November 3rd, 2016
Gay Costa Rica
While Costa Rica may not lead the hemisphere in gay rights, the scene in San Jose over Pride weekend, July 2nd and 3rd, showed a different attitude towards the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered Community (LGBT). The streets of San Jose were filled with LGBT community members and supporters, showing that while the country still has a way to go before being considered at the front of equality, steps are being made to make the country more accepting and welcoming to LGBT persons.
San Jose, the country’s capital is home to many universities, bringing forward a more open and accepting attitude towards gay and bisexual people and Pride weekend was a chance for those open-minded citizens and residents to come together and make a public display of solidarity. Starting at Paseo Colon, in the heart of downtown San Jose, the Pride Parade, or la marcha de diversidad, made its way through the streets of San Jose as thousands of participants from all over the country came together to celebrate alternative ways of life. Drag queens, leather men, traditional dancers, and even puppies decorated in rainbow gear took to the streets to show how the attitude towards the LGBT community is changing, even in this very traditional and, at times, conservative country.
Costa Rica, which is only the size of West Virginia, and in some ways just as conservative, has made moderate steps towards same sex equality in recent years. As of 2013 Costa Rica passed national legislation offering a limited form of domestic partnership for same sex couples, but the country still has a long way to go regarding sexual orientation equality. While same-sex marriage is legal in Uruguay, French Guiana, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina, it is still illegal throughout the rest of the Latin America and The Caribbean. In those Latin American countries where same-sex marriage is legal, it has only been so since 2013, showing what how recently the attitude towards the LGBT community has changed.
Costa Rica’s Pride Parade, or la marcha de universidad, was a chance for LGBT community members to take a stand in being open and honest about their lifestyle choices, helping put alternative lifestyles in the forefront of the country’s mindset. While some parts of the country are accepting of LGBT community members, many parts of the country remain conservative and are, as of yet, unwelcoming to such different forms of lifestyle choices.
With more LGBT tourists visiting the country each year, the attitude is changing and becoming more open and events such as la marcha de diversidad will continue to advance the countries overall attitude towards LGBT community members and its supports. Costa Rica, which leads the region in many progressive areas and avenues may very well be the first Central America country to legalize same-sex marriage and take a more open and accepting stance toward LGBT community members.