There were several government representatives present at the opening ceremony, including: Human Rights Minister, Paulo Vanucchi and from within the same department, the national co-ordinator for LGBTI rights and citizenship, Mitchelle Meira; the director of the National Department of STIs, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis within the Health Ministry, Mariângela Simão, and representatives from the Parliamentary Front for LGBT Citizenship. Also present, were representatives from three UN agencies, UNAIDS, PAHO (Pan-American Health Organisation) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), as well as ILGA co-Secretary General, Gloria Careaga, the vice-president of Interpride (International Association of LGBT Pride Event Organisers), Billy Urich, and Toni Reis and Rafaelly Wiest, from the event organising committee.
Photos: Alexandre Boer
During the ceremony, two federal deputies from the Parliamentary Front for LGBT Citizenship, of the National Congress, had the opportunity to speak to the diverse and “glamourously” dressed audience, while they were waiting to be served the gala dinner. One of them, the deputy José Genoíno (PT, São Paulo), said he was very proud to belong to a government which sponsored the first National LGBT Conference, in 2008, the first of its kind in the world. “I learnt, as an activist of the left, and as a socialist, that the fight of homosexuals, of lesbians, gays, and travestis is as radical as the fight for work and pay. It is an error of the left to split things up, as if economic transformations were not part of the same process, as the cultural transformations from which we seek to construct a society of free men and women. What we want in the National Congress, are universal civil rights”, he said, to applause.
Deputy Dr. Rosinha, (PT, Paraná) was then invited to read the letter sent by President Lula to the conference participants, saying that the fight against intolerance and discrimination and consequently for human respect, included consideration for sexual orientation, and that this, has guided government policy since the start of their first mandate. The letter also mentioned specific government actions, such as policies on combating homophobia, and the third National Human Rights Plan, which among other things, defends civil union between people of the same sex, and proposes the development of programmes which deal with women’s health and well-being in a holistic way, at the same time as recognising specifics, including those related to sexual orientation.