound in the 1500 block of T St., N.W. when 4 to 8 suspects approached from behind and assaulted them with punches,” the report continues. “Victim 1 stated that at least one of the suspects yelled homophobic slurs at him as the assault was perpetrated.

Singh said he accompanied Johnson to the emergency room where he was treated and underwent surgery two days later to treat his jaw, which was broken in two places. Singh said Johnson was also treated for a fractured thumb.

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Comings & Goings

Brian Reach joins Arlington Food Assistance Center

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Brian Reach

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected].

Congratulations to Brian Reach on his new position as Associate Director of Marketing and Communications of the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). Reach has more than 18 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and deep roots in Northern Virginia.  

Charles Meng, CEO of AFAC said, “I’m very pleased to have Brian Reach on our staff as we enter a new and very challenging year. A year when even more families suffering from inflation in food and fuel are coming to our doors seeking help.” 

Jolie Smith, director of development at AFAC added, “Brian will be a wonderful addition to the AFAC development team as we start our new year with a strong focus on new opportunities outside of Arlington County. Given his experience, he’ll be a significant part of our new growth and development.”  

Reach previously worked at MCI USA (formerly The Coulter Companies) in a number of positions including director of Information Systems and Credentialing. Before that he was with the Interstitial Cystitis Association as its nonprofit coordinator/accounts receivable coordinator; and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Fairfax, Va., as Education coordinator.

Reach is an activist and leader in the LGBTQ community. He currently serves as president and executive director of NOVA Pride, a 501c3 he founded in 2011, as well as on other LGBTQ boards and task forces. A Northern Virginia local, whose grandparents met at Fairfax High School, he is extremely passionate about the area and is personally dedicated to making an impact on the lives of his neighbors in need. He has worked on political campaigns in Virginia for Jennifer Wexton, Justin Fairfax, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry, Chap Peterson, and Al Gore.

Reach is currently attending George Mason University and was a business major at Northern Virginia Community College.

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Delaware

Delaware Stonewall PAC to announce 2022 endorsements at fundraiser

State Sen. Pinkney to deliver keynote speech

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Del. Sen. Marie Pinkney will speak Saturday at the event.

Delaware Stonewall PAC, which advocates for the LGBTQ community in Delaware, will announce its endorsements for the 2022 state primaries and general elections at its 18th annual summer fundraiser in Rehoboth Beach on Saturday. Del. Sen. Marie Pinkney, the state’s first openly lesbian senator, is slated to deliver the event’s keynote speech.

Held each year, the event plays a key role in raising funds for the organization’s advocacy efforts, which mostly comes through financial investment in the campaigns of “candidates that support our issues,” according to Delaware Stonewall PAC Board Secretary Peter Schott.

Endorsements are determined by candidates’ responses to a survey distributed by the organization regarding its primary issues of interest, and are also influenced by a candidate’s political background.

This year, 37 candidates for state elections submitted responses to the survey in pursuit of the organization’s endorsement, said Dwayne Bensing, president of Delaware Stonewall PAC. Although the organization is non-partisan, Bensing noted no Republican candidates sought their endorsement.

When reviewing this year’s survey responses, certain issues facing the local LGBTQ community weighed heavily in the organization’s decision making.

Last year, HB 199, a bill that sought to formally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability in the state constitution, was proposed in the House, but was “never bought to a floor vote,” Bensing explained. A candidate’s views on constitutionally guaranteeing access to abortion was considered greatly, as Bensing noted the organization hopes to see progress soon on the bill.

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade, other key issues to the organization this election season center around bodily autonomy — like an individual’s right to receive an abortion or gender affirming medical care, Bensing explained. LGBTQ inclusivity in statewide school curriculum also figured prominently in decision making, he added.

“We asked explicitly about whether each of those candidates would support” LGBTQ advocacy through these issues, he said.

At the event, the organization will also honor “local and national pioneers in civil and human rights,” according to a July 27 press release from the organization.

The leaders that will be recognized at the event include C. Dixon Osburn, founder of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which helped end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law; Charlotte King, founder of the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice; and Murray Archibald, co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth, according to the press release.

“We are honoring these people because they are pioneers,” Schott added. “They saw the problem … organized around the problem, and found a lot of success.”

Last year, Sen. Pinkney was honored at the event as one of the state’s first three LGBTQ Caucus members, Bensing said. He added that the event will also play an important role in recruiting new members to the organization: Since the beginning of 2022, Delaware Stonewall PAC has recruited more than 120 new members, and the organization’s leadership hopes the event will help it maintain that momentum.

Tickets to the fundraiser begin at $75, and the organization also welcomes sponsorships. More information can be found at delawarestonewall.org.

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