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10/12/2012 04:47 pm ET | Updated Jul 28, 2014

Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogotá, Invites Residents In Colombia's Capital To Come Out Of The Closet

The Mayor of Colombia’s capital wants residents to come out of the closet.

To help fight discrimination against the LGBT community, Bogotá’s Mayor Gustavo Petro launched a week-long celebration entitled “Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity” on Thursday, according to Colombian newspaper El Espectador.

The Mayor’s Office and Bogotá’s District Department of Social Integration (SDIS) kicked-off the week by hosting the event ‘Por una Bogotá sin Closets’ (For a Bogotá without closets) in which officials pledged to promote the rights of the LGBT community.

“This week is an attempt by the city to generate a space in which they, [members of the LGBT community], are recognized as holders of a valuable knowledge, which merits a place and an opportunity,” a press release asserted.

“Be you, Be with me”--is the slogan of the city’s newest initiative to combat homophobia and ensure equality in the workplace. According to a recent government study reported in the Spanish-language weekly, 20 percent of the city’s residents consider LGBT individuals a “risk” to the community as a whole.

In Colombia, homesexuality was considered a crime punishable by law until 1980. Since 1993, the country’s courts have begun granting rights to the LGBT community. In June 2011, Colombia’s Constitutional Court gave “family” status to same-sex couples living in de facto unions and imposed a two year deadline on Congress to definitively resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in the country.

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