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Nicaragua: Blogs Tell What the Press Ignore About Sexual Diversity

[All links lead to Spanish language pages except when otherwise noted]

Recently, the Strategic Group for Sexual Diversity Rights (GEDDS), a network of organisations that fight for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, transgender, transvestite and intersexual community (LGBTTTI), launched a study into the ways in which the country's major media outlets deal with issues of sexual diversity.

The study, which is available from Conexiones.com.ni , affirms that :

Hemos encontrado grandes características similares en el abordaje de la noticia en los dos periódicos de mayor circulación en el país (El Nuevo Diario y La Prensa) siendo estas:

  • El abordaje amarillista de la noticia cuando estas se refieren al tema de la homosexualidad de hombre y mujeres.
  • La falta de interés de confirmar los hechos relacionados con las noticias que tiene que ver ya sea con un gay, una lesbiana o un trans.
  • El lenguaje poco adecuado al formular los titulares de la noticia, siendo estos generalmente hirientes, despectivos, burlescos.
  • Constante homo, lesbo, Transfobia de los periodistas hacia las personas de la diversidad sexual.
  • La violación constante de los derechos humanos de las personas que se ven involucrados en hechos delictivos. Siempre son objetos de escarnio y vituperio.
We have found major similarities between the two widely-distributed newspapers in the country (El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa) with regard to how they tackle this type of news. These being:

  • The sensationalization of news that refers to the issue of homosexuality amongst men and women.
  • A lack of interest in confirming facts related to news that is related to, or is about, gay, lesbian or trans people.
  • Inappropriate language in news headlines, these being generally offensive, disrespectful, mocking.
  • Constant homo-/ Transphobia from journalists towards sexually diverse citizens.
  • Constant violation of the human rights of people involved in criminal offenses. They are always objects of ridicule and criticism.

However, in Nicaragua's case, blogs offer alternative spaces where the issue of sexual diversity rights can be discussed and expressed with different perspectives.

Image from Flickr user Aayesha Siddiqui, used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-ShareAlike License 2.0 Generic. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Sometimes, the issue is discussed through personal anecdotes, as is the case with the blogger Waldir Ruiz. In a recent blog-post, also published at www.elnuevodiario.com.ni, he tells readers that:

Como era de esperarse, no me sorprendió que su madre fuera lesbiana; no, fue la historia de su familia. Me dijo que sus dos madres tenían 22 años viviendo juntas, que ella no llevaba el nombre de su madre biológica, si no, el de su otra madre. Me confesó lo duro que fue para ella cuando tomó conciencia del rechazo que la sociedad sentía ante este tipo de relaciones…

As it was to be expected, it did not surprise me that her mother was a lesbian. No, it was her family's story. She told me that her two mothers were 22 years old living together, she hadn't taken the name of her biological mother, but rather her other mother. She confessed that the hard part for her was when she realised the repulsion that society felt towards this type of relationships.

Ruiz later expresses:

En mi monólogo interior, durante la conversación, me decía a mi mismo: “¡Opa!, pensé que en Nicaragua no habían relaciones de unión libre (tipo matrimonio heterosexual) entre parejas homosexuales, menos, de generaciones de antaño y nunca imaginé ser, de algún modo, testigo… ¡Ni en mis sueños más locos!”.

In my head, during the conversation, I was saying to myself: “Wow! I thought that there weren't consensual unions in Nicaragua (like heterosexual marriages) between same-sex partners, not to mention of an older generation and I never imagined that I would, in a manner of speaking, witness one… Never in my wildest dreams!”

Blogger Maycols Lovo, motivated by a conversation that he saw on Twitter about a video which features two homosexuals, writes:

Sin ahondar mucho en los trabajos que desarrollan las ONG’s y Gobierno, que son positivos, es notable que aún entre las generaciones de este siglo hay personas que se burlan de situaciones que enmarcan asuntos de género y sexualidad.

Without getting too bogged down with the work of NGOs and the government, which are positive, it is still noticable that among this century's generations, there are people that mock situations that encompass the subjects of gender and sexuality.

Later he offers his opinion about the Twitter discussion:

En cuanto a si soy merecedor de burla, admiración o ninguna de las anteriores, prefiero que lo hagan midiendo mi inteligencia y no mi opción sexual.

Regarding whether or not I am deserving of ridicule, admiration or either, I would prefer that it be based on my intelligence, and not my sexual orientation.

Other bloggers use avenues like video-blogs for telling their personal stories to offer information and advice. Mario S. Vásquez is one example. He has shared this video:

More examples of blogs as alternatives to the mainstream media agenda regarding sexual diversity can be found at  ”Nicaragua: Sexual Diversity in the National Blogosphere“ [en], a post for Global Voices by Rodrigo Peñalba.

A registry of Nicaraguan blogs can also be visited at Festival de Blogs de Nicaragua (Nicaragua Blog Carnival), which was held for the first time in September 2011 with the support of Global Voices.

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