Every happy family is different: recognition for diverse families in Latin America

Happy families all start with love, but that doesn't mean they look the same. For years children have been raised by grandparents, siblings, aunts/uncles, single moms, single dads, two moms, two dads, transgender parents, etc., but not all of these families are recognized at the hospital, in the schoolyard or the court house. In Latin America, LGBT advocates are finding creative ways to shine a light on diverse families.


A popular Mexican online space is sharing videos to accelerate acceptance of all types of families with the tagline "everyone, independent of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has the right to form a family." In one of the spots, two men tell the viewers how old they are, what they do, what they like and don't like to do. They are both in their 30s and emphasize how much they love their family. At the end of the video we see the men holding their child and it's clear they are a family. Some of the other interviews  feature a single lesbian mom and her son, a brother raising his sister and one with two moms.  The videos were created by Fundacion Arcoiris and you can watch one of them below and see the rest on their youtube channel.

Respected LGBT Mexican advocate and professor Antonio Medina Trejo and three other contributors published Familias Homoparentales en Mexico: Mito, realidad, y vida cotidiana this month to demystify the topic of families with two dads or two moms. In the book Medina points out that only 11 adoptions by lesbian or gay couples have been authorized as of July 2015, so that contrary to popular misconception the passage of laws recognizing same-sex adoption or the court decisions lifting discrimination against same sex marriages will not create diverse families, but rather these families already exist in Mexico and need recognition, rights and acceptance.

Medina is a parent himself raising his son with his partner. Through his book, media appearances and other activism is fighting what he calls the "prevailing cultural homophobia" that affects these families.

According to the 2010 census there was an estimate that 172,433 couples raising children in the country were composed of same sex pairs, but since the census does not ask individuals' orientation or gender identity it is unclear how many other kinds of families exist in Mexico. Fundacion Arcoiris seeks to start a conversation using the #esfamilia hashtag to help Mexican society embrace, understand, value and end discrimination towards diverse families.

The online space Homosensual was created in 2012 and is the most popular online site that posts LGBT content in Mexico, reporting more than 300,000 unique visitors every year.


La de nosotros también #EsFamilia

¡Hay familias de todo tipo!. #EsFamilia es una serie de videos que conforman una campaña de Fundación Arcoiris por el Respeto y promoción de los derechos humanos de las familias diversas. ¿Y tu familia cómo es? Cuéntanos en los comentarios :D

Posted by Soy Homosensual on Wednesday, November 18, 2015


In Chile, the fourth episode of the reality program Happy Together aired this week and is available for online viewing. In that episode a sympathetic lawyer friend spells out the brutal truth for the protagonists, a male couple contemplating forming a family. According to Chilean law as it stands now only one of them would be recognized as the parent of a child they have through surrogacy, or adoption. For their lesbian friends who are thinking of moving in together the situation is also salient-one of them has a daughter and although they would become a household and a family once they moved in together, only the biological parent would be recognized by the government. The conversations Juan Pablo and Julio have with family, friends and even strangers like the woman at the paint store who helps them pick a color for what might become the future nursery amplify the conversations being held throughout Chilean society.

Chile passed Civil Unions this year, but advocates are working toward marriage and continue to educate the public about the importance of true, equal recognition in campaigns like this early one from 2009 by the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation.


In Peru, advocate Antonio Capurro from Plural Peru is working on a documentary that will introduce audiences to couples in Peru that want to marry but can't because the country has yet to allow them. You can watch a trailer here. The documentary is one piece in a larger campaign. Capurro and others, including Peruvian celebrities, are taking to social media with signs calling for marriage equality in the country. 



These are just some part of the efforts going in the countries in our region to recognize diverse families.