Argentine president honored by International Gay and Lesbian Organization

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who pushed through Argentina’s gay marriage law in 2010 and its landmark gender identity law earlier this year, is the first person to receive a newly created award from the International Gay and Lesbian Association. According to Argentine newspaper Pagina/12, her selection was unanimous by the award committee for her “personal and infatigable commitment” to LGBT rights. She’ll be receiving the award this Wednesday at ILGA’s world meeting in Stockholm.

It’s interesting to note that Argentine political observers and activists who saw Fernández and her late husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, embrace LGBT rights believe they took it on as a matter of political convenience, not conviction. (Though Kirchner was openly emotional in a ceremony for the new gender identity law…) I have a little bit of the history here.

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Argentine protestors come for Pres. Cristina Fernández

We stumbled upon a massive protest last night in the Plaza de Mayo, the plaza in front of the president’s official address, the Casa Rosada. According to unofficial numbers reported in the press, the crowd topped 200,000 in Buenos Aires. Thousands more gathered in other cities.

Their message? “We’re against Cristina,” said one protestor, a short woman who looked to be in her 60s, referring to President Cristina Fernández. “She’s becoming like [Hugo] Chavez,” said a middle-aged man in a pink shirt and Bermuda shorts.

The most astonishing thing about the protest was the noise–thousands of people were banging pots with spoons and singing protest songs. There were moments where the crowd solemnly sang as a chorus, then erupted with shouts and thunderous clanging. There was an urgency and conviction in the marchers I’ve rarely seen at American protests.

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