Argentina marks ninth Ni Una Menos anniversary: ‘It’s not freedom, it’s patriarchal violence’

Protesters condemned government austerity, anti-LGBTQIA+ hate speech, and setbacks in policies tackling gender-based violence

Thousands marched nationwide for the ninth annual Ni Una Menos — Not One Less — march on Monday. In a chilly Buenos Aires, social organizations, neighborhood assemblies, and independent protesters gathered in front of Congress to condemn government austerity measures, setbacks in policies targeting gender-based violence, hate speech against the LGBTQIA+ community, and the continued high number of femicides.

Argentina has seen 127 misogynist murders of women and girls due to their gender between January 1 and May 31, according to the femicide observatory at the La Casa del Encuentro non-governmental organization. Breaking down the numbers the observatory specified that the stats included three lesbicides and one transfemicide.

Since President Javier Milei took office, programs aimed at tackling gender-based violence have been put on ice with deep budget cuts and mass layoffs. There has been a purposeful targeting of progressive policies, with multiple discursive attacks against abortion and integral sex education since the campaign, and the closing of key spaces for protecting women and marginalized genders such as the former Ministry of Women, Genders, and Diversity and the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism.

Photo: Mariano Fuchila

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The central slogans of this year’s Ni Una Menos march were “It’s not freedom, it’s patriarchal violence” and “the Barracas massacre was lesbicide.” The phrases give explicit support to the LGBTQIA+ community that has been deeply affected by the brutal attack on two lesbian couples who were set alight while they slept on May 6. Three died of their injuries and the sole survivor, Sofía, has nowhere to go: Ni Una Menos has coordinated community funding to help cover the funeral costs and raise money for Sofía.

“They are victims of a massacre of hate against lesbians, victims of a cisheteronormative system that encourages and constantly accompanies these well-planned outcomes,” said Luciana Mina, reading a statement on behalf of Autoconvocades Lesbianes por Barracas (Independent Lesbians for Barracas) on the stage in front of Congress. For many, hate speech from high-profile politicians has heightened violence against the community since the new administration came to power.

“As a group, we are here at the head of the march for the first time and we want to speak out, and raise awareness that those massacred in Barracas were lesbians. We want to break through the media blockade but also the general siege of silence, the siege of prejudice: we must break all the silences about the types of violence that threaten us. We exist because we resist, but we must not only resist, but also move forward together! It is time to move forward!”

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Photo: Mariano Fuchila

There were multiple tributes to the beloved Mother of Plaza de Mayo Nora Morales de Cortiñas, better known as “Norita.” She passed away on Thursday at the age of 94 after decades of searching for her son, Gustavo, and consistent intersectional activism that earned her the nickname “the mother of all battles.”

“This lesbo-transfeminist plaza says goodbye to the mother that taught us how to fight. With whom we all call for the declassification of military archives from 1974-1983, a demand we continue to fight for on the streets,” said Sabrina Bölcke, an activist with H.I.J.O.S., an organization founded by children of the dictatorship’s victims. She was attacked by supporters of the ruling coalition La Libertad Avanza in March. 

“Dear Norita, we commit ourselves not to lower our arms until we conquer that world for the popular majorities that you pursued, for which Gustavo and the 3,000 disappeared and our parents, fought,” Bölke concluded, visibly emotional.

The first Ni Una Menos march was held on June 3, 2015, to raise awareness about gender-based violence after the brutal femicide of 14-year-old Chiara Páez, who was pregnant when she was beaten to death by her boyfriend Manuel Mansilla (16). Thousands protested the systemic violence around Páez’s death, with protesters hitting the streets in 80 cities nationwide calling for the Argentine state to record femicides systematically and for the media to cover them responsibly, among other demands.

You may also be interested in: Gender policy in the Milei era: five months of dismantlement and misogynistic attacks


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