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Ecuador: Reelected president apologizes to queer community

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — Blogsite Blabbeando reports that Ecuador's newly reelected president, Rafael Correa, has apologized for using language that was "offensive" to the queer community.

Blabbeando's Andrés Duque says Correa's apology was included in a televised election victory and provides a translation of his comments:

"A few months ago I used a number of inappropriate words that were offensive to LGBT groups and for which I apologized in writing – and I stated I would apologize again after winning [the election] to make sure they knew I wasn't doing it simply for political gain," Correa is quoted as saying.

"Once again I'd like to express my apologies to those LGBT groups for some words that might have escaped me. Each one of us was born and grew up with stereotypes and stigmas and we have to fight against this type of – let's call it deformed – social upbringing, et cetera. But our commitment is to defend everyone's dignity and equality. We are diverse but never unequal. 

"And I was reminded of this by the leader of a GLBT group who I greatly admire a couple of days ago. You need a lot of courage to lead these type of movements. Let's offer them all our support and – on a personal basis – I offer my full respect and the effort and commitment to eliminate all types of discrimination in this country."

Blabbeando notes that the incident to which Correa was referring occurred last July during an address used to "report back" to the Ecuadorean people.

In response to an online comment calling him a fag, Correa said he'd like to invite "this gentleman" to tell him these "vicious things face to face to see who is the real fag." 

A number of queer community leaders signed a letter that was published in the media condemning not only the online comments, but Correa's response to them, Blabbeando notes.

The letter states in part the group's regret that a "revolutionary" president and those in government are still captive to "backward notions" and called on Correa to apologize.

Correa first apologized for his remarks in August last year and then more recently in his victory speech. 

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