July 29, 2021

We must fight the danger of illegal homosexuality, says Herman Duarte

We must fight the danger of illegal homosexuality, says Herman Duarte

With the force of the sea that crashes with a cliff, the Swiss-Salvadoran lawyer Herman Duarte fights against discrimination and the latent danger that neutral people come to consider homosexuality a crime.

Sitting in the cafe of an exclusive hotel in Guatemala City, where he participated in the Central American Forum on the Rights of LGBTIQ People, Duarte talks with Efe about his book "Is it justifiable to discriminate? A cultural discussion on the rule of law, freedoms and sexuality ", published by Aranzadi.

Duarte, 30 years old, founder of H. Duarte Legal -which seeks to eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation in Latin America- and official of the Human Rights Committee of the International Bar Association, observes that "Nothing" by Michael Ende that could consider a gay criminal.

The activist also collects a survey of the International LGBTI Association that in 2016 asked eleven Latin American countries whether homosexuality should be considered a crime, in which between 44 and 60 percent were "totally in disagreement", but between 20 and 30 percent did not position themselves in favor.

"The danger is that the neutrals pass on the side of those who agreed", which in the survey did not exceed 9 percent, says the lawyer.

The moment is also key in the continent after the victory of the ultraconservative Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, who based his campaign supposedly on hatred towards "the different" and on the "values ​​of the traditional family," just as he did without success but with "deep intensity" the former candidate Fabricio Alvarado in Costa Rica.

"Discrimination, freedom of expression and religious freedom have been naturalized" in "extreme levels", he warns when recalling that in 2012 the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa stated that "the supreme value of our culture is entertainment", that has caused problems such as "the era of post-truth, of the scandalous in a sea of ​​irrelevance, as Aldous Huxley said in 1958."

In contrast to that "avalanche of rancor" is the Mexican case, with President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who "could be an anti-Bolsonaro, despite the alliance he made in the elections with the evangelical churches."

Guatemala is not exempt from said "criminalization", after the Congress agenda was shuffled and discussed a variety of laws that "seek to prohibit relations between two people of the same sex," he recalls.

In that environment is that Duarte presents his book, which he calls a "treaty of reason, of humanity's values ​​so that no one can be sunk, or humiliated, or outraged." Its pages are "a treasure of values ​​and truth, it is the reason, a shout before the threats of the Rule of Law".

There, issues such as the "dangerous discursive" are addressed under genocide prevention studies, that "innocent" language in which hatred is concealed in an environment of "them against us", of "the enemies against the traditional family".

The jurist, who left El Salvador in 2011 in the direction of Costa Rica because he had "closed all doors", had to face his own family who sent him a letter "telling me he was destroying the family name". He responded with a nine-page text in which he stressed that "love is a central force that attracts, respects and includes, is not one that imposes, that excludes and insults."

Faced with the "dehumanizing strategy, which starts from words like cockroaches, insects, infested," as the US president, Donald Trump, has used to discriminate against African-Americans and migrants, Duarte seeks to combat that "instrumentalized emotion" that "has been used before , in Nazi Germany. "

There, in Hitler's time, the "gender ideology" was born, creating even an "office for the combat of homosexuality and abortion", which led to a segregation that ended with the murder of some 60,000 gay men, many of them which, in concentration camps, they had to wear uniforms with pink triangles to identify them, as well as the purple ones that were for the Jehovah's Witnesses or the red ones for the political prisoners.

In the 13 chapters of its 329 pages, Duarte analyzes the rule of law, discrimination, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as religious freedom and freedom of expression and makes a guide to be an activist, with a foreword by the New York lawyer founder of 'Freedom to Marry', Evan Wolfson.


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