SANTIAGO, May 17 (Openly) – It was meant to be an open-air museum dedicated to Chile’s LGBTQ+ community, but days after the 40-meter (131-foot) mural was completed, vandals defaced its brightly colored panels with dozens of homophobic slurs. Rights campaigners say such attacks reflect an increasingly hostile pushback against slow but steady progress towards LGBTQ+ equality in Chile, where conservative attitudes and the Roman Catholic Church still hold heavy sway. “They’re vandalizing our artistic spaces, where we are finally able to be visible,” said musician Vale Nein, as he walked the length of the defaced mural in downtown Santiago, pausing occasionally to read the vandals’ scrawled insults. “It’s symbolic. They’re killing people, too,” said Nein, a transgender man, who had been giving guided tours of the wall painting before the vandalism forced their cancellation.