PROGRAMME ELLA SUMMER 2018 - English

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30.08 - 06.09

ELLA SUMMER 2018

ENG

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Especialistas en reproducción asistida

Te ayudamos a cumplir tu sueño...la maternidad.

Tlf.: 91 226 04 01 info@reprofiv.com www.reprofiv.com

Válido 2016-2017


INDEX

ÍNDICE / INDEX PROGRAMA ELLA SUMMER / PROGRAM ELLA SUMMER Bienvenidas / Welcome .................................................................................................. 5 Mapa de Palma / Map of Palma ................................................................................... 6-7 Playa ELLA & La Dama de ELLA / ELLA Beach & La Dama de ELLA .................... 8-9 Jueves 30.08 / Thursday 30.08 .................................................................................... 10 Viernes 31.08 / Friday 31.08 .......................................................................................... 11 Sábado 01.09 / Saturday 01.09 .................................................................................... 12 Domingo 02.09 / Sunday 02.09 .................................................................................... 14 Lunes 03.09 / Monday 03.09 ......................................................................................... 15 Jornada IVI Mamas2 / IVI Mums2 event .................................................................... 16-17 Martes 04.09 / Tuesday 04.09 ...................................................................................... 18 Miércoles 05.09 / Wednesday 05.09 ............................................................................ 20 Números de interés / Useful numbers ........................................................................ 21 Entrevista Heike y Ulrike / Interview Heike & Ulrike .................................................. 22-23

ELLA GLOBAL COMMUNITY / ELLA COSTA RICA Presentación / Introduction ........................................................................................... 24-25 Dossier especial Costa Rica / Special Dossier Costa Rica ..................................... 26-31 Entrevista Myrtille Danse / Interview Myrtille Danse ............................................... 32-39 Entrevista Emma A. Chacón / Interview Emma A. Chacón ..................................... 40-45

Mapa Mundi de las leyes sobre orientación sexual / Sexual orientation laws in the world map ................................................................................................................... 52-53

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Entrevista Ruth Linares Hidalgo / Interview Ruth Linares Hidalgo ....................... 46-49 Entrevista Ana Vega / Interview Ana Vega ................................................................. 50-51



Welcome to the 6th edition of the ELLA International Lesbian Festival!

WELCOME

WELCOME This year we have prepared an exclusive 7-day programme that is packed with great music, activities, gastronomy, excursions, and adventure. Join us during the opening weekend at the festival meeting point at the ELLA Beach in Can Pastilla, or come along to an amazing ELLA sailing tour on the oldest sailing ship of the Spanish fleet, discover the magic of the castle of Alaró in the Tramuntana mountains, or visit the ancient artists’ village Deiá. As always, you will be able to enjoy the programme in friendly and sophisticated surroundings and explore the beautiful island of Mallorca with like-minded women from all over the world. Have fun, relax, and enjoy the sunsets! And the fun won’t stop there – we have a few more adventures and events lined up later this year. Join us for New Year’s Eve festivities at the third edition of the ELLA Winter festival in Mallorca! But that is not all… We are proud to announce that we are founding a non-profit association, the ELLA Global Community, which will work to support the community of lesbian, bisexual and trans women. As you already know, ELLA has always been a social enterprise working tirelessly to provide a happy and safe space for our community, so this is a dream come true. We can’t wait to celebrate and raise a toast with you in la Dama de ELLA in honour of our new adventures with our association, and together with the ELLA Community we are confident that we can make a positive impact on the lives of lesbian, bisexual and trans women. Our first destination will be Costa Rica where we will also host the ELLA International Festival from 8 -22 May 2019 which will be inaugurated by the ELLA Talks Costa Rica – International Inspiring Lesbian Conference in San José on 8 May 2019 – keep your eyes open for further details of the programme and bookings! This is our sixth year and we are still here! We look forward to welcoming you at the opening of the festival, which will take place on the rooftop of the unique Palacio de Congresos of Palma.

Be free. Be yourself. Feel #ProudtobeELLA. Proud of you! Kristin Hansen, CEO & Founder

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See you there!


Palma 1

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La Dama de ELLA C/ Fรกbrica 41

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30.08: Palau de Congressos, Felicia Fuster 7

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31.08: Assaona, Passeig Portixol

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01.09: The Boat House, Av. Gabriel Roca

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01.09: Boat Party, Av. Gabriel Roca

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ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

ELLA BEACH / CAN PASTILLA De día, te invitamos a reunirte con nosotras en la PLAYA ELLA - Playa de Can Pastilla, Vie, Sáb, Dom, de 12:00 a 18:00h (al lado del Club Marítimo de Can Pastilla) - el punto de encuentro oficial del Festival. Un espacio para practicar deporte, tomar el sol, relajarte y disfrutar de nuestra zona chill-out. El acceso a la PLAYA ELLA es GRATUITO. During the day, you are invited to come with us to our very own beach, ELLA Beach - Playa de Can Pastilla, Fri, Sat, Sun, from 12:00 to 18:00h (next to the Club Marítimo de Can Pastilla) - the official meeting point of the Festival. A place to do sports, sunbathe, relax and enjoy our chill-out zone. Access to ELLA PLAYA is FREE.

ACTIVIDADES / ACTIVITIES Sólo hay tres actividades de pago en la playa: La Clase de Surf, Excursión en Paddle Surf y Excursión en Kayak. ¡El aforo es limitado, no esperes para reservar tu plaza en nuestra web! El resto es gratís y puedes apuntarte in-situ. There are only three activities you have to pay for at the ELLA Beach: The Surf class, The Excursion in Paddle Surf and the Excursion in Kayak. 8

Capacity is limited, don’t wait to book your spot on our web! The rest of the activities is free and you can sign up in-situ.


Desde Palma puedes coger el bus 15 o 25 y bajar en la parada “473-camí de Can Pastilla 110” o bien parada “476-Manuela de los Herreros”. Puedes también ir en taxi, desde Palma te costará entre 13 y 15€.

ELLA BEACH

CÓMO LLEGAR / HOW TO GET THERE

From Palma you can take the bus 15 or 25 and stop either at “473-camí de Can Pastilla 110” or at “476-Manuela de los Herreros”. You can also take a taxi, from Palma it will cost approximately 13-15€.

PUNTO DE ENCUENTRO EN PALMA / MEETING POINT IN PALMA Para aquellas que no quieren estar en la playa, o bien en los días en los cuales la Playa ELLA está cerrada - Lunes 03.09, Martes 04.09 y Miércoles 05.09 - , el punto de encuentro en Palma es LA DAMA DE ELLA - Calle Fábrica 41, Palma. Allí podrás disfrutar de una amplia selección de bebidas, gins, cócteles, y podrás disfrutar de comida y tapas mediterráneas. For those of you who do not want to be at the beach, or on the days where the ELLA Beach is closed - Monday 03.09, Tuesday 04.09 and Wednesday 05.09 -, the meeting point in Palma is LA DAMA DE ELLA - Calle Fábrica 41 - Palma. There you will enjoy a wide selection of drinks, gins, cocktails, and savour the typical

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mediterranean food and tapas.


ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

JUEVES 30 AGO / THURSDAY 30 AUG HORARIO / TIME: 20:00 - 01:00 h PTO. DE ENCUENTRO / MEETING POINT: Rooftop of the Congress Palace of Palma (Palau de Congressos), Felicià Fuster 2, Palma ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: Morganajazz (live), Stellar Addiction (live), Dj Blues, Dj Pamela Daremos el pistoletazo de salida a estos 7 días de ensueño invitándote a un cóctel y unos canapés en la fantástica terraza rooftop del Palau de Congressos, uno de los mejores locales de la capital, con espectaculares vistas a la Bahía de Palma. ¡Te esperamos para celebrar juntas el comienzo del ELLA Summer Festival! Catering y barra libre de 20h-21h30. We will kick these 7 amazing days off with a cocktail and canapés on the beautiful rooftop of the Palau de Congressos, one of the best venues of the capital, with spectacular views over Palma’s Bay. See you to celebrate the opening of the ELLA Summer Festival!

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Catering and open bar from 20h-21h30.


ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

VIERNES 31 AGO / FRIDAY 31 AUG

ELLA PLAYA + ACTIVIDADES / ELLA BEACH + ACTIVITIES

HORARIO / TIME: 12:00 - 18:00 h PTO. DE ENCUENTRO / MEETING POINT: Playa de Can Pastilla, C/ Palangres, Palma ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: Claudia Tejeda, DJ Jasi Pink, DJ Fride ACTIVIDADES / ACTIVITIES: 10h: Clase de Surf / Surf Class (€) 12-18h: Volei Playa, Fútbol Playa, Gincanas / Beach Volley and Soccer, Team Games

CENA DEL VIERNES + MÚSICA EN VIVO / FRIDAY DINNER + LIVE MUSIC

HORARIO / TIME: 20:00 - 22:00 h PTO. DE ENCUENTRO / MEETING POINT: Assaona, Passeig Portitxol, Palma ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: DJ Pamela

FIESTA /

PARTY

HORARIO / TIME: 22:00 - 05:00 h PTO. DE ENCUENTRO / MEETING POINT: Sa Possessiò, Gremi Velluters, 14, Palma ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: Turbodisko3000, Djane Anna Andersson, Stellar Addiction,

Info sobre transfers en la web / Watch out for transfer info on our web

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LaNoire, SuperAgente86


ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

SÁBADO 1 SEPT / SATURDAY 1 SEPT

ELLA PLAYA + ACTIVIDADES /

ELLA BEACH + ACTIVITIES

HORARIO / TIME: 12:00 - 18:00 h PTO. DE ENCUENTRO / MEETING POINT: Playa de Can Pastilla, C/ Palangres, Palma ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: Djane Anna Andersson, Dj Pamela, Claudia Tejeda ACTIVIDADES / ACTIVITIES: 08h: Xi-Qong 10h: Excursión en Kayak / Kayak excursion (€) 12-18h: Volei Playa, Fútbol Playa, Gincanas / Beach Volley and Soccer, Team Games 17h: Body Combat

CENA DEL SÁBADO + MÚSICA EN VIVO / SATURDAY DINNER + LIVE MUSIC HORARIO / TIME: 20:00 - 22:00 h PTO. DE ENCUENTRO / MEETING POINT: The Boat House, Avenida Gabriel Roca, Palma ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: DJ Claudia Tejeda

FIESTA EN BARCO /

BOAT PARTY

HORARIO / TIME: 22:00 - 03:00 h ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: Miss Scandal, DJ Blues, DJ Fride, Claudia Tejeda, DJ Pamela 22h00: Palma Marina (delante del Auditorium). Nos vemos delante del restaurante 12

“The Boat House”, Avenida Gabriel Roca, Palma. / Palma Marina Harbour (in front of the auditorium), meeting in front of the restaurant “The Boat House”, Avenida Gabriel Roca, Palma. 22h30: Salida del barco. Preveer chaqueta. / Departure of the boat. Bring a jacket.


c/ fรกbrica 41b palma el punto de encuentro del ELLA en Palma

ladamadeella.com


ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

DOMINGO 2 SEPT / SUNDAY 1 SEPT

ELLA PLAYA + ACTIVIDADES /

ELLA BEACH + ACTIVITIES

HORARIO / TIME: 12:00 - 18:00 h PTO. DE ENCUENTRO / MEETING POINT: Playa de Can Pastilla, C/ Palangres, Palma ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: Turbodisko3000, Dj Jasi Pink ACTIVIDADES / ACTIVITIES: 08h: Xi-Qong 10h: Excursión en Paddle Surf / Paddle Surf excursion (€) 12-18h: Volei Playa, Fútbol Playa, Gincanas / Beach Volley and Soccer, Team Games 17h: Body Combat

FIESTA VIP /

VIP PARTY

HORARIO / TIME: 20:00 - 02:00 h ACTUACIONES / LINE UP: DJ Blues, DJ Pamela 19h00: Punto de encuentro para el transfer: La Dama de ELLA (Fábrica 41, Palma) / Meeting point for transfer: La Dama de ELLA (Fábrica 41-Palma) 20h00-02h00: Fiesta VIP con cena y bebida incluida (vino, cerveza, refrescos) / VIP Party with dinner and drinks included (wine, beer, soft drinks). 02h00: Transfer de vuelta a Palma / Transfer back to Palma Santa Eugenia, 17km from Palma / Santa Eugenia, 17km from Palma

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Parking disponible para las personas que vengan en coche directamente. Contáctanos a mail@ellafestival.com para recibir la dirección completa y reservar tu parking. / Parking available for guests driving directly to the event. Please contact us at mail@ellafestival.com to receive the complete address and parking reservation.


ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

LUNES 3 SEPT / MONDAY 3 SEPT

ELLA EXCURSIÓN EN VELERO / ELLA SAILING TOUR

HORARIO / TIME: 15:00 - 19:30 h Disfrutaremos de una tarde en el barco de vela más antiguo de la flota española solo para nosotras con el cual navegaremos a lo largo de la costa de Palma y sus alrededores. dj, sol, bebidas, paddle surf, kayak, snorkel … barra libre y picoteo incluidos / We will enjoy an afternoon on the oldest sailing boat of the spanish fleet just for us with which we will sail along the coast of Palma and surroundings. dj, sun, drinks, paddle surf, kayak, snorkel… open bar and snacks included. 14h20: Punto de encuentro / Meeting point: La Dama de ELLA (Fábrica 41- Palma). 14h30-14h50: Caminamos al Puerto de Palma / Walk to the harbour of Palma. 15h00-19h00: Tour exclusivo en barco de vela, con música, barra libre (refresco, agua, cerveza, vino y sangría) y picoteo. / Exclusive sailing tour for ELLA, with music, open bar (soft drinks, water, beer, wine and cava) and snacks. 19h00-19h30: Vuelta al puerto y caminamos hacía La Dama de ELLA / Back to the harbour and walk to la Dama de ELLA.

QUEDADA EN LA DAMA DE ELLA / HANGOUTS IN LA DAMA DE ELLA HORARIO / TIME: 19:30 - 01:00 h

Quedada en La Dama de ELLA: música, exposición de arte, talleres (entrada gratuita)/ Meeting in La Dama de ELLA: music, art exhibition, workshops (free entrance).

