Sunday, December 20, 2015

Lesbian Pride Day - 19 August 1983

The modern Lesbian Moviment in Brazil started circa 1979 along with the Gay Movement as part of a group called Somos (We Are) that was inspired by a pioneer Argentine gay group that had existed in the 1970s. 

By mid-1980 there was a political split at Somos and its Lesbian-Feminist faction went its own independent way. Somos actually split in three: the male right-wing faction left Somos and started a group they called Chicorias (chicory); the male left-wing faction kept the name Somos and finally the formerly 'section' known as Lesbico-Feminista went their separate way. 

Ferro's Bar had been known as a Lesbian haunt since the late 1950s. Ferro's was actually a restaurant that opened its doors for lunch and kept long hours. Women would arrived early, sit at the many tables and linger on for hours. Some ordered pizzas and full dinners but most only drank their booze and talk with an never-ending procession of characters. 

With the advent of the Gay & Lesbian Liberation Movements circa 1978-1979 it was only natural that politically oriented lesbians would be more assertive and talk politics at Ferro's. By 1983, Lesbico-Feminista had been active for 3 years. 

Brazil had been living under a right-wing military dictatorship since April 1964. The regime did not approve of people talking about 'political' stuff and the commercial elite would follow the line laid down by the generals. So when Ferro's Bar owner saw that Lesbians were talking about sexual politics and handing out their newsletter 'Chana-com-chana' (loosely translated as 'cunt-with-cunt') he decided he did not want those sort of Lesbians in his bar-restaurant.

That's when a few girls decided to go all the way and checkmate Ferro's Bar repressive and anti-democratic stance. They rang members of the local media and told them some Lesbians would 'invade' Ferro's Bar and read a manifesto to its patrons.

Roseli Roth was the one who read the manifesto inside Ferro's Bar in the presence of the media. Ferro's Bar owner changed his stance for a while... at least while journalists and members of the media were there.

This simple event has been looked back as something really important in the Lesbian Movement history in the city of Sao Paulo and 19 August 1983 - the day Ferro's Bar was 'invaded' by a bunch of Lesbian revolutionaries - became Lesbian Pride Day

Roseli Roth talks with Ferro's Bar patrons while journalists (plump Carlos Brickman takes some precious notes)  keep watching the scene... on 19 August 1983.

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