The Fight For LGBTQ + Equality in Costa Rica Is Far From Over

    Attempts to back down are permanent, according to representatives of the sexually diverse community

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    The implementation of equal marriage in Costa Rica for more than a year is by no means the end of the fight for equality for the LGBTQ + population. Several representatives of the sector take stock of the pending agenda.

    Carrying out a census to determine the needs of the members of the sexually diverse community, establish a care protocol for children with different sexual orientations and guarantee transgender people to change their sex on their identity cards and not just their names, these are some of the tasks to be performed. The list is much longer, but the central theme is related to education and the promotion of human rights for all historically violated populations.

    Each population with specific needs

    “The first thing we must understand is that when we talk about the rights of LGBTQ + people, we believe that all rights are, so to speak, in a single bag, and we do not understand that each population has specific needs. Education and the promotion and respect of human rights for all is fundamental to achieve a cultural change,” said Larissa Arroyo, an expert lawyer on gender and human rights.

    Since equal marriage was implemented in Costa Rica, some 917 same-sex couples have been married -as of May 26-; however, much remains to be done. “This, because there are groups in the country that try again and again to back down on rights”, said Enrique Sánchez, a PAC deputy.

    “Marriage is not the end of the struggles for equality, marriage was one of the conquests, but there are still many pending, some legislative, others cultural and many have to do with education and the construction of a culture of real respect ( …) The attempts to go backwards in the human rights agenda are permanent and there are many, such as, for example, the one we are seeing with conscientious objection,” said Sánchez.

    The measure mentioned by the deputy would allow public officials to refrain from training that allegedly violates their beliefs, which would be a barrier to the full enjoyment of rights. In this sense, education would be vital to overcome in the medium term the obstacles that prevent Costa Rica from being an egalitarian population in its entirety.

    Pending Agenda

    After the equal marriage is implemented, a series of pending issues concern the LGTBQ + community to achieve equality:

    – Carry out a LGTBQ + population census to determine the needs and problems of each of the members of the population

    – Guaranteeing trans people the change of sex on their identity cards and not just their name

    – Protocols for dealing with violence between same-sex couples, as well as its treatment in court

    – Establishment of quotas for trans people in the popular election lists of deputies, councilors, trustees and others

    – Criminalize hate crimes against the LGTBQ + population as a qualified homicide

    – Promote human rights education for all populations from basic levels and systematically throughout the educational system

    – Promote the training of officials on human rights and compliance for all sectors of the population

    – Improve communication channels to publicize efforts on equality and care for historically vulnerable populations

    – Prevent conscientious objection from being an argument that can be used as a barrier to violate the rights of other populations

    – Commissioner LGTBQ + must remain as coordinator in the following governments

    – Ban reconversion therapies

    – Approve affirmative actions for the State

    – Establish care protocols for LGTBQ + children

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