Thousands of people marched from the Plaza de Mayo to Congress in Buenos Aires on Saturday for the latest annual LGBTIQ Pride March.
Given the event’s proximity to the upcoming presidential election run-off, the celebrations took on a strong political message in defence of the human rights won by the community in recent decades.
Two weeks before the second round ballot, the 32nd annual Pride March was organised under various slogans. Some groups called for no more austerity and spending cutbacks while others prioritised the potential curtailing of human rights.
Many of the demonstrators were explicitly against the policies promoted by libertarian presidential candidate Javier Milei and his La Libertad Avanza. Critics accuse them of wanting to limit human rights, including on access to abortion.
Milei maintains, for his part, that he is against the idea that where there is "a need, a right is born" and has said life begins at conception.
On today’s march, "one of the strongest slogans is to say 'No to Milei', [who] proposes decisions and policies that would go against the LGBT community and above all against women," said 36-year-old demonstrator Jeremías Cevilán, who was attending their 20th Pride March.
During the festivities, participants chanted slogans against the Libertarian candidate. Many shouts were in favour of his rival, Economy Minister Sergio Massa.
However, left-wing critics of the ruling coalition presidential candidate vocalised their lack of support for Argentina’s US$44.5-billion debt programme with the International Monetary Fund.
Argentina is a pioneer in Latin America when it comes to LGBT rights and in 2010 passed a historic law recognising same-sex marriage or equal marriage. It has made similar advances in gender equality legislation.
Recently, economist Diana Mondino, whose name is being bandied about as a possible foreign minister if Milei is elected on 19 November, sparked controversy in an interview with TV channel LN+ when asked about equal marriage.
Asked whether he is "in favour" of this alternative, he replied: "Philosophically, as a liberal, I agree with each person's life project. It is much broader than equal marriage. Let me exaggerate. If you prefer not to bathe and be full of lice and that's your choice, that's fine. Then don't complain if someone doesn't like you having lice … But if something makes a person happier and doesn't affect others, why not?”
His comparison received harsh criticism from pro-government officials and activists in the hours leading up to the march in Buenos Aires.
The march takes place in the month of November to commemorate the establish of Nuestro Mundo, the first gay political organisation in Latin America, which dates back to 1967. It evolved to later form the Homosexual Liberation Front, which maintained an active status until the military dictatorship of 1976.
Since 1992, people in Buenos Aires have celebrated Pride and marched on the first Saturday of November to assert their rights and express their freedom to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Rather than be held in June, Pride Week has been held in November to commemorate the creation of Nuestro Mundo, the first gay political organisation in Latin America, which dates back to 1967. It evolved to later form the Homosexual Liberation Front, which maintained an active status until the military dictatorship of 1976.
Buenos Aires has been called the most gay-friendly Latin American city by the British LGBT Awards.