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DIRECCIÓN / ADDRESS: La Dama de ELLA, C/ Fábrica 41, Palma




ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

MARTES 4 SEPT / TUESDAY 4 SEPT

ELLA CAMINA Y BIRRA / ELLA WALK AND BEER

HORARIO / TIME: 10:00 - 16:30 h Excursión al centro de la isla para ir al castillo de Alaró. Luego visita la fábrica de cerveza “forastera”, degustación de cerveza y almuerzo. / Excursion to the center of the island to go up the Castle of Alaró. Then visit of the beer factory “Forastera”, beer tasting and lunch. 10h00: Meeting point: La Dama de ELLA (Fábrica 41-Palma) 10h00-10h30: Transfer en bus al camino que lleva al Castillo / Bus transfer to the beginning of the track to the Castle. 10h30-13h00: Subida al Castillo de Alaró , disfrutamos de las vistas y bajamos hacia el pueblo a la fábrica / Excursion back and forth to the Alaró Castle and to the factory. 13h30-16h00: Visita de la fábrica de cerveza, degustación de cerveza y almuerzo / Visit of the beer factory, beer tasting and lunch 16h00-16h30: Vuelta a Palma / Bus ride back to Palma.

JORNADA IVI MAMAS2 / IVI MOMS2 EVENT

HORARIO / TIME: 19:00 - 21:00 h / Entrada libre / Free entrance. DIRECCIÓN / ADDRESS: La Dama de ELLA, C/ Fábrica 41, Palma.

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Una oportunidad de informarte, conocer y escuchar de la mano de profesionales, sobre los tratamientos para parejas de mujeres. Catering y bebidas gratis / An opportunity to receive information about the reproductive medicine treatments offered to women who want to become mothers. Catering and drinks offered.



ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

MIÉRCOLES 5 SEPT / WEDNESDAY 5 SEPT

DEIÀ POR NAMA / DEIÀ BY NAMA

HORARIO / TIME: 10:30 - 18:15 h Excursión al pueblo de artistas “Deià” seguida por una demostración de cocina por la reconocida chef internacional Bonnie Han y almuerzo en su restaurante Nama / Excursion to the artist’s village “Deià” followed by a cooking demonstration by renowned international chef Bonnie Han and lunch at her restaurant Nama. 10h30: Meeting point: La Dama de ELLA (Fábrica 41-Palma) 10h45-11h15: Parada en Son Marroig / Stop at Son Marroig 11h30-12h45: Caminata por el pueblo para disfrutar de vistas panoramicas / Walk around the village to enjoy panoramic views 12h45-13h15: Tour privado en el museo de Arqueología / Private tour at the Museum of Archaeology 13h15-17h00: Demostración de cocina por la chef Bonnie Han y almuerzo en el restaurante Nama / Cooking demonstration by chef Bonnie Han and lunch at Nama 17h15-18h15: Vuelta a Palma / Bus ride back to Palma

DESPEDIDA EN LA DAMA DE ELLA / GOODBYE IN LA DAMA DE ELLA

HORARIO / TIME: 19:30 - 01:00 h

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DIRECCIÓN / ADDRESS: La Dama de ELLA, C/ Fábrica 41, Palma Quedada en La Dama de ELLA: música, exposición de arte, talleres (entrada gratuita)/ Meeting in La Dama de ELLA: music, art exhibition, workshops (free entrance).


URGENCIAS /

NÚMEROS DE INTERES / USEFUL NUMBERS

NÚMERO DE INTERES / USEFUL NUMBERS

EMERGENCIES

Emergencias / Emergency ...................................................................................................... 112 Policía Local / Local Police.......................................................................................................092 Policía Nacional / National Police...........................................................................................091 Recuerda marcar el 00 34 primero si llamas desde un teléfono extranjero. Remember to dial 0034 before any number if you are calling from a foreign number. ELLA INFO POINT PALMA ......................................................................................971 457 564 IB Salud / Health Center ....................................................................................... 971 202 222 Aeropuerto / Airport ................................................................................................. 971 789 099 Ambulancia SAMUR / Ambulance .........................................................................971 736 694

TRANSPORTES / TRANSPORTATION

Radio Taxi / Radio Taxi ............................................................................................ 971 755 440 Taxi Palma Radio / Taxi Palma Radio .................................................................. 971 401 414 Precio medio del trayecto / Average price: Palma - Aeropuerto / Palma - Airport .............................................................................18 € +/-

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ELLA Beach / Palma - ELLA Beach ..................................................................................15 € +/-


ELLA FESTIVAL 2018

INTERVIEW / HEIKE & ULRIKE

Heike and Ulrike have undergone the ROPA treatment in May 2017 and today they are the mother of a girl named Andrea of just 6 months. Tell us about your experience with the Tambre clinic in Madrid. For us it has been very difficult to find the ideal clinic where to carry out our treatments. After a long search by internet and putting us in several forums to see the opinions of other people, we have met a couple of girls who had done the treatment in Clinica Tambre. They talked very well about them and we decided to take the step. They treated us so well from the first time we went to the first consultation they explained perfectly the whole process. At no time have we felt "different" because we are a homosexual couple, and what we liked most was that they are used to dealing with patients who come from abroad. They have always attended us in our language and this helped us in the communication throughout the process. Why did you choose Spain to do an assisted reproduction treatment? In Germany, this treatment has much higher costs. We liked knowing that in Tambre they make the selection of the donors themselves and this gave us a lot of security.

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In addition, Spanish clinics are pioneers in assisted fertilization treatment and we wanted to take it as an opportunity to be treated in a place where they could offer us the best guarantees.


The process is difficult on a psychological level because it involves a lot of stress and expectations. The stimulation itself has not been very heavy, in addition the treatment plan that you do is designed for you so that your body can take it quite well. The day of ovocyte extraction has been exciting... to think that without all this advances in medicine, it would have been impossible for two women to become mothers and it is magical to know that my fertilized ovocytes were going to grow and develop in my partner's body!

CLÍNICA TAMBREE - MADRID

Was it a difficult process?

What did you feel when the treatment worked? The day of the beta has been an explosion of emotions, after so much expectation and so much dreaming of fear that maybe it could not go well, we have been lucky. Today we are mothers of a beautiful girl, Andrea, and we are deeply grateful to the doctor and our coordinator that during all the time we have been in treatment we have listened to, supported and cared for in every need. Would you recommend other couples to get treatment with a Tambre clinic? Absolutely, we would recommend it because we have felt pampered and never abandoned. We believe that this is the most important thing for someone who is trusting with all their dreams and expectations. We are very happy and satisfied and we are very grateful for having been able to realize our dream,and we don’t exclude the idea to try to have a second child in that clinic again. What advice would you give to other couples who want to go to assisted reproduction treatments? The only advice we can give to any couple that wants to or is doing an assisted fertilization treatment is to take it easy, choose a clinic where they feel comfortable, heard, and where everything is explained to them right from the start. Trust in medicine, and be able to accept also the fact that even in the natural way it is

Calle Tambre, 8, Madrid - +34 914 11 61 11 www.clinicatambre.com

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not always easy to get pregnant ... even so ... try it always and don’t lose hope!



