Mujer y Mujer

Mujer Y Mujer pushes the traditional meaning of “woman.”

Mujer Y Mujer was created in 2003 to challenge the social and political visibility of lesbian women, united by the vital need to build community, develop leadership and influence against a backdrop of violence, discrimination and privatization of both public spaces as the body and sexuality of women.

Mujer Y Mujer pushes the traditional meaning of “woman.” Since 2009 they’ve championed the leadership of bisexual women and transgender people. They also celebrate ethnic and generational diversity while their community initiatives strengthen the working class. The organization is run by volunteers due to lack of resources for LGBT groups in Guayaquil and LBT activism in particular.

They strategically promote the creative role of women and LGBTI + in the integral development of more just and equitable societies; enhancing their political voices from their desires and resistances.

Their slogan: Free to Be, Decide and Demand, represents the 3 axes of their philosophy.

Ecuadorian Constitution Passes, Includes Gay Rights Guarantees

Astraea grantee partner, FEDAEPS (Fundacion Ecuatoriana de Acción y Educacion para la Promocion de la Salud) was an instrumental actor in achieving the recognition of sexual and reproductive rights and a commitment to non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the Ecuadorian Constitution of 1998.

This made Ecuador the second country in the world to have this Constitutional clause and the first in Latin America to recognize sexual rights. In 2007, the anti-discrimination provisions were challenged as the process for constitutional review began. FEDAEPS received an emergency grant to support their work to defend the protections of sexual orientation and diversity in Ecuador’s constitution. And in September 2008, they won. The Constitution passed with 64% of the vote, and included other progressive victories such as guaranteed free education through college and pensions for stay-at-home mothers and informal-sector workers.

New Ecuador Constitution Includes Gay Rights Guarantees

By the Associated Press, as seen on 365Gay.com

(Quito) Rafael Correa’s avowed quest for an “equitable, just” Ecuador won a major boost as voters approved a new constitution that will help the leftist president consolidate power and enable him to run for two more consecutive terms.

The new constitution guarantees civil rights for gays and lesbians, including civil unions affording all the rights of marriage. It also guarantees free education through college and pensions for stay-at-home mothers and informal-sector workers. Such measures build on already popular Correa programs that provide low-interest micro-loans, building material for first-time homeowners and free seeds for growing crops.

Preliminary results showed 65 percent support with 5 percent of the vote counted, mirroring earlier exit polls and quick counts that indicated overwhelming voter approval.

“”We’’re making history! Onward!”” a jubilant Correa proclaimed in his coastal hometown of Guayaquil after his crushing victory became clear. “This is confirmation of the citizen’s revolution we’re offering.”

He and the close associates who helped him craft the new document hugged each other and sang “Patria,” their party anthem.

Correa called on Ecuadoreans to help him “achieve a brave, sovereign and dignified homeland – equitable, just and without misery.”

A quick count by Citizen Participation representing 4 percent of the vote showed 63 percent of voters approved of the measure. The count had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus half a percentage point. Exit polls by two different firms put voter approval at 66 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

Correa, 45, called it a “clear, historic victory,” an endorsement of his goal to secure a social safety net for the 38 percent of Ecuadoreans who live below the poverty line. He also has said the document will help to eradicate a political class that made Ecuador one of Latin America’s most corrupt countries.

The president promises Ecuador’s 20th constitution will spur “rapid, profound change.”

Although the new magna carta is nowhere near as radical as similar projects in Venezuela and Bolivia, critics complain the document will give Correa too much control over the economy and the judicial and legislative branches.

It will almost certainly lead to presidential, congressional and local elections as early as February – making a Correa presidency through 2017 possible – and an overhaul of the judiciary in which the president is expected to play a decisive role. The Central Bank and other key institutions also would cede or lose autonomy to Ecuador’s sixth president in a decade.

That should give the U.S.- and European-trained economist greater liberty to fashion what he calls a “new political model.” Sunday’’s victory was Correa’’s third nationwide electoral victory since he won office in November 2006 with 57 percent of the vote.

The new constitution guarantees civil rights for gays and lesbians, including civil unions affording all the rights of marriage. It also guarantees free education through college and pensions for stay-at-home mothers and informal-sector workers. Such measures build on already popular Correa programs that provide low-interest micro-loans, building material for first-time homeowners and free seeds for growing crops.

“He’s going to activate the productive sector,” said Patricio Quienacho, 48, the owner of a computer business who voted “yes” on Sunday in large part because he believes Correa will spur job growth through a program that offers five-year $5,000 business loans at 5 percent interest.

But many wonder how Correa will pay for all his ambitious social programs.

“I don’t know that we have all the resources to really guarantee all that he’s offering,” said Carlos Roman, a 57-year-old engineer who voted against the new charter. “It’s dangerous for the country.”

A third of the national budget comes from oil revenues and Correa has had the good fortune of oil prices soaring well above $100 per barrel, providing Ecuador with revenues of $4.8 billion this year alone.

