IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
No reports of a lesbian and/or gay "pride rally" in Buenos Aires during the period October 1998-March 1999 could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
In early March 1999 there were two demonstrations by gays and transsexuals or transvestites that resulted in violent confrontation with police.
The first demonstration occurred on 4 March 1999 at the entrance of the Buenos Aires Legislature, when approximately 100 transvestites approached it to protest against certain politicians, and were faced by some 200 policemen (La Nacion 5 Mar. 1999). The first scuffles with police occurred around 10:30 a.m. after the demonstrators reached the sidewalk of the legislature and were joined by representatives of the Argentine Homosexual Community (CHA), prostitutes' associations, and citizens opposed to prostitution (ibid.). The conflict increased after a group of pensioners arrived to protest at the legislature and fought with police, with some transvestites stepping in to defend the elderly demonstrators (ibid.). At 12:45 p.m. violence erupted again, after a deputy of the Justicialista Party (PJ) and nearly a dozen of his staff (colaboradores) attempted to fight their way through the demonstrators and police; after attempting an entry to the building through another entrance, the deputy's staff got into another fight with police and journalists (ibid.).
The second demonstration took place before the British Embassy in Buenos Aires during a visit by Prince Charles (Mundogay 8 Apr. 1999; CHA 11 Mar. 1999). Representatives of CHA, the Association for the Struggle for Transvestite Identity, and of the Argentine Transvestite and Transsexual Organization tried to demonstrate and request asylum at the embassy, based on the coming into effect of a new Contraventional Code (Codigo Contravencional) of the City of Buenos Aires and the Police Decrees (Edictos Policiales) in effect throughout the country, which affect among other things prostitution and transvestites (ibid.). The demonstrators were reportedly attacked by police when they attempted to enter the embassy, resulting in at least one injury that required hospitalization (ibid.; Mundogay 8 Apr. 1999).
The only reports on arrests of gays or lesbians during the period in question refer to raids by federal police agents against night clubs in October 1998. Both the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) report that on 2 October 1998 "forty persons were detained without motive" at a pub; the reports add that later "everyone had been released, without ever being formally charged and the bar had been closed down" (IGLHRC Nov. 198; ILGA 4 Nov. 1998). The second raid took place on 22 October 1998 at another pub, where a game of bingo was taking place, with police arresting "70 gays, lesbians and travestis" (ibid.). The only references to journalists in the available coverage of these incidents refers to "film crews" from four channels that arrived when the second raid began and rebroadcast images of those detained, and to a photographer who reportedly hurled insults at those detained in the police station (ibid.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA),
Buenos Aires. 11 March 1999. "Comunicado de Prensa: Violencia
International Gay and Lesbian Human
Rights Commission (IGLHRC), San Francisco. November 1998. "Gay Bars
Get Raided Twice This Month in Buenos Aires." http://www.iglhrc.org/world/southamerica/Argentina1998nov.html
[Accessed 25 July 2000]
La Nación Online [Buenos
Aires]. 5 March 1999. "Un caos que se vivió minuto tras
[Accessed 24 July 2000]
Mundogay [Buenos Aires]. 8
April 1999. "Protesta de Gays y Travestis ante el Príncipe
[Accessed 25 July 2000]
Additional Sources Consulted
Amensty International Report
Attacks on the Press [New
Latinamerica Press [Lima].
Latin American Regional Reports:
Southern Cone Report [London]. Oct. 1998-May 1999.
Internet search engines.