The determinants of Honduras’ gender and sexual norms

Fiscalización del género y la sexualidad

Text: Teddy Baca
Graphics: Daniel Fonseca
Translated and Edited by: Jorge Paz Reyes

Shortly before May 17, the international day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, I’m writing this article to reflect on something that has gained momentum in the last few years and doesn’t seem to stop. But to put it in context, I think it is important to mention some background information to better illustrate the situation:

  1. Last year, the mayor of San Pedro Sula, Roberto Contreras, refused to raise the LGBTQI+ flag because, according to him, doing so would have been “proselytizing”, when ironically he supports the reading of Bibles in schools.
  2. The conspiracy of liberal, nationalist, and Salvador Nasralla’s (Honduras Vice-president) deputies -and deputies of the Salvador Party of Honduras- to prohibit in the constitution equal marriage, abortion and currently, to criticize the free access to Plan B, demonstrates a conservative bias quite marked by fundamentalist religion, which should have no place in a secular country since they end up controlling the bodies of women and sexual dissidents.
  3. Fundamentalist churches seeking censorship of sexual diversity in educational spaces through moral panic campaigns against “gender ideology” -which is a conceptual excuse to continue rejecting sexual diversity and its freedom of expression- through marches, alliances with parents’ associations, influence in newspapers such as El Heraldo, La Prensa, La Tribuna, television channels such as Canal 10 in the broadcasts of Abriendo Brecha and even speeches made by ultraconservatives such as Mario FumeroSergio Handal, and Paolo Pellegrino that disregard the scientific consensus on human sexuality.
  4. Ultra-religious influencers like Felipe Faraj who support fraudulent and harmful conversion therapy efforts from a religious approach on their social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and oppose the acceptance of children who do not fit their gender expectations and equal marriage.
  5. Some police officers lending themselves to arbitrary detention or harassment of LGTBIQ+ people for acts such as kissing in the street and walking hand in hand, like any other cissexual couple, is a clear crime according to article 213 of the penal code.
  6. And even some members of the LGTBIQ+ population, such as the recent case of Miguel Leiva who asked for “discretion” from a couple of Honduran men who were getting married, as if we don’t live cisheteronormative exhibitionism daily in-jokes, movies, dances, sports, etc.

All of these are examples of how the system seeks to control and generate coercion so that diversity and women remain silent so we remain morally acceptable to the hegemony.

Honduras is a society where poor women are forced to not procreate, but pregnant girls are forced to give birth and oppose sex education; it’s a society where men are allowed to be promiscuous and aggressive at home, as long as they are heterosexual, but they find irrational hatred and disgust when two men love each other, kiss and want to get married.

It’s a society in which the priest and the pastor want to censor the inherently diverse nature of people, dehumanizing and denying the validity of the LGTBIQ+ experience or the decision of women to go out as they want, work where they want and access the sexual and reproductive rights they need, but accuse of persecution all those who demand a secular state and respectful of international treaties.

It is also a society in which politicians claim to defend life and the family but love to commit infidelity or cover up the infidelity of their “alero” (friend) – and I can say the same about domestic violence – or sometimes be part of the impunity that operates in femicides or hate crimes by justifying them, avoid typifying them as such and do not provide a budget in their investigation.

These cases of double standards that translate into coercive methods that threaten the true freedom and autonomy of people can be interpreted as controllers of sexual and gender norms, that wait for the moment to materialize with laws for the persecution of feminists and sexual diversity with the excuse of protecting minors from the “gender ideology” and other ambiguous lies to repress the difference.

Violence continues to increase and thanks to these actions, impunity will be a constant, because silence is an accomplice, never the solution

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Teddy Baca was born on June 30, 1995. He is a psychologist, writer and virtual community educator. He has been writing since 2018; some of his works are The Male Continuum; Bisexuality and Sexual Fluidity of Honduras, Prisma, The Nature of the Homosexual and his Society and I'll be bi-en by your side, the latter being honorable mention in the 2020 National Youth Narrative Award.

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