SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — The main streets of Colonia Escalón in the Salvadoran capital on Saturday were covered in rainbow colors in order to celebrate LGBTI Pride Day and to celebrate pride in being different. This march capped off a series of activities that took place within the framework of the aforementioned commemoration.

The Salvadoran LGBTI Federation, government entities and foreign countries’ consulates in El Salvador organized these events throughout the month of June. The illumination of the National Palace (in rainbow colors), the unveiling of the LGBTI flag at the National Theater, cinema forums, the raising of the LGBTI flag at ministries and consulates, the unveiling of a commemorative plaque on June 28 at the Ministry of Labor and the painting of a street in front of its building were among the activities that took place.

The reason behind the growth of these events in the capital as well as in the country’s interior and the recognition of such an important day that highlights the existence of the LGBTI community and the rights to which it is entitled is, in part, because of the Salvadoran LGBTI Federation’s work.

“The federation has definitely positioned itself as the LGBTI movement’s political entity,” ASPIDH Arcoiris Transgender Projects Coordinator Ámbar Alfaro told the Washington Blade.

Members of the LGBTI community, family members, friends and members of the diplomatic corps who were invited to take part were among the more than 12,000 people who attended the march, which took place without incident. Participants were joyful as they played music, carried slogans and danced.

“It was very well organized,” Hugo Alas of the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador’s Ministry of Sexual Diversity told the Blade. “Everyone involved has done a great job to organize the march in the best way possible.”

Attendees were able to appreciate different forms of expression throughout the march, from the participants’ clothes to different messages on posters and slogans.

“The definitive goal is to make ourselves visible as a community within Salvadoran society, demand that it guarantees our human rights through a normative framework that ensures them,” Tatiana Molina, a trans activist who is Miss Trans El Salvador, told the Blade. “We sent the message that we exist, we vote and we pay taxes just like the cisgender-heterosexual community.”

Members of the capital’s LGBTI community were not the only ones who attended El Salvador Pride.

“We have participated in the Pride march as a collective for several years and we do it with the intention of reminding ourselves that we are unique in the eastern part of the country where we work on LGBTI human rights issues, and that is why we invite our peers to join this effort in defense of human rights,” said Ever Pacheco, director of Colectivo Estrellas del Golfo in La Unión, as he talked about his experience taking part in this event. “The march is not to celebrate colors. If anything, it recognizes organizations with a very small budget that have made big changes in such a short amount of time.”

The LGBTI Pride celebrations in El Salvador this year have set, without a doubt, a precedent in the LGBTI community and left everyone who fights for visibility and respect for human rights feeling satisfied.

“This march, with this journey, with this united and solid convocation with one voice from the federation brought 12,000 people — free, happy, proud — to a space they have been told does not belong to them,” said Andrea Ayala, executive director of Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas Salvadoreñas por la Diversidad (ESMULES). “We all went down a street for rich people with pride and love.”