Mariana Sepulveda has been stabbed on the street, detained by police and expelled from her high school — all for being transgender in Paraguay, one of the most sexually conservative countries in Latin America. "I've felt hate for not being heterosexual," said Sepulveda, 32, who now works for an advocacy group. "Raising a family, having a partner, adopting children seems out of reach because there are no legal conditions for us in Paraguay." A lack of legal protections and prevalent macho attitudes have long stoked discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in the poor, mostly Roman Catholic country. Advocacy groups fear the stigma and attacks on the LGBQT community could get worse now that the education minister has banned classes about sexual diversity in schools and even volunteered to help burn all books related to the subject.
The constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, but it was not effectively enforced. Women, LGBT persons, indigenous persons, and persons of African ancestry also faced discrimination. The country has no comprehensive law against discrimination, which undermined enforcement of the constitutional clause against... Expand
The constitution prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, but it was not effectively enforced. Women, LGBT persons, indigenous persons, and persons of African ancestry also faced discrimination. The country has no comprehensive law against discrimination, which undermined enforcement of the constitutional clause against discrimination and the protection and restitution for victims of discrimination and societal abuses.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
No laws explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBT persons in employment, housing, access to education, or health care, and all types of such discrimination, including societal discrimination, occurred frequently. Penalties for sex with a minor between ages 14 and 16 are more severe if the victim and perpetrator are of the same sex. Same-gender perpetrators are subject to up to two years in prison; the maximum penalty for opposite-gender perpetrators is a fine. CODEHUPY reported widespread police harassment and discrimination against LGBT persons.
The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for investigating discrimination cases; however, government agents often condoned such discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Panambi and other LGBT rights NGOs denounced the torture and killings of more than 50 transgender prostitutes between 1989 and 2013. Panambi reported 12 killings from 1989 to 1999 and 38 killings from 1999 to the present, with the most recent occurring in July 2013. There were no cases reported during the year. LGBT NGOs accused the Attorney General’s Office of conducting cursory investigations that produced no tangible results.
On June 28, 200 advocates of LGBT rights in Asuncion marched in an International Day of LGBT Pride parade. There were no reports of harassment during the event. On September 27, 350 LGBT supporters marched in Asuncion in another parade in support of LGBT family rights.
On August 6, SOMOSGAY and the Committee for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS in the armed forces and National Police, an official committee of the military, signed a preliminary cooperation agreement stipulating that the NGO would carry out sexual health workshops, widespread HIV testing, and human rights training for armed forces and national police personnel.
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights Report
Heartland Alliance - Global Initiative for Sexuality and Human Rights, AIREANA, Campaign for an Inter American Convention on Sexual and Reproductive Rights submission to United Nations Human Rights Committee (2013): Human Rights Violations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) People in Paraguay: A Shadow Report [pdf]Contract
Mariana Sepulveda has been stabbed on the street, detained by police and expelled from her high school — all for being transgender in Paraguay, one of the most sexually conservative countries in Latin America. "I've felt hate for not being heterosexual," said Sepulveda, 32, who now works for an advocacy group. "Raising a family, having a partner, adopting children seems out of reach because there are no legal conditions for us in Paraguay."
Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson recently commented on the link between social inclusion and economic development, particularly in the Western Hemisphere. A recent report indicates that while Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina rank high in anti-LGBTI discrimination, countries such as Guatemala, Paraguay and Honduras are at the bottom of the index. However, anti-LGBT violence remains pervasive throughout the entire region.
LGBTI Activist Believes Catholic Church “Has Put Itself on Our Side” after Meeting with Pope Francis
Simón Cazal, the first LGBTI activist to be invited to a public meeting with Pope Francis, left the encounter Saturday afternoon in Paraguay feeling that the pope had issued a strong call for the country’s church to be more inclusive.
Simón Cazal, director of LGBT advocacy organization SomosGay, is set to make history when he meets with Pope Francis on Saturday in Paraguay. Cazal believes the meeting will be the first step in bringing equal rights to the LGBT community.
Latin America is slowly following the global trend in favor of LGBTI rights. Three of Latin America's most populous countries - Brazil, Argentina, and parts of Mexico - now allow for same-sex marriage.
The meeting will be held during a visit to Paraguay — and the meeting was the Catholic Church’s idea.
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