“Marian was sentenced for being the couple's visible lesbian”

por Lucrecia Raimondi
Fotos: Juan Pablo Barrientos
29 de junio de 2019

On LGBT Pride Day, Mariana Gómez was victim of a miscarriage of justice. Judge Marta Yungano gave Mariana a suspended sentence of one year in prison for resisting arrest after kissing her wife in a public place. The judge also ordered Mariana to pay the cost of the trial.

On October 2, 2017, Mariana and Rocío were kissing and smoking at Constitución railway station’s entrance when a member of the staff approached them and ordered Marian to put her cigarette out, even though there were “no smoking” signs around. Minutes later, an overbearing police officer got involved. Referring to Marian as “pibe”, which is an Argentinean colloquial expression for “boy”, he grabbed Marian from her chest in order to arrest her. She tried to defend herself but the policeman called a female officer who took Marian from behind. In an attempt not to fall, Gómez grabbed her from the hair, pulling some locks out. Marian was then handcuffed and taken to the police station where the authorities opened a criminal case against her.

 

Almost two years later, Rocío and all the women, lesbians, trans and no-binaries that have come from different parts of the world to accompany Marian hope for the case to be dismissed. They also expect that the Justice System lived up to people’s rights in a country that, throughout the last decade, have been the first in Latin America to pass the Equalitarian Marriage Law and the Identity Gender Law. However, after 21 months and 3 days of trial, the Argentinean Justice System shows the contrary.

"The fact that Marian has been sentenced set a precedent for all those who want to walk freely holding hands with the person they like.”

 

“One of the prosecutors addressed Marian as Mariano, even though she perceives herself as a woman,” says Rocío. “This is a clear example of lack of gender perspective from the Criminal Oral Court. They haven’t rule against Marian, but against the entire LGBT community. The fact that Marian has been punished set a precedent for all those who want to walk freely holding hands with the person they like.”

 

How can you explain that you were sentence for kissing your wife?

Marian: It is a humiliation. The only thing the authorities want is to establish a patriarchal social system.

Rocío: Justice is a patriarchal system. The only one punished here was Marian because she is the couple’s visible lesbian.

How do you feel about having to show your marriage certificate in the trial, in order to prove that you are in a relationship?

R: It was an act of discrimination. Heterosexual couples aren’t asked to prove anything. It should be the same for us, and when I say “us”, I mean the whole LGBT community.

What consequences does Marian face after being sentenced?

R: If she is discriminated or abused in any way by the police, she can’t defend herself. If she does so, she has to serve one year in prison.

What does this ruling mean to the LGBT community?

R: Marian was forcibly strip-searched at the police station just because she kissed me in a public place. This is not an isolated case. We know about a lot of people who had been abused by the police, especially in the countryside. No person should be strip-searched while being detained by the police. They can only place their hands inside your pockets and feel around inside your collars, socks and shoes but they do not have the power to require that you to take off any clothing or the right to perform a body cavity search.

 

Marian’s attorney Lizandro Teszkiewicz will file an appeal to the Criminal Cassation Chamber. “If it is necessary, we’ll take the case before the Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice”, he declared. Teszkiewics understands that Marian was sentenced for her gender identity and not for committing a crime. “In Argentina, we are not going to tolerate the denial or restriction of our rights from the Justice System. We don’t accept the existence of second-class citizens”, he pointed out.