Carlos Bruce, in his own words: What’s the condition like for LGBT individuals in Peru?
Bruce: It’s difficult, but changing. It used to be more difficult in the past, but still Lima and Peru is a very conservative country and a conservative society, but things are starting to change. The effort to put the issue of LGBT rights on the national agenda has stepped forward. I’m the first openly gay politician, which is also showing that things are starting to change. Maybe it’s late, but it’s starting anyway.
How did you get to that decision to come out and has it been difficult?
Bruce: I presented this bill for civil unions for LGBT people and there were a lot of stupid arguments being said and I thought it was useful to see that one can be a minister, one can be a Congressman, and your sexual orientation has nothing to do with it, so I think it was a good moment, and it was a good cause to do it and so I did it, and I’m still alive (laughs).
What was the response when you came out?
Bruce: In the internet there were all types of insults, but I have to say that in the streets, in person, I haven’t received one expression against me because I’ve said publicly my sexual orientation. Not even one. It’s very strange because we Congressman are not very popular here in Peru, you’re used to receiving some types of not so good comments, but since I made public my sexual orientation (there has been) not even one expression against me and I think that’s a way of people saying ‘Ok, I respect what you have done.’”
And what is your hope for LGBT individuals in the future?
Bruce: What everybody wants as human beings, just to be treated equally, and I hope that Peru is going to be in that position soon. I think we have to put the issue on the national agenda, I don’t know if my bill is going to be approved or not with this Congress, but I’m sure in the next presidential campaign the issue is going to be on the table and all the presidential candidates will have to have a position on this issue and I’m sure that the next Congress will probably be a Congress that will be more sympathetic to pass some legislation to assure rights for the LGBT couples.
If you could give advice to a young kid around the world who is gay, what would you say?
Bruce: Don’t lose hope. It’s very difficult, we all have to pass through this process when you discover you are different from your mates, and you try to fix it so that you can be the same as them and you discover that it cannot be fixed. What I’m trying to tell these young people is that there’s nothing to be fixed. We all tried to fix it but there’s nothing to be fixed because there’s nothing wrong. There’s a future for you, you can be a Minister, you can be a Congressman, and who knows, you can be a President.