Lesbian Visibility Day in Paraguay Date in the current year: September 16, 2024

Lesbian Visibility Day in Paraguay Lesbian Visibility Day (Día de la Visibilidad Lésbica) is observed in Paraguay on September 16 every year. It honors a group of lesbian inmates led by Feliciana “Chana” Coronel, who demanded the same right to meetings with their partners as straight inmates.

Feliciana “Chana” Coronel was born on January 21, 1964 and grew up in the Ricardo Brugada neighborhood of Asunción, commonly known as La Chacarita. It is a squatter area that is widely regarded as one of the poorest neighborhoods in all of Paraguay. In 1991, Coronel was sentenced to 13 years in prison for possession of 1.5 kg of cocaine and confined to the Buen Pastor prison.

Two years into Coronel’s sentence, the prison was visited by a delegation from the Supreme Court of Justice. Coronel took this chance to lead a protest where a group of lesbian inmates demanded the right to face-to-face meetings with their partners. The protest was their last resort because all their previous requests had been denied by the prison administration.

The protest was covered by a local newspaper that printed a photo of Coronel and her fellow protesters, captioning it “Lesbians on the warpath” (Lesbianas en pie de guerra). It was the first use of the term “lesbian” in Paraguayan media. Even though the protest ended in failure, it became history as the first time when Paraguayan lesbians openly fought for their rights.

In 2020, members of the Paraguayan LGBTQ+ community designated September 16 as Lesbian Visibility Day to commemorate the 1993 protest and honor the memory of Coronel, who died at age 33 after being stabbed in prison.

Paraguay is one of the few countries in South America that remain conservative regarding LGBT rights. Although same-sex sexual activity is legal and LGB people are allowed to serve openly in the military, anti-discrimination legislation is practically non-existent, same-sex couples cannot marry, enter a civil partnership or adopt, transgender people cannot change their legal name and gender, female couples have no access to IVF and male couples have no access to surrogacy, men who have sex with men aren’t allowed to donate blood, and discussions of LGBT issues are banned in public schools. Due to this, the Paraguayan queer community does its best to promote LGBTQ+ rights and bring about positive change.

Paraguay is not the only country in Latin America where the LGBTQ+ community observes a Lesbian Visibility Day. Other countries that have similar awareness days include:

  • Argentina: March 7 in honor of Natalia “La Pepa” Gaitán, a lesbian woman murdered by her girlfriend’s homophobic stepfather in 2010.
  • Brazil: National Lesbian Pride Day on August 19 to commemorate the 1983 protest at Ferro’s bar led by Rosley Roth and Míriam Martinho, and National Lesbian Visibility Day on August 29 to commemorate the first National Lesbian Seminar that was held in 1996.
  • Chile: July 7 in honor of Mónica Briones, the victim of the first documented lesbophobic hate crime in the country.

Finally, International Lesbian Visibility Day is celebrated annually on April 26, kicking off Lesbian Visibility Week.

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Lesbian Visibility Day in Paraguay, observances in Paraguay, LGBTQ+ observances, Feliciana Coronel