Thirty years after our first march, now more than ever, it's vital to revisit the past and recognize how our march was formed. In 1990, men and women took a step forward and marched down the Ashford Avenue before the eyes of hundreds of people. They were the catalyst that started it all.
Last year, we celebrated fifth years of Stonewall, a stepping stone where ongoing struggles and battles were made visible for the first time. We celebrated with pride the elimination of homosexuality as a psychopathologic descriptor in 1973, to then face an even greater battle.
In 1974, when the 1902 Penal Code of Puerto Rico was revised, the phrase “crime against nature” was ramified in order to over-extend its definition. This ramification of the new code made us criminals for the mere fact of existing. To that, we made front and resisted. We visited court, facing threats, and talked with the press demanding answers. We organized as a collective.
We cried and suffered the HIV epidemic of 1980. From the pain of our losses and the indignation from indifference, the epidemic became our Stonewall. From the diaspora, to the Ashford Avenue, in the 1990, we marched to make memory of those that couldn’t. The battle continued against police, persecution, and regulations made by the Department of Health.
In 2004, we achieved the decriminalization of homosexuality in the new Penal Code. Since then, we fought for other civil rights recognition like, access to places in which we are treated in equity to who we are, stopped discrimination against sexual orientation and sexual identity in the work place, a hard battle that was won in 2013 in the passing of the Law to establish the Public Policy of the Government of Puerto Rico against discrimination based on Sexual Orientation or Sexual Identity on the work place, public or private.
In 2015, after an arduous battle, the Supreme Court of the United Stated recognized our fundamental right to marry. This right was years after thousands of couples faced discrimination and LGBTTIQ phobia, but this didn’t stop there. In 2016, we lived the Pulse tragedy, where our community suffered in the hands of homophobia and intolerance.
Today, we continue to march for the access to better health services, recognition of trans identity, we fight for the prohibition of conversion therapy and to protect of the LGBTTIQ youth from the horrors of these practices that threaten their physical, mental and spiritual integrity. We fight, as a community, to achieved equity for all.
For the past thirty years, we've marched with pride. The history of who we are today would not have been possible without the battles from the past and without those people who said "I'M HERE" in the most troubled times of our history. Ours, yes, in a pillar of moments that have left us with the inheritance to continue building it. This is why COA reaffirms its commitment of continuing organizing not only the march, but all of those activities and efforts that are necessary so that Puerto Rico continues to be a forefront in reference to equality, social justice and human rights for the Caribbean and the World.
Each year, the COA organizes the LGBTTIQ Pride March of Puerto Rico, as an activity to reaffirm our clams and presence as members of the Puerto Rican Society.
This march is the biggest on the island, where all of our colors, communities, friends, families and allies unite for our never-ending fight.
Join us, Sunday 31st of May of 2020 at 10:00am starting from Parque del Indio in Condado to the Parque del Tercer Milenio at Escambrón.
Let’s celebrate the battle, visibility and diversity of our people!