1991 / First gay and lesbian conference in Coronel: “Breaking the Silence”

In November 1991, a national conference called “Breaking the Silence” brought, for the first time, gays, lesbians, and travestis from all over the country together at an Adventist church in Coronel, Chile. Organized by Centro de Educación y Prevención en Salud Social (CEPSS), an AIDS education advocacy group led by Christian Rodríguez, the conference featured participant groups, the majority of whose members were gay or lesbian, including the Colectivo LEA (Collective LEA, Lesbians in Action) and the Taller SER (The BEING Workshop)  from Concepción, the MOVILH group (Movement for Homosexual Liberation) and the Yeguas del Apocalipsis from Santiago, and La Faraona, a travesti from Chillán. According to a crónica that Pedro Lemebel published in the magazine Página Abierta in November of 1991, the only known documentation of what occurred at the event, close to one hundred people participated, and the topics of discussion ranged from the intimate (sexual, emotional) to the public (legislative, juridical): sex commerce, paternity and maternity, sexual-affective relations, HIV/AIDS, a revindication of the “history of homosexual chile” and proposed modifications to articles in discriminatory laws, such as number 365, which penalized sodomy. The politician Carlos Sanhueza, part of the Partido Radical, made an appearance, and there were also cultural demonstrations, an exhibition of photographs of the Yeguas del Apocalipsis, a show by Faraona, and a theater performance by members of Taller SER. Among the conclusions of the conference was the recognition that exclusively homosexual organizations recreate patriarchical forms of doing politics, and reaffirmed the need for these organizations to establish alliances with “minority sectors” like indigenous and womens groups. A national conference for the following year was also proposed.