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ILGA team in Geneva
Gloria Careaga-Perez
Latin America and Caribbean
Gloria Careaga-Perez is a feminist and social psychologist. Since 1979 she has been a teacher at the Faculty of Psychology in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a Co-coordinator of El Closet de Sor Juana. In the last years she has focused her work on gender issues. She introduced a sexual diversity studies area at the university in 1998.

El Closet de Sor Juana is one of the older lesbian groups in Mexico. It began working on human rights for women with different sexual orientations since 1992. It offers a safe space for meetings and networking, providing support, information and other services, such as reading materials, video and research materials for students and professionals interested in understanding sexual diversity issues. The main aim of the organization is the empowerment of women with an understanding of themselves and the roles they play within society. The organization is defined as part of the feminist and gay movements and has established links with many human rights organizations.

In Mexico, sexual orientation is not criminalized. Since 2002 the Constitution has included an item against all forms of discrimination that includes sexual preferences in relation to sexual orientations. The government is now working hard with NGOs on the definition of a legal framework for the implementation of this principle in specific laws. Even when there is no legal justification for the persecution or sanction of sexual practices, homophobic beliefs and practices are part of Mexico’s strong machismo culture, reflected principally in the entertainment media programs and in everyday practices.

However, the LGBT movement has a long history. There have been an annual march since 1979 and a LGBT festival for more than 15 years as the main public and open activities, that have contributed to LGBT visibility and work. LGBT organizations are increasing, and some other cities in the country are now celebrating marchs and some open activities.

In Geneva, I participated in the ILGA panel at the Latin America and Carribean Group meeting and attended a meeting with the Brazilian head delegate.

During the last year El Closet de Sor Juana members have been participating in regional and local meetings for the discussion of the content and strategizing about the Brazilian Resolution. Distributing information and coordinating actions within the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, maintaining e-mail contact with government offices of LAC countries, and personal contact with the Mexican representative were the main actions. During the session I established contact with the Mexican delegations and followed the discussion on the plenary.