The Americas Divided

The delegate of Haiti speaks about LGBTQ+ rights in OAS. Courtesy of Marcello Gonzalez.

The delegate of Haiti speaks about LGBTQ+ rights in OAS. Courtesy of Marcello Gonzalez.

By Marcello Gonzalez and Guadalupe Gonzalez

When addressing the topic of LGBTQ+ rights and the acceptance of these communities into society, many factors come into place. Religion, education, legislation and culture play a significant role in a country’s view about this matter. Laws concerning these rights in the Americas differ extensively. The 11 members of the Organization of the American States (OAS) have different beliefs towards these communities.

During the 43rd YMUN conference, the OAS debated LGBTQ+ rights. The Press Corps took the time to interview a few delegates during the first and second committee sessions. The Domincan Republic is a catholic country that, since 1948, has held a special relationship with the Vatican because it signed the Concordat. As a result, LGBTQ+ rights are a delicate subject. A clear example were the many manifestations against the appointed American Ambassador and LGBTQ+ activist, H.E. Wally Brewster which stirred great controversy in the country. Despite having many members of the LGBTQ+ community in the country, Dominican Republic has never addressed anything related to this issue in its constitution.

On this matter, the United States of America has acknowledged that it is not easy for countries that are predominantly Catholic to dive into progressivism and open themselves to new ways of life. The U.S. expressed its belief that self-determination is key in this topic and that it gives other countries the space to handle these issues in their own ways. However, they also voiced their strong opinion on anti-discrimination laws towards this issue and that legislation is a strong starting point to solving the problematic at hand.

It is evident that many members of the OAS have significantly different points of view towards LGBTQ+ rights. Regardless, they have been working actively on finding solutions to the topic this committee is discussing by suggesting the creation of new  laws that protect the rights of the community and starting campaigns against discrimination.