David Contreras / Venezuela
“My boyfriend and I wanted to rent a room at the Hotel American Dallas (Caracas, Venezuela), so I called to see if there were any rooms available. I was attended by a woman, who said “yes”. I thanked her and we went there.
We entered the hotel and went to the receptionist. I told her that I was the one who had called her. But when I mentioned that the room was for my boyfriend and me, she suddenly tells me that they had no room available. So, I asked her why then did she tell me on the phone just 10 minutes ago that she did have it and now that there was nothing. She got really upset and she told me that she hadn’t said that and she couldn’t do anything because they didn’t have more available. We don’t continue insisting and we left there.
But I was left with the doubt, so I called again. The same lady attended me. I pretended that I was someone else and asked if they had a room available for two. She answered “yes”. As we were still in the hotel parking lot, we got out of the car again and went back to the reception. I knew something was up.
We entered the reception and the lady was still there. I told her that I had just called her back and she said that there was a room available. So, I asked her what was happening and the lady didn’t even want to attend to me.
He called a man behind the counter, who I told him we wanted to rent a room for a few hours and asked him if they had any available. He answered us “yes”, that we could rent but one room each, that he couldn’t give us the same room.
We couldn’t believe what was happening. We told him that we wanted just one for the two of us, that it didn’t work for us that way. The man told us that if we brought a girl he could rent us only one room, otherwise we had to rent two separately. We got really upset and left there.”
In Venezuela, LGBTI people have no protection. In a country where lesbophobia, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia still prevail, there are no regulations that prohibit incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Article 21 of the Constitution, which establishes that ‘all persons are equal before the law’, does not expressly include the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It only prohibits those ‘based on race, sex, creed, and social status.’
In Venezuela a rule that penalizes homosexuality is still in force. It is about article 565 of the Organic Code of Military Justice, included within the chapter On Cowardice and other Crimes against Military Decorum, which establishes that ‘any military person who commits unnatural sexual acts’ will be ‘punished with imprisonment from one to three years and separation from the Armed Forces’.