The European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) held its First LGBTIQ Meeting in Santiago de Compostela, between 15 and 17 November 2018. It was attended by representatives of various European agricultural organizations that are part of ECVC, from countries such as Euskal Herria, Andalusia, Germany, Austria, Norway, Belgium, and Great Britain, in addition to the host: the Syndicate Labrego Galego, from Galicia.
WATCH A SHORT VIDEO FROM THIS MEETING, EXPLAINING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LGBTQ STRUGGLE WITHIN THE EUROPEAN PEASANT MOVEMENT AND OUR RURAL AREAS
“Often our agendas of demands and struggles target the outside world, thanks to which, we achieve important reforms and victories for society. But many times we also forget to look inwards: inside of our organisations and within individuals. And, in our view, it is fundamental to look at people as well, not as isolated and individualistic beings, as the capitalist system pretends, but as fundamental and essential pieces for the construction of our movement as a whole. From this perspective, we need to deal with issues such as affection, emotions or sexuality, so that, as the feminist and anti-patriarchal movement that we are, we can also include the complete diversity of the political subjects that form part of La Via Campesina.” It was with these words that Paula Gioia, member of ECVC’s Coordinating Committee, framed the meeting.
Further developing the motives of this meeting, Paula Gioia added that “one of the main objectives here is the creation, within ECVC, of a space for LGBTIQ people to dialogue and exchange from and of our common reality“.
Ángel Amaro, an LGBTIQ activist from Galicia, also spoke about the creation of spaces to integrate and transversalize sexual and gender diversity in the agrarian organizations of ECVC, for whom “beyond the fact that we remain limited in the green, red or violet struggle; we need to find another type of methodology that integrates all of us.”
“For the SLG, the rights of women or LGBTIQ people have the same importance as those struggles demanding decent prices.”
In the press conference presenting the 1st ECVC LGBTIQ Meeting, Isabel Vilalba Seivane, secretary general of the Galician Farm Workers Union (SLG), also spoke, arguing the importance of defending sexual diversity as a fundamental issue for the SLG: “In its 45 years of existance, the Sindicato Labrego Galego committed itself to diverse causes linked to the territory and the peasant profession: from the defense of the land in conflicts such as As Encrobas, to the struggle for our dairy sector’s right to produce after Spain’s entry into the EEC. Many of these struggles were born from the aspiration of people to be able to live with dignity from peasant work in an environment that wouldn’t be hostile to them. Shortly afterwards, the women needed their own demanding agenda and, from there, the Women’s Secretariat of the SLG was born almost thirty years ago. Thanks to struggles like the feminist, we saw that the economic system was not the only one oppressing peasants, but that there were also other oppressive structures present, like heteropatriarchy. For this reason, the rights of women or LGBTIQ people are just as important to us as other struggles such as demanding decent prices because, in one way or another, with any of these causes, we are defending people’s lives and dignity.”
In addition to internal exchanges, there were three debates open to the public: “Neofascism and pink capitalism: How to dismantle pinkwashing?“with Daniela Ferrández (Transamizando) and Ángel Amaro (LGBTIQ activist); “Accords and discords between the LGBTIQ movement and the feminist movement“, with Ximena González (World March of Women); and “History of the LGBTIQ movement and future challenges for a transformative sexual diversity agenda“, with Laura Bugalho (LGBTIQ activist, transfeminist and in favor of migrants). The participation of all these activists enabled a rich exchange of ideas between ECVC and the LGBTIQ movement.