Diverse, Socialist and Revolutionary: LGBTI FMLN Militancy Holds Third National Gathering
On November 16, the LGBTI militancy and supporters of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party met for the third time to consolidate their organizational work under the motto ‘Socialist and Revolutionary Diversity.’ During the two-day gathering, participants discussed the significance of organizing at the local-territorial level, as well as the importance of political formation within this sector in order to exponentially grow LGBTI participation in the party. The gathering also included the participation of LGBTI leadership of left-wing political parties from Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Uruguay; each was invited to share their experiences at the intersection of grassroots movement, political party and government. For the sake of the party and of the people of El Salvador, the National Collective of Sexual Diversity (CNDS-FMLN) has committed itself to challenging neoliberalism and bigotry under the U.S.-supported, right-wing administration.
The gathering touched several major themes, said Alejandra Menjivar, longtime trans woman activist and lead coordinator of the CNDS-FMLN, “The meeting had 3 central focuses: organization, political and ideological formation and LGBTI political participation. These were the 3 crucial points, first because without organization we cannot move forward, without training and awareness we cannot fight and without participation we cannot transform reality. For the CNDS, there is only one objective and it is to contribute to consolidating the political horizon of the FMLN from our diverse and dissident realities, from our experience, but with commitment and conviction. That is the ultimate goal. That anyone regardless of their sexual orientation, expression or gender identity can be felt to be a militant of this historical political project. The task is clear. We are all the FMLN. We must make the political instrument embrace all social struggles and that each of these social struggles build the party.”
To start off the event, commonly accepted definitions of sex, gender, sexual orientation and other key concepts were reviewed and debated so as to understand their utility and limitations. In an itinerary full of programming, there was wide-ranging discussion of topics such as tensions and transphobia prevalent within the LGBTI community and within the party, as well as the intersection of class and gender-based oppression in El Salvador.
In comparison to the previous two gatherings, that mainly served the purpose of consulting and getting input from the LGBTI community regarding the FMLN’s 2018 and 2019 elections campaign platforms, the third gathering was meant to establish a comprehensive strategy for local organization and national ideological political formation. During the period of two years and despite the disappointing FMLN electoral losses, the CNDS-FMLN has organized various political advocacy actions, developed frameworks for cooperation with party leadership and positioned itself as the only Diversity structure in a political party (so far) throughout the country. November’s gathering was a major achievement that will contribute to the growth and consolidation of LGBTI militancy and leadership within the FMLN.