Queer: New Voice for Sexual Minorities in Argentina
By Marcela Valente
BUENOS AIRES, Sep 26 (IPS) - A monthly magazine published by an Argentine umbrella group of some thirty organisations of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans (LGBTs) seeks to become a major communications channel for the community and an instrument for disseminating the actions that sexual minorities undertake to defend their rights.
"The Pride March (Argentina's annual LGBT celebration organised since 1992) is a big part of us, but it doesn't cover all of our community. There are lesbians with no visibility and transgender women who have fought for years to have their identity recognised," Mónica Ferrari, editor-in-chief of the just-released monthly publication Queer, which is distributed free of charge, told IPS.
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The magazine is the official voice of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans (FALGBT) and has a circulation of 15,000 copies in print and a summarised version online. The name Queer was chosen because of its connection to a theory of diversity that sees sexual identity as constructed socially and not determined by biology.
The magazine had already appeared for a few years but was forced out of circulation in 2002 due to lack of funding. Queer's original editor-in-chief and founder was FALGBT's current president, María Rachid, who has now supported this new edition.
"Queer was meant as a way of bringing us closer to our organisations, to communicate with them and convey to them how we're doing, what we need, and what we can do to fulfil our needs," Rachid said at the publication's presentation. "We have a lot of challenges ahead of us."
The activist recalled that the courts have yet to rule on same-sex couple's rights to marriage, inheritance, adoption, widow’s pensions or shared medical benefits for partners or families. "We still need to gain equal standing before the law," she said.
Today the magazine is "the leading means of communications for the lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual community," current editor-in-chief Ferrari said. It features social, political and cultural information, including a guide of services for the community, relevant addresses, articles on health issues, and art and entertainment reviews, all written with a broad and inclusive approach.
"It's open to anyone, and it's distributed in heterosexual locales because we want to portray another image of our community, different from what is shown in mainstream media," Ferrari said, adding that this month's feature story is about Marcela Romero, an Argentine transgender activist who recently won an important victory when the courts recognised her transsexual identity. The cover of Queer carries a picture of Romero's new identity document.
Romero is vice president of FALGBT and a member of the Association of Transvestites, Transsexuals and Transgendered People of Argentina. "She was born in a man's body, had to have surgery abroad because sex change operations are not legal in this country, and fought for 10 years to obtain an identity document with her female name on it," Ferrari said.
"Our movement is still fighting for recognition of the rights that are due to us," reads this month's editorial piece.
Some of these demands are the "right to marry, a law recognising the gender identity of trans people, school curricula that promote diversity and teach students not to discriminate against our community, and the repeal of any discriminating criminal code provisions," she said.
The leading stories this month include Romero's case and the latest news affecting LGBT communities in the country and abroad, such as a report on an August shooting in Tel Aviv, where a gunman indiscriminately opened fire on a gay support centre , killing two teenagers and leaving at least 15 other people injured.
The attack - which gay leaders said is Israel's worst-ever hate crime against the community - was attributed to the intolerance towards sexual minorities that currently prevails among the country's religious groups.
Another piece tells the story of two lesbian women in the Spanish city of Valencia, who conceived a child together through in vitro fertilisation and are both considered the baby's biological mothers. The article explains that Spain and the Netherlands are the only countries in the world that legally recognise double maternity, when eggs are harvested from one of the partners in a lesbian couple (the 'genetic' mother) and implanted in the other partner (the 'pregnant' mother).
Queer also reports on advances made in the acceptance of common-law unions throughout Argentina. Common-law unions are an option for any couple - whether same-sex or not - wishing to legally formalise their relationship without the more restrictive commitments of marriage.
With respect to services and suggestions, this issue provides information on a psychological therapy clinic for members of the community and their families, and reproduces a ranking of the 60 best gay bars on earth published by Out, a U.S.-based gay lifestyle and fashion magazine, highlighting that while more than half the places featured are in the United States, five are in Latin America, and one is in Buenos Aires.
Contact Queer by email: firstname.lastname@example.org