The march was led by monsignor Victor Masalles, and was held on Sunday. It started from Colegio Calasanz to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the OAS (Organization of American States) held its general meeting. The protesters spoke out against abortion and gay marriage, accusing the OAS of perpetuating an LGBTQ agenda in the DR, according to Acento.
In hindsight, the march wasn’t a response to the massive shooting that took the lives of 49 people in the gay Orlando nightclub, Pulse on Sunday, but there’s no denying it came at a very trying time for the community. Amid the heartache and turmoil, this is yet another reminder of the discrimination and homophobia that amasses in Latino America, and beyond.
Reportedly this wasn’t the first instance of intolerance for the LGBT community in the island. Just a few hours before the march kicked off, a team of LGBT+ activist met with the OAS secretary in DR at a hotel, where transgender women were not permitted to use the vicinity’s bathrooms.
Wilson Castañeda, the director of Caribe Afirmativo, an organization dedicated to LGBT rights in Latino America, stated this is the first time an incident like this has ever happened in regards to bathroom usage, according to El Espectador. “I have attended this assembly for six years and this is the first time that I’ve seen this,” he said. “Trans women have always been able to use women’s bathrooms at these meetings.”
As a product of these two discriminatory acts, the Dominican LGBT community is outraged. Activist Deivis Ventura stated that about 500 LGBTQ people have been killed all over the Americas in 2016 so far, reports Al Momento.
James Walter Brewster Jr., the U.S. ambassador to the DR took to Facebook to express his sentiments against all the anti-LGBT protest happening in the island—especially with the recent attacks in Orlando.
Brewster Jr., who is openly gay, received a lot of religious backlash when he was appointed as U.S. ambassador of the island.
“Where is their humanity???” he wrote. “Front page in the Dominican Republic today! Leaders of the Catholic and Evangelical Church marched against LGBT rights only hours after the mass tragedy in Orlando. Still stunned and horrified that this event was not cancelled as the rest of the world was showing an outpouring of love and support for the victims and their families.”
During these trying times we must always try to spread love and acceptance. Watch a full news broadcast of the march below.