La Via Campesina’s members in Brazil held its Second Seminar on Sexual and Gender Diversity from 3 to 6 November 2022.
The seminar ~ LGBTI+ Via Campesina: Bringing colour to territories, sowing pride and resistance! ~ was held at the Florestan Fernandes National School (ENFF). Nearly 70 Latin American activists from Brazilian, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Colombian, Peruvian, Paraguayan, and Argentinian social movements participated.
The event aimed to foster the debate about the lives and perspectives of LGBTI+ populations based on the struggles experienced by people from rural, forest and water lands, as well as on Via Campesina’s defence of territories, lands, waters, cultures, popular peasant feminism and sexual diversity. Its goal was to reflect on how these agendas are linked while empowering LGBTI+ people in their territories in connection with rural struggles.
It was also an opportunity for exchanging experiences and outlining strategies at the continental level – a process favoured by a large attendance from Latin American countries. Activists participating in this process of collective organization of Via Campesina expect the movement to include LGBTI+ agendas among the elements of peasant political struggle. The seminar produced a document directed at Via Campesina Internacional and the Latin American Coordination of Peasant Organizations (CLOC-Via).
“We affirm sexual and gender diversity agendas within these organizations, which gather hundreds of popular movements from a wide range of countries”, said Alessandro Mariano from the National Direction of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST). “Rural people are also diverse – ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and gender identity. In other words, Via Campesina welcomes social diversity, in line with the diversity of healthy food it produces.”
In Mariano’s words, “we are ending a cycle started with Bolsonaro’s election, in which violence towards LGBTI+ people increased in rural areas. At least six LGBTI+ peasant activists have been assassinated among tens of victims. Yet they fight back against agricultural, water, and mining businesses, as well as against LGBTI-phobia, machismo, patriarchy, and all other forms of oppression and violence.”
The event included art slams, round tables and lectures by prominent figures from LGBTI+ community, such as the drag queen and social-media influencer Rita von Hunty, the president of the Brazilian Lesbian, Gay, Travesti, Transsexual and Transgender Association (ABLGT) Simmy Larrat, Beto de Jesus representing Brazil’s branch of Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Paraguay’s Conamuri/LVC member Cony Gonzales, and Gahela Tseneg, from Peru’s Cari organization.
Also, LGBTI+ activists from several popular movements participated in the seminar, such as Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples Network (APIB), the National Network Coordination of Rural Black Quilombo Communities (CONAQ), MST, the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), the Movement of Small Farmers (MPA), the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), the Rural Youth Ministry (PJR), the Peasant Women’s Movement (MMC) and the Movement for Popular Sovereignty in Mining (MAM).
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