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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How the Chilean Miners are Promoting a Homophobic Campaign from Chile's Government

By Michael A. Jones -

Darn those good intentions, always paving the road to hell. Case in point, a campaign from the Chilean government to address violence against women. On its surface, it sounds pretty noble. After all, it's in everyone's best interests to condemn, address and eliminate gender-based violence.
But Chile's campaign sadly takes a turn for the homophobic. And it all has to do with the tagline for the campaign. Are you ready? Here's the English version:
"Faggot is a man who beats a woman."
And you know those 33 Chilean miners who captured the hearts of everyone around the world, and are now touring countries receiving awards and plaudits for their bravery? They're all wearing T-shirts that say "Faggot is a man who beats a woman," courtesy of Chile's Minister of the National Women's Service, Carol Schmidt Zaldivar. That's quite the message for the global community to feast their eyes upon.
The Minister, for her part, said that she's thrilled to have the backing of the miners, and hopes that the campaign can truly make a dent in preventing gender-based violence. "[This campaign is] an example of unity and consensus that we as a country want to eradicate domestic violence in Chilean homes," she said.
But by calling men who perpetrate acts of violence against women "Faggots," isn't this campaign just replacing one act of violence with another? Sure seems so, and that's the message coming from a number of LGBT groups in the country who are urging the Chilean government to drop the campaign.
The group Soy Hombre Soy Mujer released a press release late last week, saying that this campaign is only going to increase homophobia and anti-gay sentiment in Chile, where statistics show a nearly 600% increase in recent years of violence toward the LGBT community.
"In Chile, homophobia continues to be the result of ignorance and this national campaign serves to worsen the lack of information, discrimination and violence against LGBTs," Soy Hombre Soy Mujer said. The group went on to note that the Spanish word being used in the campaign, “maricón,” has been used widely to discriminate against LGBT people throughout Latin America.
In perhaps the most ironic twist to this story, the word “maricón” refers to how reprehensible it is for men to act like women, which is why many say the English equivalent of the word is "faggot."
So let's get this straight (pun intended). We have a campaign that hopes to root out violence against women, and to do so they label men who perpetrate violence against women "faggots," or men who act too much like women.
Sheesh, this campaign's not only homophobic, but it also seems a bit sexist, too.
Soy Hombre Soy Mujer is urging the Minister of National Women's Service to drop this campaign, and instead retool their message to combat gender-based violence without resorting to homophobia. Join their call here, and help turn these misguided good intentions into a truly worthwhile campaign to eradicate violence against women.


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