This year, ELLA is expanding its activities to become the ELLA Global Community. The ELLA Global Community will use the power of community and innovation to promote

ELLA GLOBAL COMMUNITY

PRESENTATION / ELLA GLOBAL COMMUNITY

visibility, empowerment and sisterhood for lesbian, bisexual and trans women. We believe that all women deserve to feel free and respected, and able to assert their identity without fear. Many lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women around the world still do not feel fully at ease or empowered enough to assert their sexual or gender identity, and in many places face severe discrimination and inequality with regards to their human and civil rights. This is why we are launching a project in Costa Rica - to celebrate and promote the empowerment of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and raise awareness of their identity, challenges, and aspirations. We will work with local community organisations and LGBTI entrepreneurs of Costa Rica. We will also host the ELLA International Festival in Costa Rica from 8 - 22 May and will be inaugurated by the first “ELLA Talks Costa Rica” - an inspiring International Lesbian Conference in San José, Costa Rica on 9 May 2019. The ELLA International Festival in Mallorca Festival, both in Mallorca and further afield will continue as usual to welcome all women - lesbian, bisexual, intersex and trans women. Our events are open to solo travellers, women of all ages, couples, and families. We are experts at catering for our community’s needs, and make sure to provide a fun, inclusive, inspiring and safe environment for all. We look forward to sharing this wonderful adventure with the ELLA Community!

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More information on the ELLA Global Community will be shared on our website soon.


NICARAGUA

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3

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ITINERARY

/ ELLA COSTA RICA 2019

PACK TUCÁN

PACK PURA VIDA

8-22 MAYO 2019 1

San José | 9 May ELLA Talks Conference

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Sarapiquí

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La Fortuna

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Pacífico Central

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Monteverde

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Río Celeste

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Guanacaste

PÁNAMA


DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

DOSSIER COSTA RICA / A NATURAL PARADISE OF BIODIVERSITY

Costa Rica is a small and tropical country in Central America with almost five million inhabitants. Of course this figure does not include its diverse and extensive wildlife, which counts countless of unique creatures and species that are not to be found anywhere else in the world. As a former settlement of the Spanish colonial empire, the official language in modern-day Costa Rica is Spanish but Costa Ricans (also known as ‘Ticos’) are a diverse people, carrying Mayan, Aztec, Hispanic, Christian, African and other ethnic and cultural heritages that have passed through Central America. Hospitality and kindness are values that Costa Ricans live by, and they are very friendly and welcoming to visitors. English is also widely spoken and American commodities and lifestyle are very present in the capital, San José, as a result of the country’s close relationship with the United States which is its primary trading partner and also because of the many visitors that come from all over the world. What makes Costa Rica so special?

one on the pacific side, and the other on the Caribbean side – and no less than six active volcanoes and over sixty dormant ones.

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Costa Rica is known for its wildlife and is home to a unique rainforest, two coastlines –


DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

The variety of animal and plant species is endless due to the many microclimates and ecosystems - white sand beaches, mangrove forests, high altitude cloud forests, lowland rainforest, wetlands and valleys – housing more than 500,000 animal species. Costa Rica is therefore not only the number one eco-tourist destination in the world, but it is also one of the main destinations for the most renowned experts in biology and wildlife conservation research.

As if that wasn’t enough, Costa Rica holds another treasure of a completely different kind: it is the only country in the world that does not have an army. The army was abolished in 1948, and instead authorities have used savings from military spending to improve public education, provide universal health care and a social safety net. As a result, Costa Rica is the most stable and peaceful country in Central America, where people enjoy a much higher standard of living than its neighbouring countries. With the exception of Panama, extreme crime, conflict and poverty abound in neighbouring Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In contrast, Costa Rica has cultivated a tradition of peace, which values negotiation and diplomacy over military intervention, without exception. To that effect, one of the former Presidents of Costa Rica won the Nobel Peace Prize, for his contribution to the Central America Peace Accords of 1987, which settled the military conflicts that had plagued

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Central America through the peaceful means of diplomacy.


home to several key human rights institutions, including the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the (the human rights enforcement and judicial arm of the Organisation of American States) as well as a strong civil society. And finally, a little fun fact: San José was the second city in the world to have public electricity.

DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

Costa Rica has also had a strong democratic tradition since the 19th century and is

Costa Rica and LGBTI rights Homosexuality was decriminalised in Costa Rica in 1971. Until that date and in the years following, the LGBTI community suffered violence and persecution, even at the hands of law enforcement and authorities. A lot of progress has been made since, however, with a few gay-friendly venues opening and a small community expressing their identity freely mainly in the capital, San José. LGBTI tourism has also developed in the country, hosting excursions and local festivals. However, Costa Rica remains a religious and conservative country, where many people still abide by Christian and traditional values. On July 1st of this year, after the Gay Pride parade, the President issued a public apology to the LGBTI community for the past persecution and discrimination they faced from the Costa Rican state.

al and trans women of Costa Rica and join us in May 2019 for the ELLA Costa Rica festival on this magnificent and positive adventure!

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There is no better time than now to show support for the lesbian, bisexu-


DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

We have already started to conduct some field research in Costa Rica this year, in order to develop the activities of the ELLA Global Community. We travelled to Costa Rica in April and June, where we were very lucky to meet with incredible organisations and experts that are actively involved in promoting women’s and LGBTI rights in the country. We met with Hivos, a renowned Foundation from the Netherlands and a pioneer in promoting sexual rights and diversity in over thirty countries around the world. Hivos supports projects and organisations that take matters into their own hands, finding innovative solutions to current global challenges such as producing sustainable food, protecting the planet’s resources, women’s empowerment, and sexual rights and diversity.

At the Hivos regional office for Latin America, located in San José, we met with the Director for Hivos Latina America, Myrtille Danse along with other key members of programme and fundraising staff. We learned about the organisation’s activities in Costa Rica to promote sexual rights and diversity, and we were even able to visit aproject with an innovative organization that works for the empowerment and HIV prevention of trans women called Transvida, with whom Hivos collaborates. We have included our recent interview with Myrtille Danse on page 32 and it will also be featured on the ELLA blog. For more information on Hivos’ work and mission, please visit www.hivos.org and https://latin-america.hivos.org We also met with International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW) in Costa Rica, an organisation which promotes access to healthcare, rights and empowerment of women living with HIV. We were invited to take part in empowerment workshop for 30

women living with HIV, and got to know a few very strong and resilient women who shared their story and the struggle of living with HIV. We learned that there is a strong connection between discrimination and violence, inequality, and the persistence of HIV.


described the challenges she and her beneficiaries face in their daily lives as women living with HIV, from stigma and isolation to the absence of protection and health services tailored to the specific needs of women. We were incredibly humbled by this inspiring experience and to witness the power of community and solidarity that supports these women through their personal empowerment and healing process. You will be able to read the interview with Ruth Linares on page 46.

DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

Ruth Linares, President of ICW Costa Rica and counsellor to a member of parliament,

We also had the pleasure to meet with one of the greatest activists and experts of Costa Rica’s lesbian movement, Emma Chacón Alvarado. Emma is the founder of the lesbian collective IrreversibLes and also campaigns for both women’s equality and to end violence against women. She wrote a memoir of the history of the lesbian movement in Costa Rica, which and we learned a lot about the local context as Emma also took us to key strongholds for lesbian women in Costa Rica such as the restaurant Arbol de Seda, the nightclub La Avispa and on a tour through San José and the surrounding area while recounting the history of the lesbian movement to us.

You can read Emma’s interview on page 40 or online on the ELLA Blog, as well as our interview with the legendary Ana Vega, owner of the La Avispa nightclub, on page 50 and

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onthe the ELLA Blog.


DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

INTERVIEW: MYRTILLE DANSE / DIRECTOR HIVOS LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN

You are the Latin America & Caribbean Director of a very renowned Dutch international development foundation called Hivos which, amongst other topics, has been fighting LGBTI rights for over 20 years. Can you tell us a little bit about the Foundation’s approach and its major successes in this field? Hivos seeks new and creative solutions to persistent global problems; solutions created by people taking their lives into their own hands. We offer a positive counterbalancing force against discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources. Our mission is to innovate for social change. With smart projects in the right places, we work towards more open and green societies. One of our six thematic areas is sexual rights. We strive for a world where everyone, independent of their sexual orientation and gender identity, has control over their own bodies, their sexual identities and their relationships. We therefore aim for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, people living with HIV, and sex workers to make use of newly acquired skills, capacities and relevant support structures to actually claim their rights. The flip side of the coin is that we want the societies in the countries where we work to recognize and accept all sexual orientations and gender identities. Some examples of programs can be found at: https://www.hivos.org/focus-area/sexu32

al-rights-and-diversity/#programs


you at the office? I manage the regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean. The regional office is based in Costa Rica, but we also manage the local offices based in Guatemala, Bolivia., Ecuador and Brazil. In total we have ninety people staff working in the region and an annual budget of 20 million euros. Our global office is based in the Netherlands. Due to the 8-hour time difference, my day often starts at five in the morning with calls with my

INTERVIEW MYRTILLE DANSE

Your role at Hivos carries a lot of responsibilities. What does a normal day look like for

colleagues in the Netherlands. After I drop my two sons at their school I arrive at my office. I coordinate my day with my assistant and my operations manager. The day is very diverse. I have meetings with my program managers on the progress of the programs they are implementing on sexual rights, freedom of expression, women empowerment, sustainable food and sustainable energy. I attend any safety issues related to our local staff and partners in countries where political issues are going on. I meet with my program development managers to discuss new strategies, opportunities for collaborations with other parties, and funding strategies. I also meet with our partners to discuss their work, their needs and their suggestions to improve our collaborations. I also often attend events and participate in panels or share our vision through keynote speeches. I often travel to the countries where our local offices are based to coordinate political, financial and operational issues. I also visit public officers, human rights activists, managers of companies and officials of international organisations to develop partnerships, share our opinion on political issues and look for funding.

Could you tell us a little bit about your professional journey to date? I studied business administration in the 1990s. During my study I got interested in the new agenda of sustainable development that was formulated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This agenda included an important role for the private sector to contribute to solving environmental and social issues in society. In 1994 I organised a study tour with some fellow students to Costa Rica. We conducted field research for companies, the Dutch government and Dutch research institutes on sustainable development issues and managed to get the

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trip of four weeks financed.


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After this trip I set up a consultancy ďŹ rm with another student and friend and we worked for 2 years on market studies and business plan development for a number of clients in Holland and Costa Rica. This allowed us to travel a couple of times to Costa Rica. When I graduated I moved to Costa Rica and work for 8 years on a part-time assignment as a business consultant on corporate social responsibilities for KPMG and CEGESTI and part-time as an advisor on private sector and sustainable development for the Dutch Embassy for Central America. In 2004 I moved back to the Netherlands and worked ďŹ ve years as a senior program manager on sustainable commodities (coffee, soy, horticulture, oil seeds) and consumer behaviour in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. In 2009 I established my own social enterprise the BoP Innovation Center. Our aim was to develop together with the private sector new business model for extreme poor people, the so-called Base of the Pyramid. Together with multinational enterprises such as Unilever, DSM and Philips we developed new products and services to improve food security, the access to renewable energy, health and mobility. In 2015 I handed over the management and assumed the responsibility as Director for Hivos Latin America and the Caribbean. Which cause are you most passionate about and why? Enabling people to develop their dreams and improve their well-being. I think every individual has the capacity to dream and reach their ambition. Some people life under better conditions than others, so it is great to help less privileged to improve their living conditions, so they can explore their own potential and further develop themselves. When did you discover you were a lesbian? How was your experience when you came out of the closet? When I was a teenager. This was in the 80s in The Netherlands, the period of the second feminist movement. My mother would take me to so-called "women cafes and discos" and there I met all kind of women, among other lesbians. At a certain moment I met one woman with whom I fell in love. We had a love relationship for almost 5 years. How would you describe yourself?

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I am an analytical entrepreneur, a social innovator, very positive, an initiator but not a ďŹ nisher. In my private relations I am very faithful, full of passion, I like to spend time with my family and friends, but also love to be in my private space enjoying nature and music.


INTERVIEW MYRTILLE DANSE

I want to contribute to changes in society but am also realistic that the challenges are big and that I should be happy contributing with a small drop, as all drops help to stop the ďŹ re. What do you like to do in your free time? I love to be in nature hiking, swimming, kayaking or be on boats. I love music, possibly original music from all around the world. I am passionate about travelling, getting to know new places, if possible with my kids and partner. But I also love to spend time with our friends, prepare and eat delicious food, have passionate discussions about all kind of societal issues, and to dance. You have been living in Costa Rica for many years. What life event brought you there? Im am linked to Costa Rica since 1994. I have now lived for 11 years in total in Costa Rica, with an interruption of 10 years in which we lived in the Netherlands. Together with some students of my university we organized a study tour on sustainable development to Costa Rica in 1994. For four weeks we worked on a couple of assignments for which we had received money that made it possible to travel, and during each weekend we visited one part of the country. We swam under waterfalls, we went rafting on rivers, we walked under the rain else. You can imagine that during that visit I fell in love with the country and its people.

