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Gay Nicaragua

By Ricardo Segreda

The leftist overthrow of the conservative Somoza dictatorship in 1979 inspired hope for many homosexual Nicaraguan men and women that their new progressive government would provide an opportunity for a gay civil rights movement. Even after the regime change, though, a deep-seated cultural prejudice against homosexuality remained and progress was slow. It was not until 1989 that Nicaragua saw its first gay community center, located in Managua. When the American embargo was lifted, foreign NGOs geared toward assisting the nascent gay activist movement arrived, and 1991 saw the country's very first gay pride parade.

However, the following year saw a major setback for gay civil rights in Nicaragua, and by extension, all of Latin America. The Social Christian party drafted legislation that not only criminalized homosexuality, but imposed a three-year jail sentence for those who even advocated gay civil liberties. Despite widespread international condemnation, the bill was passed by congress and signed by president Violetta Chimorro. It was later upheld by Nicaragua's Supreme Court. Gay life continued in Nicaragua, albeit with a high degree of discretion; it was not until March of 2008 that legislators revised the penal code and decriminalized homosexuality.

There are now a number of openly gay businesses throughout the country, in Managua, particularly, but also in tourist towns such as Granada and San Juan del Sur. The website, (NSFW, btw) lists a variety of gay, or gay-friendly bars, discos, restaurants, and hotels. A Belgian couple run the Club Alegria, a gated gay community, and the Hotel Joluva, both in Granada. The club and hotel are particularly ambitious operations that cater to a clientele of mostly homosexual men.

While Nicaraguan gay men are increasingly open about their sexuality, their lesbian counterparts have been burdened by not only homophobia but sexism, and their socializing is still limited to mainly informal gatherings.



Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Nicaragua : When To Go, Isla Mancarrón Tours, Isla San Fernando Activities, Masaya and Los Pueblos History, Services, Nicaraguan Maps , Isla Mancarrón Hotels, Getting Around Managua, The Other Island of Islas Solentiname and Shopping summary.

24 Nov 2008

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