In a scene reminiscent of police attacks during Turkey’s 2015 Pride parade, this last Saturday, Peruvian police sprayed water and kerosene at LGBT activists holding an annual Valentine’s Day-themed “Kisses against homophobia” protest in Lima’s Plaza de Armas. In response, one lesbian courageously flicked off police while continuing to kiss her lover — we love her. Seriously — what ganas!
Other protestors made chains of interlocking arms as they resisted policemen wielding helmets, batons and riot shields while a police vehicle’s water cannon drenched the protestors.
The Washington Blade reports that Chola Contravisual (a “feminist audiovisual collective”) organized the protest and they were joined by Promsex (a Peruvian LGBT rights group). Approximately 25 protestors assembled for the kiss-in which is astounding: police assembled riot squads and armored water cannons for just 25 young people?!!
More from the Blade:
George Liendo of Promsex told the Blade that authorities have banned protests of “any kind” in the square. He said that religious processions, cultural events and other demonstrations routinely take place without incident… Police in 2011 clashed with LGBT rights advocates who staged a similar protest in the square.
Peru isn’t exactly an LGBT haven. Same-sex relationships between police and military members remained grounds for termination until 2009 — no wonder the cops are so queerphobic — and during Lima’s first Pride parade in 2002, many attendees reportedly wore masks to avoid recognition.
The country does not have legal same-sex marriage — a 2013 poll showed only 26 percent of the population supports same-sex marriage. Nor does the country offer adoption or surrogacy rights for aspiring lesbian, bisexual and gay parents. It does however have laws guaranteeing LGBT people access to public accommodations and protection from employment discrimination.
Nevertheless, the country offers no LGBT hate crimes protections and reports list the number of annual anti-LGBT assaults somewhere between 10 to 20 with torture happening at the hands of police who reportedly expend little energy investigating queerphobic violence.
All that makes the young lesbian’s defiant actions in the face of police violence all the more heroic. You can check out more footage from the protest below and amazing photos from the Peruvian LGBT site Sin Etiquetas.