Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Workshop with Dunia Orellana on Sexual Diversity in Honduras

Dunia Orellana's icebreaker for her workshop on "Diversity in Honduras"

OYE received a visit from Dunia Orellana, a 28-year-old human rights activist, film student, and journalist from La Prensa (Honduras’s most widely read newspaper). Dunia came to speak with local youth about the topic of diversity in Honduras, with a focus on sexual diversity. Dunia began the workshop with an icebreaker in which each of the participants split up by month of birth and shared their interests to the rest of the group. The icebreaker went to show how different each and every person was at the workshop and proved why diversity is such an important topic of conversation.

After the icebreaker, Dunia was very explicit in explaining the forum was one for openness and dialogue where all people of whatever religious or political backgrounds were welcome to share their opinions and beliefs. She initiated the dialogue on sexual diversity by detailing certain relevant rights in the Honduran constitution, such as the right to the sanctity of life and the freedom of expression.

Dunia getting to know local youth from OYE and Comvida
"All people have the right to express their sexuality openly, just as they have the right to choose not to express their sexuality,” Dunia said. “And we have to be respectful of whatever choice they make.” 
Dunia mentioned that Honduras is an at-risk country for transgender people, since a disproportionate number of transgender individuals have been murdered over the past five years compared to homicide rates in other countries.

Participating youth launched into a conversation about a topic that is covered almost daily in Honduran media – the debate over whether or not to allow Ricky Martin, an openly gay popstar, to enter the country to give his concert in Tegucigalpa on October 16, 2011. The Evangelical Church submitted a request to the state to deny allowing Ricky Martin to enter the country, arguing that his presence could have a negative impact on Honduran youth. The government has since stated that not allowing Ricky Martin to perform would be "an act of intolerance and a condemnable act of homophobia."

Dunia and local youth engaging in dialogue about sexual identity and diversity

Dunia helped participating youth analyze the issue from a constitutional perspective, using the freedom of expression to show that an artist does have the right to express his or herself freely in Honduras. Youth agreed, with some arguing that because Ricky Martin has been giving concerts around the world ever since he was a teenager (and well before he “came out”) that it would be unfair to misconstrue his impact as an artist simply because he is now openly gay.

The dialogue shifted to other topics, including discrimination in schools, the failure of parents to have serious and adult discussions about sexuality with their children, and the beauty of diversity in varying contexts in Honduras and around the world.

More icebreakers with Dunia! 
Overall, the workshop was a fantastic opportunity to hear from a local and promising leader who fights on daily basis to make her country a more equal and more democratic place that respects the rights and liberties of all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or any other social status. Many thanks to Dunia for coming to OYE and for providing the youth of El Progreso with such and enriching experience.

A day of thought and dialogue among young Honduran leaders.

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