ROMEO

Gay Underground – Argentina 

Argentina is one of the most gay-friendly countries in South America. Gay sex has been legal there since 1887, yes, we’re talking 130 years ago. They legalized same-sex marriage across the country in 2010, making Argentina the 10th country in the world to do so. The Capital City, Buenos Aires, is the ‘go-to’ destination for gay travelers in South America, and the men are gorgeous. You don’t have to take our word for it, you can see for yourself using our TRAVEL feature.

Adding to Argentina’s already impressive pro-gay attitude, they recently renamed a subway station in honor of an LGBTQ and AIDS activist, Carlos Jáuregui.

Carlos Jáuregui

Carlos was an Argentinian LGBT activist and probably the most high profile gay man in his country. Gay sex may have been legal since the 1800’s, but Argentina itself went through periods of intolerance and oppression to their gay communities. Carlos took up the fight to achieve acceptance and greater visibility. He was the first President of the Argentine Homosexual Community, and in 1992 he led the first ever pride parade in Buenos Aires. He was media savvy and used the exposure of his life in papers, on television, and in his book, to ‘make himself known’ and raise gay visibility. The brave humanitarian died of AIDS in 1996, at the age of 38. He was a hero, who achieved so much in his short life.

Renaming Santa Fé

Moving forward to 2016, in Argentina, the local council were tabling ideas to rename the Santa Fe station. A campaign was initiated to name it after Carlos Jáuregui. A young art activist, Daniel Arzola, created some beautiful graphic images of Carlos and made them available online. The graphic designs of Carlos were so good, the campaign approached Daniel and asked for permission to use his work in their bid. He gave them full permission saying, “that’s what he had made them for.”

Pictured artist Daniel Arzola admiring his work at Estación Jáuregui

And so the story goes, the campaign was successful; the subway was renamed Carlos Jáuregui and became the world’s first official gay subway station.

Renovation of the Station

Daniel Arzola was hired to create the artwork for the station and to be involved in its renovation. The subway is now filled with beautiful graphic art, highlighting the life and work of Carlos Jaúregui and many other depictions of gay people in a mural and in portraits. Thousands of commuters pass these beautiful works of art every day, helping to raise the visibility of the gay community, one of Carlos Jaúregui’s primary objectives in life. It was important to the artist, Daniel, that gay kids can also identify with the art.

The Artwork

The central piece is a 12×4 meter mural paying homage to Jáuregui. The steps on the stairs have been painted the colors of the rainbow, so a rainbow effect is literally spilling over the station. There are portraits and stills of various gay couples and singles, lesbians, gay men, and gender non-specific. The living art gallery in a subway is as inclusive and expressive as possible. Daniel is a fan of bright, captivating color and his graphics capture a mood that reflects the dynamic spirit of Jaúregui.

To add to the inclusive thinking of Buenos Aires, there are screens in the subway showing videos to raise awareness about sexual diversity and activist quotes, as well as information on how to report discrimination.

Shoulders of Giants

Carlos Jáuregui lived his life ‘out and proud’ fighting for gay rights. It is because of him and other heroes like him that some places in the world are safe for gay people to be themselves. This subway station sends a positive and beautiful message of acceptance and normalization to the people of Argentina and its visitors. Gay people are just like you and me; we’re people.

PLANETROMEO initiated  PLANETROMEO Foundation to help the gay heroes of today, who are already working to make the world a better place for all members of the LGBTI  community. We can’t change the world ourselves, but we can try to help and to initiate change.

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