Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires, offers something no other city in the world does: A subway station named after a local LGBTQ hero.
The centrally located Santa Fe – Carlos Jaúregui was renamed in 2017. It can be found on the H Line, on the intersection of Santa Fe and Pueyrredón avenues, in the central Recoleta district.
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It was named after the late Carlos Jaúregui, heralded as Argentina’s equivalent to Harvey Milk.
Jaúregui, born in 1957, was the co-founder and first President (1983-1987) of the Argentine Homosexual Community (CHA, Comunidad Homosexual Argentina). He went on to form the Gays for Civil Rights Association in 1991 and led the first Pride march in Buenos Aires in 1992.
He later said that he had been inspired to become an activist after attending the first Gay Pride march in Paris in 1981. He vowed to do more to promote gay rights in his home country.
“I cried like never before when I saw the first march … I was certain that I had discovered something that I really wanted to do,” he later said.
As an activist, Jaúregui realized the power of visibility, and would often write newspaper columns and appear on national TV programs to promote equality. Such representation made an impact in a culture where macho attitudes towards masculinity and gender held sway. He also lobbied for the city of Buenos Aires to legislate and filed complaints against the Bishop of Buenos Aires for discrimination.
He died of AIDS-related complications in 1996, aged 38.
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Originally simply named Santa Fe, the subway station was inaugurated under its new name in 2017. It features rainbow stripes outside its entrances, rainbow stairwells inside, and artwork by Venezuelan artist Daniel Arzola – a queer artist who fled his home country in 2014 fearing persecution for his art and sexuality.
Arzola has created murals featuring Jaúregui, which carry information about his life. Elsewhere in the station, you’ll find images of same-sex couples. Both the murals and images have suffered vandalism since their installation and have had to be restored or placed behind protective perspex, demonstrating that some in Argentina still feel uncomfortable with Jaúregui’s legacy.
Although it’s a transport hub, rather than a tourist attraction or monument per se, Santa Fe – Carlos Jaúregui is a queer Buenos Aires highlight.
Related: Gay bathhouses in Buenos Aires
When travel is back, and in Buenos Aires– the most visited city in all South America – do also check out the grave of Evita Peron in the amazing Recoleta Cemetery, the hip district of Palermo (which has several gay venues), and for a taste of local food culture, San Telmo Market.
— Daniel Arzola (@Arzola_d) March 27, 2017