Costa Rica, Central America

While homosexuality has been technically legal (since the 1870's), but police harassment and raids of LGBT people and private establishments was commonplace in the past. The government did not want to grant legal recognition to political organizations seeking to advance LGBT rights. These policies started to change in the 1990s, when the Costa Rica Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution gave LGBT people the right to peacefully assembly, associate, create their own private establishments, as well as their own LGBT rights associations. Such rulings have led Costa Rica to develop the reputation of being the most democratic and liberal of the Central American countries. Costa Ricans to be proud of the uniqueness of their country.

It has recently become welcoming to LGBT people with its friendly, "live-and-let-live" attitude toward sexual matters. On March 27, 2008 the president of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez, signed an executive order designating May 17 as the National Day Against Homophobia, committing Costa Rica to join others around the world in working to eradicate bias against gays and lesbians. There is a vibrant nightlife scattered in San Jose consisting of discos, saunas, night clubs, cafes and bars for gay or gay friendly.

 

 

Lesbian couple face up to six years in jail – just for getting married

Two women face up to six years in jail for holding a same-sex marriage in Costa Rica – despite a ban. Laura Florez-Estrada and Jazmin Elizondo successfully registered their marriage in over the summer. Although same-sex marriage is banned in the country, the pair were able to marry due to a 24-year-old clerical error that… Read more »

Taboo on LGBT blood donation lingers, according to survey

A new survey from the Center for Research and Promotion of Human Rights in Central America (CIPAC) released Tuesday suggested that Costa Ricans overwhelmingly oppose discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but many prejudices still exist. Despite 90 percent support for equal rights for the LGBT community regardless of their sexual orientation, a… Read more »

Dismantling Costa Rica’s lesbian and gay closet

Luis Guillermo Solís has barely begun his presidency and already the LGBTI communities have much to celebrate. For one, Solís is the first president of Costa Rica who has familiarity with the gay nightlife of San José. Or at least he is the first president willing to publicly admit it. In January on Costa Rica’s… Read more »

Costa Rican’s Laura Chinchilla Signs Bill Possibly Legalizing Gay Civil Unions

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla has signed a bill which could extend some benefits associated with marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Daily La Nacion reported on Friday that Chinchilla had signed the bill into law. The Legislative Assembly approved the measure on Monday. After gay rights groups hailed passage as a victory, conservative lawmakers… Read more »

Opponents Block Debate On Gay Unions In Costa Rica

Lawmakers opposed to gay rights on Tuesday blocked debate of a civil unions bill in Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly. Opponents called 3 15-minute recesses in a row as lawmakers attempted to debate the bill, prompting the chamber’s president, Victor Emilio, to table the discussion and bring the evening session to a close. Two years ago,… Read more »

Costa Rica to develop HIV strategies to reach male sex workers

The Minister of Health of Costa Rica, Dr Daisy Corrales, aims to strengthen the AIDS response among key populations at higher risk in her country, which is where the epidemic remains concentrated. During a meeting with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on 6 November at the UNAIDS Headquarters in Geneva, Dr Corrales highlighted the focus… Read more »

Razzia violenta en discoteca gay de Costa Rica

San Jose – (La Nacion) El aparente uso de fuerza excesiva en un operativo policial realizado en la discoteca homosexual Club Oh!, el 13 de abril levantó críticas y motivó denuncias. Representantes del centro nocturno dijeron que más de 20 funcionarios de la Fuerza Pública y la Policía Municipal ingresaron armados al establecimiento, lo que… Read more »

Costa Rica’s LGBT community mourns death of leader

A friend pays his respects to LGBT leader Abelardo Araya, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday. Araya helped found the Movimiento Diversidad (Diversity Movement), a political group that worked to promote LGBT rights in Costa Rica. Renowned Costa Rican LGBT activist Abelardo Araya died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at the age… Read more »

Gay Costa Rica News & Reports

1 Costa Rica backs International Day Against Homophobia 5/08 2 Costa Rican Christians protest against gay marriage 7/08 3 Letter from Catholic Action to the country’s representatives in government 12/08 4 Costa Rica’s First Woman President Doesn’t Want Gay Marriage 2/10 5 Costa Rica: Granting Rights for Same-Sex Couples 2/10 6 Thousands March Against Gay… Read more »