Sunday 28J marks the 51st anniversary of the rebellion at Stonewall, a New York LGBTI bar whose community confronted and defeated police violence. A look at the present to fight for our demands with an anti-capitalist and socialist horizon.
By Pablo Vasco
To speak of Stonewall is to vindicate Marsha Johnson, the Black transgender activist who led that revolt, along with others, in 1969 that gave rise to the Pride Marches. Over half a century later, the world´s LGBTI movement to a large extent today looks to the United States, where the popular rebellion combines deep anti-racist, gender, economic and even political demands that question the capitalist-imperialist system.
If the US health system is already bad, Trump makes it worse for trans people. As health legilation prohibits “discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability,” in 2016 it was regulated that sex included gender, so as not to discriminate against anyone based on their identity. Well, in the midst of the pandemic, Trump, which has already caused enormous health damage, proposed to repeal that regulation.
In the same week, there were two transvesticides, raising the number of trans people killed this year to 14. In the heat of the Black, youth and massive rebellion, the LGBTI community took to the streets. On Monday the 14th, more than 20,000 people marched in Brooklyn and several thousand more across the country under the slogan Black Trans Lives Matter.
The day after the mobilization, on Tuesday the 15th, the Supreme Court ruled that non-discrimination by sex in federal labor legislation for dismissal cases includes grounds for gender. Not only is the ruling a triumph that several US organizations consider historic, as it was issued by a conservative Court, but it also implies a blow to Trump´s project of attacking trans health. Once again, we confirm that struggle is the only way to defend and conquer our rights.
In Argentina, from words to action…
When he took office seven months ago, Alberto Fernández promised to “embrace all who are discriminated.” His son displayed a rainbow handkerchief in his pocket and at the festival in Plaza de Mayo, where LGBTI band Sudor Marika played. Then he created the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity. Logically, this generated expectations. However, thus far there are many words but the solutions are missing:
Knowing that the pandemic and quarantine affect women more and dissident sexes and genders, the new ministry has no participation in the national crisis committee. And its “national advisory council” on diversity has more than 30 members but not a single person from the LGBTI community.
As for financial support for trans people, a very insufficient subsidy of $ 8,500 per month was arranged only at the initiative and pressure of social organizations such as the ATTTA (Argentine Transvestite, Transexual and Transgender Association) and the FALGBT (LGBT Federation of Argentina). Less than 4,000 were granted, when the trans population is estimated at 40,000, and there were practices of political favoritism of Peronist groups. The trans labor inclusion bill and the comprehensive trans bill that the FALGBT have presented are still pending (1).
Knowing that a large part of transvestites and trans exercise prostitution to subsist, the Social Development Ministry excluded sex workers from the register of the popular economy (Renatep), in a discriminatory abolitionist position, a policy that the Ministry of Women agrees with.
Transvesticides continue, with a total of 36 so far this year. Regarding gender violence in general, Minister Gómez Alcorta limited herself to “strengthening” the 144 line, whose workers are still precarious, without increasing the budget enough to open safe houses, guarantee free legal and psychological assistance and reintegration subsidies and housing for victims of sexist violence.
Regarding the right to abortion, neither the bill of the National Campaign – which we support – is debated in Congress, nor did AF fulfill his promise to present his own project. Lesbians, bisexuals, non-binaries, and trans males also abort.
In health care, instead of promoting the public production of antiretrovirals, deficits in the delivery of these drugs continue, the new HIV law is halted and in some provinces they limit the viral load tests. There is also a lack of hormones for gender change treatments and care centers such as in La Matanza, Olavarría and others have been closed.
In education, the scandal of the FASTA network of Catholic schools (2) confirms that retrograde religious interference persists, sustained with large state subsidies, which come out of the people´s pockets. ESI (Comprehensive Sex Education) is not yet applied throughout the educational system and the reform to update its contents and give them a gender and diversity perspective was halted in Congress.
Another important democratic task that is pending is the separation of Church and State. That debt will surely not be paid by the current government, as indicated by the president and his political front´s good harmony with and praise of the Pope.
The unjust sentences against Higui for defending herself against a “corrective” rape and against Marian Gómez for kissing her wife in public show the patriarchal mark of the Judiciary.
Police violence against our community continues, which in turn fuels behaviors of social violence. The latest case was that of the young man from Santa Cruz, Javier Astorga, who was insulted by the provincial police, brutally beaten and had his jaw broken for being gay.
We strive for all our rights
Of course, it´s not all bad news: the trans labor quota was approved in Catamarca last week, an area of diversity was created in Pico Truncado and there have been other advances. However, just as we conquered the laws of equal marriage and gender identity years ago, and as the rebellion in the United States reaffirms, the progress that is achieved is the result of our struggles. From the capitalist system, its institutions and governments, beyond their minor differences, we cannot expect more than austerity measures and curtailing of rights.
This is not a sectarian whim. Patriarchal oppression is already part of the system because the capitalist class benefits from unpaid domestic work and the greater precariousness of women and the LGBTI community. On top of that, the current global capitalist crisis, which the pandemic worsens, leads to the reduction of social and democratic rights throughout the world. They want to make working people, including our community, which is always more disadvantaged, pay the cost of the crisis. And to impose austerity, there will be more authoritarianism.
If something is utopian, it is to bet on “a capitalism in which we all win,” as Alberto Fernández proposes. It does not and will not exist. The only realistic way out is to confront capitalism and replace it with a fair and egalitarian system, free from all class exploitation and gender oppression: socialism.
Debates arise among activists, such as whether to get involved in organized politics or not, and how. Though we will delve into this in the 28J discussion, here are some central points. First, if our community and the people in general do not do politics, the enemy classes do it. Second, this activism requires recognizing and valuing the different identities in struggle, but not to divide them and even oppose them to each other like “identity politics” do: that is sterile and in fact beneficial to the established order. Third, what is needed is to unite the different struggles and to do so around the only social class capable of defeating capitalism and making way for socialism with democracy, the working class, with a revolutionary and internationalist party at the front to vie for government and power, which in turn is the only way to turn everything around.
51 years after Stonewall, with more LGBTI and anti-system pride than ever, we invite you to join this exciting challenge.
1. On 6/23 the debate began in the Women’s Commission of Deputies.
2. It has 23 schools (18 subsidized), 3 teacher training institutes and a university. In 2018, it received $ 445 million from the State.