SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (ViaNews) – In what concerns the public manifestations of gay rights and sexual preferences a lot has changed in many countries and the Dominican Republic is no exception.

Gays and lesbians have been around forever, it’s the attitudes toward them that have changed. In the past, gay men and women were subject to ridicule and even physical aggression and some were prone to contract fake marriages in order to keep their public image intact. Some even had children, while keeping their “real” private lives hidden, “living in the closet”, as they say. Lesbian women easily got away with keeping their lives occult living with intimate friends or with “cousins”.

The different way gays and lesbians are seen today makes it easier to “leave the closet” and talking about the topic or seeing public displays of affection are now common and done openly.

Recently, El Día, a Dominican Republic newspaper, published an article revealing that the openly gay United States Ambassador James Brewster and his partner, Mr Bob Satawake, had greeted the Dominican Nation before leaving the country and expressed their good wishes “on the last Christmas season they would spend here”.

Besides the Christmas tree, the couple, together with their dogs Clinton and Carter, expressed their wishes that Dominicans enjoy a happy holiday season, saying that they had “three incredible years here in the United States Embassy, with the marvelous employees with which we had the opportunity of sharing those days.”

“But our most important message is that the Dominican people enjoy a merry, secure, and prosperous Christmas together with their families.”
Needless to say, this would have been impossible some years ago and has given the gay community an added boost in their new-found level of public expression.

Gay Parade

According to the Dominican newspaper Diario Libre, this Sunday [July 1] the LGBT community carried out its eleventh National Pride Parade in Santo Domingo, cruising a large part of Greater Santo Domingo.

The march set out at approximately three o´clock from Francisco Alberto Caamaño Deñó Avenue (Port Avenue) and went down George Washington Avenue. It went down Duarte Avenue to come back where it started.

According to Diario Digital, a Dominican Republic newspaper, the international Gay Pride Day finds the Dominican LGBTI community involved in public policies that promote inclusion, respect and non-discrimination for the members of the LGBTI community.

According to the same publication, the Friends always Friends Network (REVASA), Friends always Friends (ASA), the trans community, the Dominican travesties Sex Workers (Cotraved) and the LGBT Coalition of the Dominican Republic stated to the same publication that this year’s LGTBI Pride Parade priority is to demand from the Government a responsible attitude against the exclusion in which thousands of persons belonging to this sector live and the approval of legislation that will guarantee non-discrimination and the protection of “trans” persons.
Diario Digital report added that the ”Dominican State has a historical debt with the LGBT movement. Governments have not held favorable attitudes leading to guaranteeing our rights, stated Deivis Ventura, Director of REVASA.
Additionally, we demand the approval of a Gender Identity Law, which will facilitate the obtaining of identification documents in accordance with the physical appearance of transsexual and transgender persons, as other Latin American countries have done.”

The Organization of American States

The Diario Digital newspaper reports: “Regarding the forty-sixth Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) to be held in the Dominican Republic, the LGBT Coalition has called for a declaration of a state of emergency in the Dominican regarding the dire situation of human rights and quality of life of LGTBI persona.”

Pope’s opinion

A CNN report asks: “What does Pope Francisco really think about homosexuality?
This question has been asked lately due to apparently contradictory newspaper reports referring to Pope Francisco´s opinions on the matter: “At the beginning of the month, Juan Carlos Cruz, survivor of Chilean priest sexual abuse, was invited to the Vatican. He said that Pope Francisco and he spoke about more things than the scandals that have shaken the church in the South American country.

He said that they also discussed Cruz’ sexuality, who is gay.
According to Cruz, the Pope said:” It doesn´t matter, God made you like that and He loves as you are.”

The Vatican did not confirm or deny Francisco´s words, pointing out that “we do not normally comment the words said during the Pope´s private conversations.”

Last week some very different comments, also attributed to the Pope, were made known.

The Italian magazine “Vatican Insider” and other Italian news media made known that Francisco spoke about homosexual men during the seminar of the Italian Episcopal Conference in a closed-door session.

According to a bishop who was present, the Pope said: “When in doubt, it’s better to not let them enter.” Which means that if someone is gay, they should not be allowed to study for the priesthood.

This connects Francisco with his predecessor Benedict XVI, who published a document in 2005 stating that “men with profound homosexual tendencies, should not be allowed to study for the priesthood.”

Is it OK to be Gay?

Francisco´s statements may give some inkling as to what he really thinks.
Stating it clearly, it seems that for Francisco being homosexual and the church´s teachings are not mutually exclusive.

Francisco has stated publicly, and shown in his meetings with homosexuals and transgender personas, an open approach with what they are and how they live.”