León Zuleta was born in Itagüi, Antioquia in 1952. He studied philosophy and literature at the University of Antioquia, where later on he worked as a professor. After being inspired by French readings, mainly “El Deseo Homosexual” by Guy Hocquenghem, and the social and political developments happening in the rest of the world, he started the homosexual liberation movement together with Manuel Velandia. And he founded the magazine “El Otro” one of the first LGBT media.
How does the first pride parade in Colombia begin?
It all started when León, after his stay in Medellín, met with the young Manuel Velandia, a student of Philosophy and Psychology. León was already part of a group in which they shared readings and activities about homosexuality, but it wasn´t until 1976 that together with Manuel they decided to create the Movement for Homosexual Liberation and give visibility to the group and establish itself as a political movement that sought to defend the rights of LGBT people in Colombia.
A year later, they created the magazine “El Otro” with the aim of making the movement visible and providing a space in the public sphere for the discussion of sexual diversity issues that until then had been kept underground. León was clear that in order to achieve the acceptance of homosexuality it was necessary to transform the social structures of oppression and privilege, and for that it was necessary to question the hierarchies that sustain them. For this reason he dedicated his life to fight for the rights of LGBT people.
On June 28, 1982, together with Manuel, he led the first gay pride parade in Colombia, which was attended by 32 people. This was the beginning of a mobilization that grows and grows over the years.