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Movie screening examines violence and LGBTQs [28 May, 2008]

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The Center on Halsted’s Anti-Violence Project and the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs recently hosted a roundtable and regional training sessions.  These included a public screening of the documentary, Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World, May 22.  It was one of three events at the Center that week that examined violence and the LGBTQ community.

The film centers around the Cairo 52 case of 2001, where a number of men were arrested after a trip on an Egyptian floating houseboat.  Dangerous Livingargues that the case created a global gay consciousness about “a planetary minority.” It includes interviews with queer activists in countries as disparate as Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Honduras.

Dulcia Molina is one of those activists; in 2002, she fled Honduras after her work as an out lesbian and an advocate for child prostitutes put her in danger.  She was present to lead a discussion afterwards.

In response to a question about the film’s erasure of different political and economic situations, Molina said that the film did not provide those contexts.  She added that “coming to America is not [necessarily] a solution” because asylum does not address the economic issues of asylees, and most people would prefer to stay in their countries.  Molina also addressed gender: lesbians face greater harm than gay men because of their economic and cultural vulnerability.

Sean Casey of the Heartland Alliance said that there are LGBTQ communities and groups in the global south which lack basic resources.  He gave an example of the murdered body of an El Salvadorean transgender person found in Guatemala: a local LGBTQ group struggled for funds to fly the body back.  Wilson Montaya, of the Long Island GLBT Community Center, spoke about understanding the violence faced “by our brothers and sisters.” Sam Aguilera, of the group Get the Word Out, spoke about working with transgender sex workers on the Mexican-American border, who’re often beaten by Juarez police, and asked, “How can we support them further?”  In response, Molina spoke about “organizing sex workers to defend their labor rights.”

Originally published in Windy City Times, 28 May, 2008

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