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in tropical forests, we rode horses on the beach, and we danced every night somewhere


DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

You are married to a woman and have three children, in a country where same-sex marriage has not yet been legalized. What has your personal experience been, and what obstacles have you faced as a lesbian woman in Costa Rica? In Costa Rica people are not very open about their sexual orientation. Nevertheless, people respect our relationship and act in a normal way. As long as you don’t express your sexual preference too obviously people will treat you in a 'normal' way. However, we don’t have the right to get married in Costa Rica, and our foreign marriage is not yet recognized by local law as it does not offer the possibility to same-sex couples to legally formalise their union. This implies that our underage children and I cannot get a local residence visa based on our family relationship. I can neither safeguard the pension of my partner. In the past it would not be possible to visit your partner in the hospital, but I think that changed recently. And my partner is not able to get the adoption of the children being recognized in the country. As a lesbian woman, how did you go about becoming a mother? What possibilities and resources were available for you to embrace motherhood? We have chosen to get pregnant by a known donor. The medical arrangements to make this happen where taken care of in the Netherlands where we lived at that time and where we benefited from health insurance coverage and medical aid support. How was your decision received by your friends and relatives? In a very positive way. This year significant developments have taken place in Latin America regarding same-sex marriages and LGBT rights, following the Inter-American Court's Advisory Opinion which declared same-sex marriages a fundamental right as guaranteed by the American Convention of Human Rights. What are your hopes about the future of

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same-sex marriages and LGBT rights in general in Latin America?


minorities and heterosexuals will be removed, so we all have the opportunity to benefit from the same rights. It is not fair and unacceptable that we are treated in a different way just for the choice we make with whom we want to have a sexual relation and share our private life. This choice doesn’t affect other people at all, and for this reason it is really weird and worrisome that parts of the hetero sexual population as well as religious people defend this discrimination.

INTERVIEW MYRTILLE DANSE

My hope is that same sex marriages and all differences in regulation between sexual

I hope that the change we will experience will not only happen at an institutional and regulatory level but also at a more personal level and that people in Latin America will become more open minded on the beauty of living in harmony with different cultures, gender, sexual oriented groups, and that a more inclusive society reduces violence, aggression, frustration and other negative feelings that prevent us from being happy, and creating a prosperous society. Based on both your professional expertise and personal experience from living in the region, what is the greatest challenge women face in Latin America? Violence and discrimination. What are your hopes for the ELLA International Lesbian Conference that will take place in San José next year? Joy, inspiration, new contacts, new vibes within the local lesbian movements to innovate the way they try to promote change, access to resources (knowledge, contacts, funding) for the local lesbian community to continue working on creating better conditions for their constituency. What advice would you like to give to lesbian women who are afraid of coming out? Be sure you are not the only one, look for women like you so you don’t feel alone, you can feel inspired and you can learn from them how to further develop yourself and be happy

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as a lesbian.


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Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years as a mother, partner, working professional, and as a woman? After both my parents passed away, I became aware that planning so much ahead in life doesn’t make sense and would often create stress and discomfort for me. For this reason, I tend to plan my personal dreams and ambitions for not more than one year ahead. I try to check with myself what is important for me to feel happy, which are my personal dreams, and try to define targets I would like to reach at the end of the year. I make an effort to reach them, but I don’t feel frustrated if I don’t reach them all. At this stage of my life, what is important for me is to find the right balance between my private life in which I want to provide a loving and stimulating environment for my partner, children, family and friends, and my professional life in which I want to share my experiences with my colleagues, develop strategies together with them to increase impact, and to explore new business models both for the organisation I work in as well as the organisations I work together with. At a very private level, I really enjoy feeling grounded and more reflective. I feel happy with myself and enjoy the things that go well and explore the things that feel uncomfortable to see how I can do them in a different way. You lived for many years in Costa Rica, do you plan to stay there for good or do you consider returning to the Netherlands in the near future? And if yes, why? I love living in Costa Rica and the Netherlands. Both countries have so many beautiful things to offer. I will live in the country that fits best to my own needs and the once of my family. If this brings me to another country, I am also open for that. If I can do it from Costa Rica, that is also great. How do you feel as a Dutch lady living in Costa Rica? What do you like and what do you dislike about it? Costa Rica is a great place to be. Quality of life is really good, and the culture and way people interact with each other is really nice. We as North European people can learn a lot from their warm way of interacting, care for their family and co-citizens, flexibility to

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respond to unexpected situations in life. But when you live abroad there are always things you miss from your own country, people and culture. I miss the four seasons sometimes. To see the colors of the trees change in autumn and to feel the cold wind on


long and in-depth conversations with my dearest friends. And I would love for Costaricans to be sometimes a bit more straight forward in their feelings and opinions, as it helps to ďŹ nd solutions for challenges together. I also would like to see that LGBTI rights will be respected, and that we will enjoy the same rights as others in society. Please tell us about a personal event which particularly marked you in your life. The death of my parents as it made me aware that life is short and can stop all of a

INTERVIEW MYRTILLE DANSE

your face. The surprise of snow falling and the explosion of new life in spring time. The

sudden. You really should life each day as if it is the last one. What are your dreams? If you could choose - what would you like to happen in your life? I hope my children stay healthy and develop themselves as happy, independent, social and inspirational adults. I hope I will be able to share my life with my partner for many more years. And I hope that the current trend of discrimination, greed and short term thinking changes, and that there are every time more young, inspirational leaders in the public, private and social sector whom will contribute to creating a more inclusive and environmental friendly world, so my children and my children’s children are able to enjoy peace, nature

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and health in the same way as I was able to enjoy it up to now in my life.


DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

INTERVIEW: EMMA A. CHACÓN / COLECTIVA IRREVERSIBLES

You are the founder of the association Colectiva IrreversibLes. Could you tell us a bit about how you set up a lesbian women’s rights organisation in Costa Rica? I founded it with other friends in November 2011. It has not been easy, I spent several years trying to establish a specific organisation of and for lesbians, that represents our needs, makes an impact on public policies so that the specificity of being lesbian is taken into account and receives the necessary attention. There is also the very important issue of rescuing our historical memory, that history, both of our movement, and about our peers; this you cannot find in the official history books. It involved talking with many peers, making several calls to get things going, until I managed to have three friends from the National University (we studied the same career), and three other friends, interested. Finally, we got together and started the journey of founding the Collective, we defined the name and the organisation’s objectives, which established the direction and given us the way forward. What have been de the greatest challenges of the lesbian movement in Costa Rica and Latin America? I would say that there have been many, and very similar throughout the region: gaining

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visibility of our existence; un-doing myths, stereotypes and taboos of between what a lesbian is thought to be and what it means to be a lesbian. Building our own identity, creating positive references, and the recognition of our rights and access to public health services, education, employment, housing, matrimony, as women, lesbians and other intersectional aspects that make up our identities such as:


background, just to mention a few. We also face the challenge of being able to evidence the discrimination we face, as lesbian women are made invisible. In my opinion, this form of discrimination and rendering lesbian women invisible is structural as we are a threat to the system. What role does the lesbian women play within the LGBTI movement?

INTERVIEW EMMA A. CHACÓN

being of afro or indigenous descent, maternity, being from a rural area, social economic

In my opinion lesbian women remain in the background, almost invisible. The main protagonists in the LGBTI movement are gay men and trans women, not because lesbians don’t fight, but because within the movement there is a reproduction of the patriarchal and macho system. With so much diversity the specificity is lost and even more so if you are a woman who disrupts the patriarchal system. For example, when the recognition of equal marriage is raised, there are those who define it as gay marriage and in the collective imagination it is referred to the existence of couples between men only. When did you know that you liked women? Could you tell us about your experience when you came out of the closet? When I was about five years old, I had a recurring dream: I dreamt that I was getting married with my classmate from kindergarten school. Since I had no reference other than the heterosexual one, I blamed it on the Catholic church. She was wearing a white dress and I was wearing a dark suit, and the most sexual thing I could imagine was to hold her hand. I did not even think about kissing her, maybe just on the cheek. This is where I realised that something was happening to me that I could not tell anyone, because I knew that somehow it was not ‘normal’, that it was ‘bad’. I never spoke about those dreams until a few years ago. But that "taste" for women followed me into my adolescence. I even consulted a psychologist, who told me that bisexuality was a normal stage in adolescence and that it would pass. Because in those days my life was so complex, I turned my energy and focus to develop my political life: I campaigned with the Youth of the Costa Rican People for peace in Central America. I discovered that I was in love with my "best friend" "boyfriends" as was expected of me, but I never took them seriously. For some of them I felt affection, but they were not what I really wanted.

