Homosexuality was considered a crime in Colombia until 1980. That was the year when the new Penal Code was approved, which, after many decades of advocacy by gay rights movements, decriminalized same-sex sexual relations. Prior to that, this way of understanding and expressing affection and sexuality could be punished with up to 6 years in prison.
Bogotá March of 1982
The first authorized event was the march organized by the collective in the capital in 1982. Since that year, the LGBTQ+ rights demonstration in Bogotá has been held continuously year after year. Participants who took part in that first edition recall it as a groundbreaking and surprising event that has gained more participants and acceptance among the people of Bogotá, leading to large mobilizations in the 21st century.
Later, other major cities joined in, such as Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla, as well as smaller towns like Pitalito (Huila) or El Carmen de Bolivar (Bolívar). For this year, nearly 60 marches have been scheduled in support of rights that, although protected by law for years, still need to make progress at the social level.
The current struggle is for normalization
Although there are many diverse intentions that drive participants, sources from the march organizers affirm that for this year, what is being demanded is the normalization of the presence of this community in society. What is being called for is the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in public life.
“We celebrate the pride that in Bogotá, everyone can be themselves,” stated Claudia López, the mayor of the capital, during an event in the southern part of the city on the 15th, as a prelude to tomorrow’s day. In Bogotá, the events have diversified. In addition to the traditional march through the streets, activities including film screenings, literature, cultural performances, and panel discussions have been scheduled.
Support for the Comprehensive Trans Law
Another objective of this year’s marches is to support the Comprehensive Trans Law, which is currently in the project phase. Following the path of the controversial law passed in Spain, the proponents aim to ensure gender self-determination in Colombia starting at the age of 16, social inclusion of transgender individuals, and equality of rights.
Dates and routes of the marches
The main marches in Colombia for 2023 have been scheduled for Sunday, July 2:
Bogotá: This year will see a change in the route, which has sparked some controversy as it did not please certain sectors that were expecting to repeat the traditional route through Chapinero, Carrera 7, and into the city center. For this edition, the start is planned for 12 noon, departing from the City Council on Calle 26, following Carrera 60 to Parque Simón Bolívar.
Medellín: The march will begin at 10 am on Avenida Las Vegas, near the INEM, and will go to Parque de Las Luces.
Cali: The start will be at 2 pm on Avenida 4 Norte, between Calles 10 and 13. The march will proceed through Parque de la Música, along Avenida 6 Norte, and end at Parque Músuca.
Barranquilla: The gathering is at 10 am at Parque Luis Carlos Galán, with a route that will culminate at Parque de la Paz.
Bucaramanga: In the capital of Santander, the event will take place on Wednesday.