transgender: bolivia advances and brazil struggles

Trans Rights

La Paz, Bolivia

Good news first!

And it comes all the way from Bolivia.

According to AFP (Associated Federal Press), the president of Bolivia has just announced the enactment of a law that lets Bolivians update their data on all documents.

The law itself is a huge step towards equality but the president’s words about it are thrilling.

“Today ends the story of a social proscription . They (transexual and transgender ) are a reality . It is a social hypocrisy to deny their existence”, stated acting President, Álvaro García, at the Government’s Palace.

President Evo Morales didn’t manage to make the announcement himself because he is visiting Cuba on duty at the moment.

Eagerly awaited, the law sets up administrative procedures for changing names, information about gender and photography by transexual and transgender people in all public and private documents.

According to AFP, representatives of the Catholic and Evangelical Churches have questioned the norm, criticizing the way by which it was enacted and requesting a wider debate about its content and extension.

García, however, asked for tolerance by those who oppose the law as “democracy is about recognizing diversity”.

Brazil

Meanwhile, in Brazil, some Evangelical and Catholic niches have reached a new level in the art of acting as stumbling blocks on transgender people’s path. Belonging to religious caucuses, a number of congressmen and congresswomen have made all possible efforts to hinder progress regarding law bills on gender identity.

The latest controversy has just sprung up.

Brazilian gospel singer Ana Paula Valadão has put her foot in it. Belonging to one of the biggest pentecostal Baptist churches in Brazil, Lagoinha Baptist Church, Valadão acts like a lead singer with a band named “Before the Throne.”. Not all coincidentally, she is the senior pastor’s daughter.  Yesterday (Friday, May 20th) she used her Facebook profile to criticize a famous clothes store chain, C&A, for airing an advertisement called “Dia dos Misturados” (Day of the Mixed) in which couples suddenly exchange their clothes. The magic happens as soon as they kiss.

And why has C&A issued such an ad in May rather than in the end of January or in the beginning of February once it’s all about Valentine’s Day?

For a very good reason. In Brazil, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated in February, like in the USA and other countries. Actually, it’s celebrated on 12th June.

Anyway, I’ve seen the ad and simply loved it. Check out the video below.  The screen reads “Mix, dare, try.”

Ms. Valadão does not think it was any fun. Known for controversial and sometimes irrational claims, she has just put up another doomed fight.

a2This is what Ana Paula Valadão (photo above) issued on her Facebook profile yesterday:

Today I’ve decided to manifest my #HolyIndignation as I believe that they are teasing us in order to see to what extent society will passively take in the imposition of gender ideology. I was shocked at the boldness of C&A’s new advertisement. It’s called mix it up, dare you and have fun. It’s about valentines going out and when they kiss, the man’s clothes go onto the woman’s body and the woman’s clothes go onto the man’s. The man goes out in high heels and everything. (…) That’s an absurd! We know the immutable truth of the Word of God and we cannot remain silent. We have to #boycott this store and show our repudiation.

Well, Valadão goes on and on with hashtags of all kinds, but I reckon that’s enough to give you a glimpse of her mentality and belligerency.

Will they ever learn?

Well, last year pastor Silas Malafaia tried the same thing against a Brazilian cosmetics store called O Boticário. Malafaia got absolutely outraged at an ad portraying three different couples: gay, lesbian and straight.

It was enough to drive him mad, but to cut a long story short, the issue took over the social networks and O Boticário sold more than any other company within the Valentine’s period. Remarkably, Brazilian commerce was found to have recorded a 5% decrease in sales in that season due to an economic crisis. But not O Boticário. The company’s Valentine’s campaign accounted for a 3% rise within, placing the brand 8 percentage points above their competitors. All of that despite — or maybe because of — Malafaia’s bad mouth.

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Not only that but before his hysterics against O Boticário, Malafaia had already been caught in a controversy related to Avon’s catalogue in Brazil.

Avon had officially taken a stand against any kind of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender but failed to notice that Malafaia’s books (yes, he has his own publishing house) kept staining their catalogue. Some activists — me included — joined forces so as to draw the company’s attention to such nonsense.

AllOut came in and urged Avon to reconsider such a partnership on the grounds that it violated their own policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender (https://go.allout.org/en/a/avon/).

Malafaia’s books were withdrawn from Avon’s catalogue for the next season.

It’s said that Malafaia had a huge financial damage due to the withdrawal of his homophobic books from Avon’s publications.

Despite the pastor’s dissatisfaction and outrage, the company gained positive visibility as it succeeded in reassuring everyone of its commitment to supporting diversity.

You probably have already figured out what the outcome of Ms. Valadão’s boycott against C&A will be.

Yep, the company is bound to sell even more this year. And hopefully it will and other entrepreneurs will be more and more likely to take a stand in favor of sexual and gender diversity in their marketing strategies. Moreover, companies should grant their LGBT employees with a safe environment in their workplaces. Nothing less would be acceptable.

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