Published on July 4th, 2017 | by Charly Mancilla Monroy


LGBT Pride Brings Rainbow Colors to Bogota, Colombia (PHOTOS)

As a university student studying tourism in Bogota, I’d heard about the city’s gay pride celebration for a long time. And while I’d always wanted to attend the event, until this year I never could because of one reason or another. But this year, I decided that I must be present for the LGBT pride event, as a gay man, as a Colombian, as a university student, as a professional and — above all — as a human being.

I wanted to write this post and share these photos to show that in Bogota, in Colombia and in the world there will always be a place for us, for people who are different, for the LGBT community.

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On July 2, 2017, Bogota hosted its 21st annual LGBT pride parade (organized in part by the Mesa LGBT de Bogotá, an LGBT worker’s organization). For one day, the city of Bogota was graced with the colors of the rainbow, forming one, unified heart where diversity and differences unite us. Equality, tolerance, respect and freedom are words that were part of the cries, songs and demands from the LGBT community. And it was also easy to appreciate that it wasn’t just LGBT people participating, but also fathers, mothers, children, grandparents and friends who aren’t part of the community but who accompanied us and showed their support for the cause; their voices mingled with and transformed with ours to form one message with a common goal: freedom.

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This year’s march had two starting points: The first in the city’s “zona sur” (southern zone), in the Playa Herrera park, and the second was in the “zona norte” (northern zone), from Parque Nacional. Both routes ended at Plaza Bolivar. The march was distributed in four blocks, with a variety of LGBT organizations and allied movements like environmentalists and women’s rights activists, political parties and syndicates and various supportive businesses.

“Estado Laico, Seres Libres” (“Secular State, Free Humanity”) was the theme this year for Colombia’s gay pride march, with participants demanding respect for the separation of church and state in the nation.

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Pride surely seeped into the hearts of all of us who participated in the LGBT pride march as well as spectators — pride in who we are, pride in our bodies, in our orientation and gender, pride in being different and pride in being being diverse. Before I got to the starting point, I thought that the only people who’d participate would be members of the LGBT community. But upon arriving at the Parque Nacional, I was amazed to see a large number of people, including mothers, fathers, uncles and aunts, grandparents, children supporting their family members. I realized that this march isn’t just for the LGBT community; this is a march for everyone who feels proud of who we are, what we do, and who feels proud of our families and proud of our diversity.

During this LGBT pride march, I admired the beauty and bravery of several transgender people, who showed themselves and their bodies as a way of demanding equal rights. I decided to march in underwear not only in admiration of those people, but also to break the norms of beauty; I wanted to show that whether fat, skinny, tall, short, black or white, we are all beautiful. The human body is the greatest work of art and it doesn’t matter if you have scars or stretch marks; it’s time to feel pride in who we are and in our bodies.

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When we arrived at the finishing point, a large stage was the venue for a series of musical artists and dancers who entertained the crowds. There couldn’t have been a better closing to the event. The happiness overpowered me as I witnessed so many smiling faces, such security and bravery. It makes you ask: “Why do people discriminate against us if we are the true diversity of Latin America?”

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About the Author

A native of Bogota, Colombia, Charly is a university student focusing on tourism and is passionate about travel around his beautiful South American nation.

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