LGTBIQ+ groups in Panama have raised their flag to mark the beginning of Pride Month. Despite obstacles, these groups are fighting for their rights in Panama, a country with a history of lagging behind with regards to the rights of the diverse population. Activists have already denounced the country’s decision to deny the legalization of equal marriage this year.
Franklyn Robinson, president of Panama Pride, has emphasized the need for lawyers to understand legal foundations and the legal vacuum for the diverse population in Panama. He notes that there are families with same-sex parents who need protection and Panamanian spouses who have married in another part of the world and need to protect all their assets.
A small group of people gathered at the LGTBIQ+ flag raising in the Plaza Catedral in Panama City to launch the various activities that have been planned for this year’s Pride Month. The Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York, which marked the beginning of the movement for the freedom of sexual orientations and gender identities, are commemorated this month.
The event was attended by embassies of various countries including Germany, Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, the United States, Great Britain, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Ministry of Culture of Panama, the country’s Tourism Authority, and indigenous transgender groups. Under the slogan of “United we are stronger,” they demand public policies from the Panamanian State that guarantee their civil rights, universal access to education, health and employment services without any kind of stigma or discrimination.
This year, the standard bearers are the spouses Álvaro Levy and Ken Gilberg, who were married in the United States in 2014 and have become one of the main faces of the fight for equal marriage in Panama. Their case is in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) which is expected to provide its ruling soon.
The ambassador of Panama Pride 2023, the drag queen Ken Di’Doll, expressed excitement at being the spokesperson for these minorities. Activists have repeatedly called out the discriminatory laws still present in Panama against the LGTBIQ+ community.