Sandra Moran, the first openly gay member of Congress in Guatemala, has led, since her election in February, an informal forum of female lawmakers—24 women out of 158 lawmakers, making her the target of homophobic and sexist attacks.
On Sunday, Moran filed a complaint against a person who sent the Congress' president a letter asking him to remove her from the leadership of the group of female legislators, arguing “she is not woman enough for being a lesbian” and referring to a biologist's book from 1948 about homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Moran told Nomada, in an interview released Monday, that the attack was “disgusting and stupid,” expressing concern about potential violence against her, as a result of her progressive position on social issues.
“They want to stop me in a bid to avoid discussion on other topics,” including abortion and homosexuality. “We have to discuss it (these topics) in a public arena.”
In the past eight months, Moran has had various important bills approved, including one recognizing the rights of people living with disabilities, and is currently pushing for a bill on same-sex civil unions.
She also recently introduced a bill meant to provide reparations to girl victims of rape and decriminalize abortion, sparking the anger of conservative sectors in the country.
According to Moran, the legislation is justified because the state has not been able to prevent sexual violence against girls, “especially at home, at school or at church, where they are supposed to be safe.” In Guatemala, she said, thousands of girls under 12 years old are pregnant.
“Society and the state are compelling them into forced motherhood,” by prohibiting the interruption of pregnancy when they are the result of rape, she affirmed.
She also said that although “the issue of sexual violence is much larger than girls and teenagers, also affecting women,” addressing the issue of abortion in general would have been “much more difficult.”
The measure will also likely reform the legislation about adoption, as Moran pointed out that a baby born as the result of a rape by a relative should not remain within the family.
Moran warned that financing social programs to provide support to the girls could be a “challenge,” because “the state does not have the resources and nobody is willing to pay taxes.”
Moreover, Guatemala is one of the most socially conservative countries in Latin America, with a well-articulated right-wing catholic movement, she added.
For instance, the progressive lawmaker said, this sector managed to reaffirm in a regional agreement about the legalization of drugs that Guatemala was not in favor of gay rights or abortion.
“I am motivated by ethics, not by double standards. Many of those opposing LGBTI rights travel to Miami, where they can be who they are. Many pregnant girls were raped by their fathers or church leaders. Being a father or church leader does not mean you have ethics ... Violence against girls is not ethical,” she concluded.