Costa Rica's LGBT community mourns death of leader

Published: January 21, 2012

When it comes to opening up a relationship, two men are best served by clear communication and mutually agreed-upon boundaries, experts say.

Mikey Rox and Everett Earl Morrow, both now 30, were committed to monogamy when they met and fell in love. That was five years ago. "After a couple instances of infidelity to which we both confessed, we decided it’s not realistic to expect either of us to never hook up with anyone else ever again," says Rox, principal of Paper Rox Scissors Copy and Creative in Manhattan. The legally married couple has had an open relationship for the last two years. "Who wouldn’t want to be allowed to hook up with other guys and have their husband be OK with it?" he asks. "Isn’t that what most men dream of, and isn’t the limitation of sex with one partner in a marriage the reason why so many people cheat?" Adds Morrow: "As two men, sex isn’t particularly emotional for either of us. That enables us to separate our love for one another from the occasional physical attraction we may have for another guy."

Matthew and Pablo, married 40-something realtors in Palm Springs, Calif., were monogamous for the first eight of their 15 years together. "We sort of just fell into our open relationship," says Matthew. "It’s been a slow evolution. In the beginning, we only played together, which made it feel less threatening." They still enjoy the occasional threesome, but for the last few years have increasingly sought sex outside the relationship.

Jelle and Guido, both 44-year-old ground personnel for an international airline in Amsterdam, have been together since 1997. For 10 years monogamy reigned. But when physical attraction waned, sex fell by the wayside and the relationship soured, eventually hitting rock bottom. The two figured they had nothing to lose, opened up their relationship, and saved it. "I’m really happy," says Guido. "It made our relationship stronger. I’m glad he’s my partner, I love him, and I believe it was a wise decision to give each other the freedom we needed." Adds Jelle: "There are so many things keeping us together: love, trust, friendship, security, common hobbies and interests, humor, a shoulder to cry on. Much too much to give up for that tiny but oh-so-important aspect in life that is sex."

Although no one knows for sure how many gay couples are in open relationships, or whether they are on the decline, it’s certain these men are not alone. "I would feel comfortable saying that at least four out of five long-term gay male couples are not monogamous," says Beverly Hills sexologist Winston Wilde. "Monogamy rarely does work for more than two years — for most straight and bi men, as well."

Renowned Costa Rican LGBT activist Abelardo Araya died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at the age of 42. He was found in his home on Thursday.

On Friday, family members, friends and LGBT activists held a funeral ceremony for the human rights leader in Alajuela, northwest of San José. Araya was diabetic and had cardiac disease, family members said.

Araya will be remembered for his work promoting gay rights in Costa Rica, including the founding of Movimiento Diversidad (Diversity Movement), a political movement aimed at furthering LGBT rights. In 2006, the group presented a same-sex civil-marriage bill in the Legislative Assembly.

“We have lost a leader in the fight for human rights that are still not recognized by the Costa Rican government or society," said former Broad Front Party lawmaker José Merino, who supported the 2006 bill. "He was a courageous man who was willing to face attacks because he knew the value of his work in the movement.”

Merino described Araya as courageous, smart and humble. He said Araya had lived a life of poverty as was fully dedicated to the promotion of LGBT rights.

“Despite his young age, he had been a gay-rights activist for the past 25 years. He left us at a time when we are finally seeing a step forward with the gay marriage bill in Congress. We will have to take drastic measures to be able to replace him in the movement, since he became one of those people who make themselves irreplaceable,” Movimiento Diversidad lawyer Marco Castillo said.

ess the partner who violates truly owns what he has done, makes a heartfelt amend, and is willing to work on restoring trust." Only once the two men have healed and are back in a good, safe place should they consider reopening the relationship.

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