Hate and Homophobia in Manizales, Colombia

This is from earlier this year…  something that I find utterly sad, evidence of why some of us deal with so much crap as QWOC.  I don’t particularly enjoy ragging on Colombia, but this is insane:

Translation:

Jorge Alfredo Vargas: “In an unprecedented event, a massive number of students in an all girls-school of Manizales received a couple of lesbian students in protest because they gained, through a lawsuit, the legal right to return to the institution.”

Maria Lucia Fernandez: “The two girls, to whom a spot in the school had been denied, returned to the school today to matriculate only to be received with jeers and posters. Various students affirmed that the protests were not directed against the two young women, and were rather made to defend the dignity of their school. ”

Voice Off: “The two minors were sad and disconcerted when they returned to enact the right awarded to them by the courts in a school that had, according to them, denied them a spot when they openly disclosed their condition as homosexual.” 

Crowd: “We don’t want them! We don’t want them!”

V.O.: “The yells against them, repeating ‘we don’t want them,’ immediately drew tears from Maria Elena Castrillon, the defense lawyer representing the 16 and 17 year-old young women.”

M.E.Castrillon: “I find this unbelieavable. This kind of situation is unacceptable.”

V.O.: “According to one of the organizing students, howeve, the manifestation was made in an effort to defend their school’s dignity and their own dignity, not to attack the two young women.”

Student: “They’re labeling us as the school of lesbians and that’s just not the case.”

V.O.: “The girls also chanted the principal’s name, [Magola], whom they support.”

Student: “We want to clarify that we are supporting her because to us she’s a very good principal.”

V.O.: “In the afternoon the young women returned to the school and found about 400 students gathered with signs supporting the school administration, though they remained silent. The father of one the two young women who filed the suit rejected the gestures.”

Father: “This is not permissible. They have rights and no place in this nation should fail to recognze their identity.”

V.O.: “The principal, Magola Franco, finally conceded to the judge’s ruling and matriculated the students, though not without reservations.”

Magola Franco: “I felt that my authority and autonomy were violated, logically, when the lawyer Maria Elena Castrillon Valencia questions my authority for one spontaneous and occasional event occuring today with regards to the students of the Leonardo DaVinci School.”

V.O.: “The two young women immediately  began the leveling(?) process guided by representatives from the Department of Education, in order to begin 10th grade next Friday in the afternoon shift.”

Jorge Alfredo Vargas: “As a result of this controversial subject, we have contacted Marcela Sanchez, director of Colombia Diversa, one of the organizations that fights for the rights of gay and lesbian couples. Marcela, good evening, how do you find the events occured today in the city of Manizales/”

Marcela Sanches: “It’s inconcievable that some students be subjected to such public abuse for the mere attempt to defend their rights to dignity and education.”

Maria Lucia Fernandez: “Alright, Marcela, continuing with the conversation, were any of these young women’s rights violated?”

M.S.: “Without a doubt. I think it is the responsibility of school authorities to stop social intolerance, to stop homophobia, and to stop these manifestations of rejection. I believe what we can conclude from this is that the insitutional and educational project of peace conciliation in the Leonardo DaVinci school has failed. And this is now an issue extending beyond the legal scope; it is now a social issue which requires public reflection, not only from the educational authorities, but also the Manizales Municipal authorities.”