Justice Fellowship Spotlight - Libertad & Pacha advocating for diverse women's rights in prison
Libertad & Pacha are LGBTQIA+ human rights defenders from Mexico City. They have been working at La Gozadera, a feminist cultural center, for the last five years.
Efforts to protect LGBTQIA+ rights have grown in Mexico, with discrimination against sexual orientation outlawed since 2003. Mexico is the second country in Latin America to implement such a law after Ecuador. Over half of Mexico’s 32 states recognize same-sex marriage and gender change. Despite this, queer people still frequently face public discrimination.
✨Fellowship outcomes & impact
It was through their advocacy work that Libertad & Pacha were introduced to a lesbian prisoner in Tepepan Prison in Mexico City. She had informed them of sexual and reproductive rights violations in the prison. During their SAHR fellowship, they established a relationship with the Tepepan prison authorities, documented the discrimination that occurs against lesbian prisoners, and prepared a strategy that allows them to fight such cases of violence through an intersectional approach. They also provided lesbian survivors with tools for self-care and social reintegration. As lesbian LGBTQIA+ activists, they want to help people like them overcome the discrimination through building a network of support for their LGBTQIA+ community.
✨Lived realities of sexual violence survivors
Lesbian inmates face sexual and reproductive rights violations while in prison. Lesbian couples are often bullied and forced to live in isolated prison conditions. Lesbian inmates who participated in the workshop during the fellowship, shared their lack of access to sanitary supplies during their monthly menstrual cycle.
The fellows learnt the need to distinguish between sexual and reproductive rights, particularly when working with women inmates. Inmates from the workshop also shared that they needed to fight for their rights and access to healthcare. In the future, the fellows now know their need to seek the help of an internal government ally before embarking on a project with the government to speed up the process and avoid any delays and costs arising from slow government follow-ups
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