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Being gay in Costa Rica

While North American and European countries continually try to advance and defend gay rights, there are countries that are still very much closed minded and closeted about this issue.

While you can search many gay scenes in Costa Rica including on www.about.com, www.travelcostaricanow.com, and www.gaytravel.com; what are the attitudes about gays in this predominantly Catholic country? Well, if Wikipedia is to be believed then ‘Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Costa Rica have made significant cultural, social and legal progress since the 1970s.

While certain politicians, such as former president Óscar Arias, have expressed some support for LGBT-rights, Costa Ricans tend to be socially conservative when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity issues, in large part due to the strong influences of the Roman Catholic Church and cultural traditions about machismo.

A gay gringo who has moved down to Costa Rica has these thoughts about being gay in the country, “don’t ask, don’t tell, and don’t act.” What he means by this is that you will be accepted even if you are gay as long as you don’t force the issue. Do not do PDA (Public Displays of Affection); otherwise you will force the issue which could lead to a confrontation with people not as open minded. The safe places to show affection are the numerous gay bars that dot the landscape and, of course in your private quarters.

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