The end of state-sanctioned heteronormality in Chile

The end of state-sanctioned heteronormality in Chile Foto 23 8 Andres

By Andres Kogan Valderrama

HAVANA TIMES – There are only ten days left before the plebiscite to Approve or Reject the new Chilean Constitution proposal is held. A vote to Approve can be seen as the beginning of a new way of life for different historically excluded groups in the country, including people from the LGBTQIA community, who would receive government recognition for the first time.

The text of the new Constitution contains various articles that refer to sexual diversity. These would end the norms of heterosexual government that have ruled us since the 19th century, and usher in a new kind of government that takes responsibility for a history of discrimination, rape, torture, and many deaths, for the sole fact of of having a sexual orientation and gender identity different from the official vision.

When briefly reviewing the damage that the Chilean State has historically caused to anyone who expresses any type of sexual or gender difference, we can see that it was heir to the patriarchal vision of the Spanish monarchy and the Catholic Church. All of these institutions refused to think beyond a binary gender system (male or female) and the dominant mandate of masculinity.

Thus, the new Chilean Republic of 1810 never touched the sexual and gender concept of the previous colonial regime, but deepened the crusade against sexual diversity, replacing religious arguments with scientific ones over time, affirming that those who were not heterosexual they were sinners, but sick.

Any sexual and gender expression outside the heterosexual norm was considered deviant, twisted and a crime that should be punished even with death by fire. The medical community described “sodomy” as an aberration, and it was only in 1999 that the Chilean Penal Code eliminated it as a crime.

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It is impossible not to mention the enormous damage suffered by thousands of people due to the Law of Antisocial Conditions proclaimed by the dictator Carlos Ibáñez del Campo in 1954. This law served to persecute groups considered socially dangerous, among which were the that they were not. t heterosexuals.

The same thing happened under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in 1973, when the then existing armed forces, guards and intelligence services (DINA, CNI) exercised particular brutality and violence against the LGBTQIA community, many of them being beaten and killed.

Given this, the different LGBTQIA groups and organizations have played an enormous role, resisting and making visible the institutional homophobia and transphobia that we have had in the country for centuries, and promoting important advances.

The gay pride marches that have taken place since Chile’s return to democracy in 1990; the 2012 anti-discrimination law; the civil unions law of 2015; the gender identity law of 2018; the equal marriage law of 2021: all these, among many other historical advances, tell us that Chile is on a very good path.

However, it is still very insufficient, considering a study carried out by the Undersecretary for Crime Prevention, the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement, the Rancagua Trans Organization and Equals Foundation [the Equals Foundation]. In this study, 89% of the LGBTQIA community in Chile report having suffered discrimination; 62% have been victims of crimes related to their identity and 31.8% report having had suicidal thoughts at some point. Those who are transgender emerged as the most affected group.[1]

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The new constitutional proposal assumes this reality through different articles that explicitly establish the obligation of the State to promote the equal participation of people with sexual and gender differences in the country (art. 6), as well as promote sexual integrity. education (art. 40).

Along the same lines, the new Magna Carta proposal establishes the recognition by the State of the various forms of families (Art.10), which puts an end to the imposition of the traditional heterosexual family that does not represent the plurality of society. and discriminates against those who do not conform to the model, as our current Constitution does.

It is also noteworthy that the document says that the State will prohibit any type of discrimination, and that the rights of a person to their sexual orientation and gender identity can never be eluded by any person or any type of organization (Art. 25).

There is also the right to identity and the obligation of the State to carry out affirmative actions in this regard. The latter implies promoting a greater social appreciation of sexual diversity, which must be visible in all spaces and seen as part of the richness of the human experience (Art. 64).

Another area of ​​change is the new justice system proposed in the draft Constitution, which is required to adopt protection measures for people with sexual and gender differences, among other groups (Art. 312).

Taking all of the above into account, it would be difficult to imagine that those who have suffered discrimination due to their sexual and gender orientation do not see in this new Constitution an opportunity to visualize a different country.

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On the other hand, for those of us who have known people who have been the object of ridicule, humiliation and violence due to homophobia and transphobia, this new Constitution – which puts the dignity of people at the center – should also move us to mobilize with empathy and justice .

At the other extreme, it seems that the most conservative sectors of Chile do not see any value in all this, and have even preferred to make fun of the suffering of others, as has been demonstrated in the promotional clips of the Reject campaign during their assigned space on Chilean television. One of his short clips is a fictional story of a trans person. who mentions that they did not denounce his aggressor out of love, something that, to tell the truth, is quite grotesque.[2]