The colors of the LGBTI movement lit up the Carondelet presidential palace Monday night in a show of support for International LGBTI + Pride Day. President Guillermo Lasso, who ordered the display, tweeted that his new government is committed to “building a more equitable and just society that respects those with diverse sexual and gender orientations.”
Under directions from Lasso, Ecuador’s Secretary for Human Rights Bernarda Ordoñez announced the creation of the Undersecretariat for Diversities to develop a public policy that respects sexual orientation and gender identity. “We will build the policy together, and we will work to create a society without violence or discrimination and provide training against sexual discrimination in workplaces with protocols for equality and non-discrimination in public and private institutions,” she said. “We will work in concert with the LGBTI + community to create an atmosphere of dignity and fairness.”
Felipe Ochoa, appointed by Ordoñez as the first Undersecretary for Diversities, said one of his first priorities is to shut down so-called de-homosexualization therapy clinics and to criminalize any activity that attempts to change sexual orientation. The clinics, which are common in Ecuador and throughout Latin America, have gained international attention in recent years for their coercive and sometimes violent methods to change sexual preferences. Ochoa also said he is beginning a series of meetings with government officials to present his office’s new agenda.
LGBTI + leaders expressed appreciation to Lasso for honoring its movement. “Isn’t it strange that it takes a so-called conservative president to recognize and respect our issues,” said Juan Iglesias of the Quito LGBTI Collective. “During the last 15 years, with leftist and centrist presidents, we have been disrespected and ignored. Now, we finally get respect.”