Roughly 400 gay people joined a public
march in downtown Asuncion, Paraguay on Saturday to demand greater
Activists also want the government to
investigate the murders of transgender people.
Under the slogan of “holiday, in
memory and protest,” the demonstrators marched through the city to
the Pantheon of Heroes, Asuncion's memorial to the country's fallen
soldiers, where they held a festival.
Tamara, a 22-year-old transgender
woman, told Spanish news agency EFE that in Paraguay “there are
many deaths of transgender people and the government does nothing.”
She said that she had joined the march to demand justice for the
Camila Zabala, a spokeswoman for the
group Aireana, which supports lesbian rights, told
EFE that more than 40 transgender people had been killed in the
Patricia Benitez, 33, a member of the
group Panambi, said that the transgender community faces “a lot of
discrimination” in public health services.
President Horacio Cartes of the
conservative Colorado Party won office in August, dampening the hopes
of activists lobbying for passage of a marriage bill.
In a radio interview broadcast a week
before the election, Cartes compared gay people to “monkeys” and
said that he would shoot himself in “the balls” if his son turned
out to be gay.
After neighbor Argentina legalized gay
nuptials in 2010, activists in Paraguay held out hope for a similar
law in Paraguay. Activists introduced a bill to Congress, which
failed to act on the proposal.