Latin American Gays: Post-Left Leftists

Published: March 19, 2010

Latin American Gays: Post-Left Leftists

When most straight people are forced to think about gay people, they usually think of one thing first, sex. A political scientist might focus instead on a different question: how do gays perform in politics? Judged from their political achievements this past decade, the answer is, at least for Latin American gays: they’re pretty good.

The political achievements of LGBT groups in Latin America in the 2000s are remarkable. Examples include: decriminalization of homosexuality (now complete in all Spanish-speaking countries and Brazil); laws against sexual-orientation discrimination (Brazil 2000, Mexico 2003, Peru in 2004); extending the same rights and obligations to same-sex couples as heterosexual couples (e.g., Buenos Aires 2002, Colombia in 2009); granting access to health benefits, inheritance, parenting and pension rights to all couples who have cohabited for at least five years (Uruguay); and constitutional bans against discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual identity or HIV status (Ecuador 2008). In the last two years alone the speed of change picked up, with most countries witnessing a significant legal change in the direction of more gay-friendliness, including the now famous Mexico City law recognizing gay marriage and adoption rights. [Please see index of chronology attached.]

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