Sunday, August 5, 2012

Are Gays Safe in Argentina?

There isn’t a single place on Earth that’s a hundred percent free of homophobia, but for the most part, Argentina is a relatively safe haven for gay, lesbian, and transgender people. As of this post, neither my spouse nor I have encountered any type of homophobic discrimination. (Update 2017: There are some people who will make whistling noises that are similar to bird calls. My spouse and I have had employees at certain privately owned supermarkets, and owners of newspaper kiosks on the streets, whistle in this manner. We're told that this is the way some homophobes react when someone that's gay approaches them.)   

Cultural Perspective Physical appearance (style of clothing, hairstyle), financial, and social standing are what defines most people in the United States. Argentine society isn’t guided by these types of categories. People here tend to respect your differences and leave you alone, unless of course, you have metal pins sticking out of your skull.  

How Businesses Treat Gays Unfortunately, you won't find stores with the rainbow flag on the doors or windows, which is a sign that the store is gay owned or gay friendly, like in the States. But it doesn't mean that you'll find yourself being mistreated either. My spouse and I haven't encountered a lot of homophobia while visiting shopping centers, supermarkets, video stores, or government establishments. They acknowledge our homosexuality and remain quite friendly for the most part.  

Immigration My spouse and I have had to visit the immigration building in Cordoba a few times in order to get his residency paperwork going. Never once did we hesitate to point out that we had gotten married back in New York, and we never got any indication that the immigration staff was condescending. 

Misunderstanding If you run across a nasty store owner or supermarket attendee, it’s most likely the result of them being rude or disgruntled and not because you’re gay. 

Gay Rights in Argentina President Kirchner legalized gay marriages, and passed a handful of laws that protect gay, lesbian and transgender people from violence and discrimination in Argentina. 

Conservative Views You’re bound to run into people who are homophobic. Older Argentinians (those born in the 1940s) tend to cling to their old ways. The same goes with overly religious fanatics. Unfortunately, these types of people are everywhere in the world. 

Conclusion For the most part, Argentinians are quite accepting. So I encourage anyone, gay or straight, to move down here to live a less stressful life, mostly free of judgment. You won’t regret it.

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