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although I tried to justify those feelings for her in a thousand ways. And then I had


DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

Then I traveled for a year out of my country where I fell in love with another woman. Of course nothing happened, I only dreamt of her... Upon my return to Costa Rica, in my rational logic, I said to myself: "If I already kissed a man, I should now kiss a woman, to see what it feels like and figure out what I like more" (and I talk about kissing because I never had sexual relations with men, I was never interested in doing it); I did it and to be sure of what I felt, I said to myself again, "I already kissed a woman, now I should kiss a man again to see how I feel" and well I did that too. Result there was no doubt, I liked women and since then, I began to understand and accept it. I was about 18 years old. And as I carry activism in my veins, the first thing I did was to contact the lesbian feminist group Las Entendidas, because I wanted to join them and take part in the struggle for my condition as a woman, as a feminist, as a lesbian. I was 19 years old and it was clear to me that we had a great struggle ahead of us to obtain respect and our rights, and this led me to become an organiser for the second Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Encounter, held in Costa Rica in 1990. I mention this because as a result of taking part in that event, my mother was informed of my attendance. She confronted me and for me this was my "coming out". It was not easy at almost 20 years of age, at the beginning of the nineties, for a mother to accept that I was a lesbian and that that was the life that made me happy. But it was good that it happened, as since that time I can freely express my sexual orientation.

Being an openly lesbian woman in Costa Rica, have you suffered much discrimination in the social and professional spheres? I believe that I have suffered discrimination and it was manifested in different ways. The first that I remember explicitly, was in 2009, when I applied for a candidacy for deputation. A note was circulated among those who had to vote choose that said "Remember that Emma is a lesbian". Four years later, in 2013, I present my candidacy again and I was told that because I was a lesbian I did not have much support and finally I was not elected. Another manifestation of discrimination has been in the workplace, where I was being 42

harassed. This became evident after I participated as a special guest, in 2014, in the hoisting of the diversity banner in the Ministry of Culture for the first time, which led to a labor transfer.


feminist lesbian status and maybe I have not been able to recognise them, because often discrimination is experienced as something "normalised" or you no longer know if it is because you are a woman or a lesbian or Feminist or all the previous ones ... What I have felt are attitudes that show levels of lesbophobia. After many experiences and years of struggle, it is clear it is clear that the problem is lies with lesbophobic person, not against an individual per se.

INTERVIEW EMMA A. CHACĂ“N

Finally, I may have experienced other manifestations of discrimination because of my

Do you have any memories or personal experience that marked you significantly? I consider myself a daughter of the struggles for peace in Central America, which took place in the eighties, as well as the heir of a long family trajectory of being on the side of social justice, dialogue, equality, non-discrimination and respect; which has led me to be an activist, politician and be involved in social movements since my adolescence and all this has led me to have many moments that have marked me, but today I can point to two speciďŹ c moments. In April 1990, at the second Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Lesbian Encounter (ELFLAC II), the ďŹ rst time I took part in an event that was attended by lesbians from many countries, a space to share, talk about and from us, from our needs, of our rights, of our forms of organisation and how to face the violence we are subjected to, from the State, the media, from religious hierarchies. This was an experience that culminated with the explicit manifestation of violence. During the last night, when we were about to start the closing session of the event, we were attacked by a rain of stones and balls by a group of

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men who threatened to enter the venue.


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It was a difficult time, that filled me with fright, of feeling unprotected, even though we were about 200 lesbians. But I came out with more conviction, with more energy and strength. I knew that that the struggle would not be easy, but that it was the right one; we must keep gathering, we can build a better world for all people. The system reacted because it tried to keep us silent, to ensure that we did not become visible or get together, as we realised that together we can do a lot. April 2015, 25 years after the ELFLAC II, I presented the report "A historical memory of the Costa Rican lesbian movement from 1970 to 2014" at the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica, in the Benefit Room at full capacity. This was a dream fulfilled, to tell our story through the narrative of 26 women, about what our organisational forms and struggles for our rights have been. But above all, to be able to leave a document that shows that we have arrived here, because there have been many other lesbians who have fought, who have risked their lives, so that we, and perhaps the youngest ones, can enjoy walking in the street holding hands, to be able to express their affections in public; that other lesbians, before us, already opened the way for us and that we continue to open paths for future generations. That, even 25 years before, the same State persecuted us and that, 25 years later, we could be openly and publicly presenting a report on the history of the lesbian struggle. It has simply been one of the most significant moments, on a personal level, as an activist, as a lesbian and as a feminist.

In Costa Rica, marriage equality is not yet legal or recognized. How does the absence of this fundamental right impact lesbian couples? It has terrible impacts on the lives of lesbians, because we have already had situations where one of the couple is hospitalised and the family members do not allow the partner to enter, even some have not been able to say goodbye to their partners, or attend a funeral. Many others have had their assets seized upon becoming a widow, assets that were built together with their deceased partner. Others have not been able to claim their economic rights, at the end of the relationship, when the patrimony has been constituted by both. Those living in poverty have not been 44

able to access State benefits, such as accessing housing loans. In other situations, when there are daughters and sons and the biological mother dies or the parents separate, there is no protection so that they can continue to be a family.


INTERVIEW EMMA A. CHACĂ“N

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian women's rights in your country? Do you believe that they will achieve equality? Well ... hope is the last thing that is lost ... I think that we will obtain equality. I believe that even if the road is long, it is less long than it was 30 years ago. We are at a complicated political moment in Costa Rica, with some fundamentalist, backward and opportunist deputies; as well as some magistrates who do not believe in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, because they do not follow their resolutions or answers, when it comes to the human rights of women or LGBTI populations. But I do believe that equality will be achieved, because societies, in principle, evolve.

What advice would you like to give to women who are afraid to come out of the closet? First I would say: that I understand your fear, that your decision is respected. But I would also tell you that life must be lived without fear, that it is best to be honest with yourself, that coming out is liberating, that not all people will react positively, but that over time you will realise that freedom is better than living in hiding. To those for whom it is not possible to do so, because of the environment they live in,

I would like to let them know that they can count on me, and count on those who cannot ďŹ ght, so that one day we can all be free and happy.

