The day gays could marry
As new bills for trans rights are being presented in Congress nationally and provincially in Argentina, my mind goes back to July 14, 2010. A law for full marriage equality had already been approved by one House/Chamber, and that day it was to be discussed in the Senate. A friend and I joined the crowd in front of the Legislative Palace, showing support and listening with bated breath to the discussion, which was being broadcast onto a screen.
Everyone seemed to be there: all the LGBT organizations, of course, but also worker’s unions, social justice/human rights organizations, banners of support from political parties… Yes, I was annoyed that they hadn’t stood for LGB rights before it was a popular issue, but mostly I felt joy to see so many people there. Especially because –ever since it had become a visible topic of debate– anti-gay graffitis and stickers had shown up everywhere, even near my home. It was a very cold winter day, but it felt warmer there in the crowd.
But, for me, the most stunning thing of the day happened back at school. My friend and I only stayed at the Congress for a little while because my school was also in turmoil: a huge decision had been made, most students and teachers were against it, and debates and demonstrations were being held back-to-back. When we returned from the Senate, a rally was being held around the school door: people were chanting and even dancing in a mosh pit. The main demand was greater in-school democracy.
I heard a snatch of a new chant, and though I couldn’t make out the words, I clearly recognized the word “homosexual”. I frowned: were they using “gay” to insult an authority figure? No, it was something about gay marriage — it was asking for gay marriage! ¡O-lé-lé, o-lá-lá, democratización, matrimonio homosexual! The song demanded both school democratization and gay marriage! And ALL the kids were singing it, and MOSHING to it!
I still get goosebumps when I remember that moment. It was so beautiful to see 12-to-18-year-olds dancing for gay rights. I realized that it didn’t matter if the bill didn’t pass this time: it was bound to, soon. The biggest challenge –changing people’s minds– had been overcome, and even if Congress members were unwilling to recognize it, they couldn’t stop the course of history.
The law did pass, just before dawn. I woke to an ecstatic text message announcing the news, and when I reached school, half-running in excitement, a straight friend picked me clean off the ground and whirled me around in a circle, both of us shouting with joy.
The trans bills I mentioned haven’t been discussed in Congress yet, and I wonder if –when the date draws near– trans issues will be discussed to such an extent. It’s urgently needed, because transphobia is even more rampant than homophobia. I hope that, in a few months, I can tell a similar story about the day trans people are granted our rights.