Why is the LGBT community afraid of the new government in Colombia?

Iván Duque has received broad support from the most conservative and religious sectors of the country, which generated alarm within the LGBT community

Why is the LGBT community afraid of the new government in Colombia?

When on Sunday, June 17, Iván Duque delivered his first speech, after learning that he would be the next president of Colombia, he wanted to make it clear that his government was not going to backtrack on the individual rights and freedoms that had been achieved in recent years. "Today there are no defeated citizens because I want to be the president who gives the same love to those who voted for me and those who did not. I will govern without hatred, for all Colombians, I do not recognize enemies," said Duque.

Leer en español: ¿Por qué la comunidad LGBT le teme al nuevo gobierno en Colombia?

Although he did not explicitly refer to the LGBT community, it was taken for granted that these words were addressed to them. So, despite that conciliatory speech, that same day it began to grow the movement "the resistance", driven by all kinds of activists who said they will be "vigilant" with Duque's policies.

The main issue of confrontation between supporters and detractors of the new president of Colombia is the intention of him to modify the peace agreement with the FARC reached by his predecessor, Juan Manual Santos. However, this is not going to be the only "battlefront". Despite his moderate profile, Iván Duque is sponsored by former President Álvaro Uribe and received the support of the most conservative sectors of the country during his election campaign. Hence the alarm that has been generated by the LGBT community, for fear that their rights are going to be violated.

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This distrust centers on two people to whom Duque showed special gratitude during his speech: former prosecutor Alejandro Ordóñez, known for his Catholic ideal of the State, and Senator Viviane Morales, who unsuccessfully promoted the prohibition on same-sex couples to adopt. Although it is not yet known who will be the government team of the new President, several experts agree that both Ordóñez and Morales will occupy positions of importance, according to Óscar Andrés Sánchez in the newspaper El Colombiano. For their part, among the most skeptical is the fear that they may have sufficient power to endanger the secular state or acquired rights, according to the same article.

The LGBT community has made remarkable progress in Colombia. On the one hand, same-sex couples can adopt since 2015 and get married since 2016. On the other hand, in this year's elections, Claudia López, the formula of the centrist Sergio Fajardo, was the first lesbian candidate for the country's vice-presidency. These are facts that demonstrate the struggle for equality in the South American country.

However, Duque's ambiguity on this issue during the campaign is what has put these groups on notice. This is because the Colombian was the only candidate who did not fully support the rights of the LGBT community when asked about it in the debate prior to the first round of presidential elections. A face to face that was not repeated later with his final rival, the left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro.

Neither helped a video posted on Twitter by Álvaro Uribe in which he appeared accompanied by several people who supported Duque and those he called "non-heterosexual". This raised criticism when referring to this minority from the denial, although the senator defended himself by saying that they had called themselves that way.

At the moment all are rumors and conjectures, once it is know Duque's government team it can begin to draw the first conclusions.


Latin American Post | José María González Alonso

Translated from "¿Por qué la comunidad LGBT le teme al nuevo gobierno en Colombia?"