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someone close to you who will love you for who you are. I will ďŹ ght for all


DOSSIER ELLA COSTA RICA

INTERVIEW: RUTH LINARES HIDALGO / PRESIDENTE ICW COSTA RICA

What led you to fight for the rights of women living with HIV? In my soul this fight bears a name: Luis Felipe. You have made important advances in public health policies and the rights of women living with HIV in Costa Rica. Could you tell us briefly about the most important events and achievements of this inspiring story? Our organisation was born in 1999 and legally constituted in 2004. We achieved inter-institutional agreements with the main government institutions such as INAMU (National Women’s Institut), C.C.S.S. (Social Security), IAFA (Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence), among others. We are referents in political advocacy processes in those spaces where the decisions that affect our humanity are made. From the Executive Branch we achieved the signing of several executive directives and decrees for the benefit of the population living with HIV, in poverty and extreme poverty and gained the effective and integral attention of the C.C.S.S. We participated in the elaboration of guidelines to carry out a rapid HIV screening test for

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the high-risk population, among others. From the legislative power we obtained the unanimous affirmative opinion of the Human Rights Commission to include in the substitute text 19243 of the reform of the HIV law,


es, human rights and non-human rights, and violence against women. We are moving forward with this motion until it is official instituted as law. What does your work as President of ICW Costa Rica consist of? Being President of ICW-COSTA RICA is seeing a dream come true. Every effort made over the past 20 years has made it possible to: Respond to the lack of support, information and services available specifically for women and promote the participation of our members in the development of policies. We build a

INTERVIEW TO RUTH LINARES HIDALGO

the motions that include sexual and reproductive health, referral and reference process-

network of empowered women. We empower ourselves regarding life, politics, social culture; we prepare ourselves with tools to solve our needs and influence where the decisions that define our humanity are made. Strengthen community work with ICW’s self-support and empowerment groups in the 7 provinces of Costa Rica. Implement a model of political advocacy with women living with HIV at the national level and with local governments to defend their human, sexual and reproductive rights in the face of any form of discrimination and violence. Carry out prevention and awareness campaigns on human, sexual and reproductive rights for HIV prevention, discrimination and violence against women. Establish inter-institutional agreements including the CCSS, clinics and HIV care commissions that provide opportunities for women living with HIV to improve and develop their quality of life. Part of the activities of ICW Costa Rica include the 'Game of Life' workshops led by Empowerment Groups that are replicated in several provinces across the country. The workshops offer women living with HIV psychological support that allows them to accept their diagnosis and regain hope in life. What makes this project so successful? The success of this project is due to the methodology used, which touches the core and path of their lives.

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the reality of the life of each of the participants and gives them tools to find light in the


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This added to the fact that most of the women here come from many situations of repression, violence, little listening and attention given to them. The simplicity of the program means that, for the first time, the inner child can express herself, can speak and reflect on her fears and the obstacles that she herself has imposed. How has your experience been as a woman living with HIV who occupies a public and political position in your country? I consider myself a successful woman, I am clear about my path, I believe in what I do and I prefer to make mistakes rather than doing nothing out of fear. My work in the public and political sector is not the product of a "diagnosis" but of my work and the experience of almost 20 years as an activist and leader in the defense of human, sexual and reproductive rights and the fight against violence against women. Women living with HIV are often victims of exclusion, discrimination and violence. What advice would you give the lesbian community to strengthen their community in the face of the exclusion and discrimination that lesbian women experience? I would tell them: Trust in the power they have as women; build their life projects based on their dreams and convictions, that their lives are not defined by what others will say, nor by their sexual preferences; that when they write their life story, it does not matter if the sheet is blank, or which chapter they are writing; NEVER, under any circumstances, allow anyone else to hold the pen. In your opinion, how do you see the situation of gender equality in the Central American region and beyond? How does inequality affect the most vulnerable and excluded women? The reality and context of our region, regarding the equality of women, is not always reflected. We are unaware of the difficult economic, political and social conditions that our countries are going through, which are expressed in the deepening of poverty and

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inequality, and the crises of our political crises, democratic and financial system. The only reference made to women's rights is the one of economic growth and sustainable development. However the human rights dimension is ignored, which is the basis for gender equality.


the persecution and violence they suffer by demanding respect for their rights to land, territory, production and natural resources, including the total protection of indigenous people. We must ensure access to a public, universal, comprehensive, secular, inclusive, quality education to people throughout their lives, seeking to overcome patriarchy, gender stereotypes, and multiple forms of discrimination and violence against girls, adolescents and women, as well as adopting policies to avoid early school abandonment, early pregnancy and early marriages, which impact on life projects, access to adequate living conditions and labor and social inclusion.

INTERVIEW TO RUTH LINARES HIDALGO

States must protect human rights defenders and the environment, and severely punish

The region is experiencing a humanitarian crisis marked by waves of migration that must be recognised and addressed with policies that are based on solidarity with gender, race and age. Women's and feminist organisations must continue to raise the flag and demand from the governments of the region to commit to leave no one behind, let alone half of the population - women and girls.

What are your expectations for the ELLA Inspiring International Lesbian Conference that will be held in May 2019 in Costa Rica? I hope that the event will highlight the reality of women living with HIV and establish sorority partnerships and alliances that will work to transform the reality of women in

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Latin America.


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INTERVIEW: ANA VEGA / OWNER OF THE LGBT DISCOTHEQUE “LA AVISPA” SINCE 1979

What led you to open the doors of nightclub La Avispa to the LGTBI community of San José? It opened in 1979, where it began to be frequented by a predominantly feminine clientele. What have been the reactions of the public, and the main obstacles in running an openly 'gay' business in San José? At first the environment was difficult - society did not accept homosexuality. The police entered and took us to jail, accusing us of indecency. When did you know that you like women? Tell us about your experience when you came out of the closet. Since I was little I was attracted to women. When I was 18 I came out of the closet. It was not easy. I left my family nucleus because they did not accept me as a lesbian and went to live with my first partner. In your opinion, can LGBTI people express themselves freely in San José and outside 50

of the city? Yes, it has been a tough struggle, especially with religious fundamentalism present. But there is freedom of expression.


transgender women in Costa Rica? Obtain greater visibility in our daily lives. Being the owner of a successful business, a woman, and openly lesbian in Costa Rica,

INTERVIEW ANA VEGA

What remains to be done to improve the rights and daily life of lesbian, bisexual and

it’s safe to say that you are a very strong and brave person. How do you maintain such determination and fighting spirit? What motivates you most to carry on as owner of your business? It has been 39 years of struggle, sorrow and joy. My greatest satisfaction is to have built a space of hope for a community is expressing itself with greater freedom, day after day. Is there a particular hobby or activity that you enjoy in your free time? I like hiking and swimming. Music is one f your biggest passions. In your opinion, what role can music play in advancing social movements, and specially the LGBTI movement? Music is life and strength. Music has instigated many social changes and movements by touching our humanity. What is your favourite music? Trova, Spanish rock, salsa and jazz. What advice would you like to give to lesbian women in Costa Rica who are afraid to come out of the closet? We need to fight patriarchy, we deserve to be happy, love and be loved. We shouldn’t lock

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up our dreams and happiness in a closet.




28.03 - 02.04.2019

ELLA WINTER DAVOS #2 THE ELLA FESTIVAL IN SWITZERLAND