The ‘Festival de ¿Anormales?’ Saturday Social in Sucre

Well that was different. The ‘Festival de ¿Anormales?’ or ‘Festival de la cine #Trans’, according to the banner outside the building, in #Sucre Bolivia, held a social night last Saturday, and we wandered along.

We had no idea what to expect…and even then it was nothing like what we expected!

A quick internet search before we arrived in Sucre, Bolivia’s ‘constitutional capital’ (in name only), had turned up something a little different, an event around LGBT sexuality & rights (FB event page), the first such event we’d really heard of in our travels. So a few hours after arriving in town, we found our way along to the venue, perhaps 15 minutes walk from Sucre’s main plaza – itself perhaps one of the clearest examples of Spanish colonial style, catholic dominated, plazas in Bolivia. So to find a LGBT event nearby was a surprise.

Arriving about 8.30pm we found a venue, El Mercado (FB page for info & other events), that was, it seemed like, the large ground floor of someone’s house – a kitchen providing food & drinks, couple of loos, main room with candlelite tables & chairs for a max of 30-40 people, and an entrance lobby offering a small selection of books & other radical material. Ha ha, it was a bit like being at Kebele in Bristol, there was even a lovely mural on the wall in the main room!

Folks were friendly, if reserved, and the ‘audience’ was predominantly male. Some were playing chess all night, a small majority appeared to pay little attention although they applauded in the right places, and there were probably no more than 3 people who one might consider to be ‘trans’. From about 9.15pm we saw 3 short (5 mins each) films – the first was in yer face lewd & raucous (‘Do you take it in…’), the last essentially a sexual health guide for lesbian women, set in a funky disco. These were followed by a few fine words, and then a 20 minute poetry set by a middle aged man (sadly we understood little of this). Then came the ‘main act’, a 30+ minute set by ‘Paloma Criminal & Mimo de Carton’ a couple of singer songwriters on guitar, who worked best when singing as a duo. Again it was hard to follow all the words, but we recognised some and there was a lot of defiance & anger in there.

We left shortly before midnight, enthused at finding an event like this in what we expected to be a very conservative city, but a little disappointed that only a couple of folks had come over to chat to the only 2 gringos in the room…but then again we’ve been in places back home where strangers are often largely ignored….C’est la vie it seems. But best wishes to those trying to put on events such as these in Sucre!!!


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