Some in Correa’s badly splintered and debilitated opposition contend he’s creating a Venezuela-style autocracy. But while Correa followed Hugo Chavez’s lead by pushing for a new constitution to help him consolidate power, he has kept the Venezuelan president at arm’s length.

Unlike Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales, Correa has not moved to nationalize telecommunications and electrical utility companies or pledged to establish closer relations with Russia.

And although Correa has opted not to renew the lease that allows U.S. anti-narcotics missions to fly out of a coastal airport in Manta, U.S. diplomats praise Ecuador’s drug-fighting cooperation. The lease expires late next year.

Corporación Promoción de la Mujer/Taller de Comunicación Mujer

Based in Quito, Taller de Comunicación Mujer (TCM) is a women’s rights organization that works to advance the human rights of lesbian and bisexual women.

Based in Quito, Taller de Comunicación Mujer (TCM) is a women’s rights organization that works to advance the human rights of lesbian and bisexual women. TC Women documents and monitors the “de-homosexualization clinics” and human rights violations within them. In 2011, TC Mujer was responsible for ensuring that CETFDCM (the CEDAW) and the Human Rights Council recommended and monitored the closure of all clinics by the Ecuadorian state. TC Women has helped close many of these clinics. TC Mulher continues to document and monitor clinics in four provinces (Guayaquil, Manabí, Pichincha and Azuay), documenting survivors’ testimony and monitoring the Ministry of Health, while pursuing a broader feminist advocacy for women’s sexual and reproductive rights.

*** En Español***

Con base en Quito, el Taller de Comunicación Mujer (TC Mujer) es una organización de derechos de las mujeres que trabaja por el avance de los derechos humanos de las mujeres lesbianas y bisexuales. TC Mujer documenta y monitorea las “clínicas de deshomosexualización” y las violaciones de derechos humanos dentro de estas. En 2011, TC Mujer fue responsable por lograr que la CETFDCM (también conocida como CEDAW, por sus siglas en inglés) y el Consejo de los Derechos Humanos recomendaran y monitorearan el cierre de todas las clínicas por el estado ecuatoriano. TC Mujer ha ayudado a cerrar muchas de estas clínicas. TC Mujer continúa documentando y monitoreando clínicas en cuatro provincias (Guayaquil, Manabí, Pichincha y Azuay), documentando testimonios de sobrevivientes y monitoreando al Ministerio de Salud, a la vez que realiza una abogacía feminista más amplia por los derechos sexuales y reproductivos de las mujeres.

Fundación de Desarrollo Humano Integral CAUSANA

Causana has carried out awareness raising on LGBT realities with hundreds of public servers in the judicial and health sectors, targeting mainly health providers, police and prosecutors.

Founded in 2003, Causana is a lesbian feminist collective located in Quito that has fought for the closure of “dehomosexualization clinics” for several years. It also provides legal and psychological support to lesbian survivors of these clinics. Causana has carried out awareness raising on LGBT realities with hundreds of public servers in the judicial and health sectors, targeting mainly health providers, police and prosecutors; it has also done so with various sectors of society: older adults, teachers, students, families, youth sectors, public servers, etc. Through community mobilization and six National Lesbian Encounters as well as training processes and public actions to raise awareness and denounce, Causana has strengthened the capacity of LBT women to demand their rights and access a life of freedom. Causana’s mission is to de-structure the systems of power and subordination through the empowerment and empowerment of LBT people from an inclusive approach of genres, diversities and holism to develop a new community co-existence proposal within a framework of harmony with others.

*** En Español***

Fundada en 2003, Causana es una colectiva lésbica feminista ubicada en Quito que se destaca por su lucha contra los encierros en las llamadas “clínicas de deshomosexualización” desde hace varios años. También ofrece apoyo legal y psicológico a sobrevivientes lesbianas de estas clínicas.

Causana ha realizado capacitaciones de sensibilización sobre las realidades LGBT con cientos de servidorxs públicxs en los sectores judicial y de salud, dirigiéndose principalmente a lxs proveedorxs de salud, la policía y la Fiscalia; de igual manera lo ha hecho con diversos sectores de la sociedad: adultxs mayores, docentes, estudiantes, familias, sectores juveniles, servidorxs públicxs, etc.

Mediante la movilizacion comunitaria y seis Encuentros Nacionales Lesbicos así como procesos de capacitación y acciones públicas de visibilización y denuncia,  Causana ha fortalecido la capacidad de las mujeres LBT para exigir sus derechos y acceder a una vida de libertades.

La misión de Causana es desestructurar los sistemas de poder y subordinación a través del empoderamiento y fortalecimiento de las personas LBT desde un enfoque inclusivo de géneros, diversidades y holismo para desarrollar una nueva propuesta de convivencia comunitaria  en un marco de armonía con nostrxs, lxs otrxs y la Pacha Mama.