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The Enemy Within

Last Saturday, the 25th LGBTTTIQ Pride Parade took place in Buenos Aires, as it has every November for the last quarter of a century.

However, the shows and events that were scheduled in the main stage in Congreso had to be cancelled due to violence from within. A group of activists, dissatisfied with some decisions of the organization, decided that their complaints were more important than Pride itself. By throwing several objects to the stage, including eggs, cans, and a massive glass bottle, they showed us the dark side of our community.

“THIS YEARS’ ROAD TO PRIDE HAD BEEN A ROCKY ONE.”

This years’ road to Pride had been a rocky one. The first edition of the historical LGBTTIQ event under the government of Mauricio Macri, a right winged neo liberal who has been known to say that gay people were sick but now tries to make ridiculous amends for the sake of political correctness, couldn’t be exempt from trouble. There was a general uproar after finding out the organization had favored a pop band with absolutely no strings attaching them to the community instead of one of the hundreds of amazing artists we can boast of. Some of the slogans were seen as not representative, muddling on questionable political arenas. The government had also tried to take over the event, promoting it almost as a tourist destination and highlighting diversity while they neglected to do anything to help the most marginalized sectors of our community.

To top it off, a persistent rain discouraged many from attending and got the ones who decided to brave the inclement weather soaked and moody. The colorful fair in Plaza de Mayo got drenched and the shows in the secondary stage had to be cancelled due to technical risks. However, it was still possible to smile as rainbow umbrellas started sprouting and people danced covered in raindrops. Unexpected meetings, spontaneous embraces, some of the magic was still there. And at the very moment to start marching, the rain came to a halt.

“THERE WAS A DIFFERENT KIND OF ELECTRICITY IN THE AIR, A TENSION SO GREAT IT SEEMED TO DROWN THE CHANTS AND WEAKEN THE HUGS.”

But something was off. The sky a suffocating grey, crisscrossed by the too many orange uniforms of the prevention staff. I had the sinking feeling that they expected riots. There was a different kind of electricity in the air, a tension so great it seemed to drown the chants and weaken the hugs.

It’s been almost a decade since I attended my first Pride and marveled at its glorious diversity. I remember feeling that, for one day a year at least, I was part of something greater. I remember the sorority, the brotherhood, the love. Anyone could be whatever they wanted, however they fancied it. Among the glitter and the elaborate drags, I found solace and shelter. Pride was the day when I wouldn’t stop smiling.

“I TRIED TO GET CLOSER TO IDENTIFY THE AGGRESSORS.”

My smiles faded this year. When I saw the first projectiles being thrown at the stage, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Infiltrates, I assumed. Some of the homophobic scum that still lurks in this city. I was enraged. The people at the stage were gay, lesbian and trans* activists who had spent decades fighting for our rights. Even if there could be disagreements, respect was nonnegotiable. I tried to get closer to identify the aggressors. To my dismay, I didn’t see any bigots trying to destroy our safe haven. It was far worse, far more unfair. I saw trans women and gay men spreading the hate. It was heartbreaking. But to see that nobody did anything to stop them was utterly devastating. Not the prevention dummies in their bright uniforms, not the people around them. Nobody tried to save this ship from sinking.

After a few pleas for respect, the hosts at the stage announced that the rest of the evening would be called off, as the safety of the artists and presenters couldn’t be guaranteed under the circumstances. Most people didn’t even understand what had happened or why they were being sent home at such an early time. There was no Kissing, no dancing, and no singing as we left the square. Hate had won. As if we didn’t have enough with the hatred of homophobes and transphobes, our community has decided to turn against itself, baring its teeth and howling stupidly with who knows what aim. Apparently, we still haven’t learned the most basic truth: Together we stand, divided we fall.

25 years of Pride were shrouded in shame, and this time the hate came from within.

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