Gay Voices (The Huffington Post)
January 8, 2013

As 2012 came to a close, Sao Paolo joined the jurisdictions that allow same-sex marriage. The joy this news elicited is absolutely warranted. However, it may cover up the fact that equal marriage rights do not mean the end to hostility against those who aren't straight. Arguably nowhere is this truer than in Latin America. First the good news. Latin America has been making unprecedented advances on same-sex marriage and related issues these past couple of years. Argentina legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, becoming the first country in Latin America to do so, right after Mexico City, the largest metropolis in the region, did the same in 2009. In early December 2012, Saba Island in the Caribbean followed suit, and Uruguay's lower house passed a same-sex marriage bill. And then, as mentioned, later in December, Sao Paolo did the same. Meanwhile, the transgender rights regulations that were pushed through by Argentina's government earlier in 2012 are considered some of the world's most progressive. Bearing all this in mind, one might be excused for thinking that Latin America is an accepting and safe place to live for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. That would be the wrong conclusion.