Between the 14th and 17th of September this year, the Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes (ENFF), located in Guararema, São Paulo, Brazil, will host the III Seminar on Sexual and Gender Diversity of the La Via Campesina Brazil. The event, already established as a forum for debate and knowledge-building on matters related to sexual and gender diversity, promises to bring together over 80 participants from different movements that constitute La Via Campesina, addressing topics ranging from human rights to the intersectionality of struggles.
Considering the evolution of the seminar, it becomes evident how this third edition paves the path of learning and engagement that began in previous editions. La Via Campesina, an international organization that brings together rural people from around the globe, has recognized the importance of including agendas of sexual and gender diversity in its discussions. This particular edition reaffirms the continuity of this commitment by addressing issues directly impacting the lives of LGBTI+ individuals.
The international aspect of the seminar highlights the understanding that the fight for respect towards sexual and gender diversities transcends geographical and cultural borders. By facilitating the exchange of experiences and insights across diverse contexts, the event contributes to the creation of a global network of solidarity and resistance. The battles for equality and justice for the LGBTI+ community are universal, and La Via Campesina establishes itself as a platform where these struggles can be interconnected and reinforced.
The topics to be addressed during the seminar reflect the complexity of the issues under discussion and encompass a range of subjects. These subjects span from the dimension of LGBTQIA+ human rights within the context of federal government public policies to the intersectionality between class struggle, overcoming capitalism, racism, and patriarchy. The discussions promise to be deep and transformative. The recognition of the existence and resistance of indigenous LGBTI+ individuals in their advocacy for territory underscores the significance of acknowledging the multitude of identities present within rural movements.
The gathering also aims to explore the contributions of rural and popular feminism to the discussion on sexual diversity and gender identity. By placing women’s perspectives at the heart of the debate, the seminar challenges traditional and patriarchal views that often permeate the LGBTI+ struggle.
The seminar, therefore, is not just a space for discussion but also an opportunity for experiences and exchanges among individuals who share similar struggles. The significance of this aspect lies in the potential to strengthen the fight of LGBTI+ individuals within the various movements that constitute Via Campesina. After all, the experiences and insights provided by the event not only enrich individual knowledge but also strengthen the bonds of solidarity that sustain collective struggles.
According to Luana Oliveira, member of the LGBTI+ Collective of La Via Campesina Brazil, “the Seminar is undoubtedly one of the educational spaces that Via Campesina offers to LGBTI people. Its purpose is to provide political education, strengthen the agenda of sexual diversity in the struggle of the people, and contribute to the fight for territory. The Seminar also facilitates the exchange of experiences with the struggles of people from countries in Latin America and other continents around the world. This exchange contributes to self-organization and the construction of a popular project and food sovereignty. Human emancipation cannot be achieved if the individuals involved in these struggles are influenced by the culture of sexism, LGBTI+phobia, racism, and individualism. It is necessary to collectively overcome any form of violence, and the seminar, along with the ongoing campaign against LGBTI+phobia in rural areas, serves as crucial spaces and processes for fostering new human relationships and combating violence”.
Statistics provided by the Dom Tomás Balduino Documentation Center (Cedoc-CPT) underscore the urgency of this coordination and the dialogue that the seminar seeks to promote. Between 2020 and 2022, 10 cases of violence against LGBT individuals in rural areas were documented. Among these cases, 3 people faced death threats, 4 experienced humiliation or intimidation (with one of them being arrested), 1 was tortured, and 2 were tragically murdered. It is disturbing to note that the violence was perpetrated by a variety of actors, including land grabbers, farmers, business owners, the military police, and even religious leaders.
Faced with this scenario, it becomes clear that the seminar plays a vital role in promoting awareness, resistance, and the pursuit of justice for LGBTI+ individuals in rural, water, and forest communities. By providing a space for deep discussions, exchange of experiences, and international coordination, the event offers a powerful platform for building an inclusive and unified movement that rejects violence and oppression and strives for a future of equality and dignity for all.
The III Seminar on Sexual and Gender Diversity of the La Via Campesina Brazil presents itself as a crucial step on the path towards equality and respect for diversities in rural, water, and forest communities. By connecting the LGBTI+ struggle with issues of territory, social justice, and the environment, the seminar broadens the horizon of discussions and reinforces the message that true revolution cannot happen without the inclusion and recognition of LGBTI+ existences and resistances.