Defending LGBTIQ Rights in Latin America: Obstacles and Advancements in Law and Culture


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A 2015 study by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights documented almost 600 murders of LGBT individuals in the Americas for reasons related to their sexual orientation or gender identity in the space of just 15 months. It also noted a startling cruelty, with many victims “killed after being subjected to horrible acts of torture, inhumane or degrading treatment, or multiple forms of extreme humiliation, degradation, and violation.” Not only do LGBTIQ individuals serve as particular targets for physical violence, but their rights are often threatened as well: marriage equality only exists in Argentina, Colombia, Brasil, Uruguay, and some Mexican states, and LGBTIQ people continue to confront discrimination in many aspects of life, from employment to healthcare to housing.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has taken important steps to affirm LGBTIQ rights in recent years, by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and finding that marriage equality is protected under the American Convention on Human Rights. But the gap between international law and domestic norms, and between law and practice, is wide, and legal advances must be accompanied by cultural changes to be politically sustainable and foster true tolerance and safety for the LGBTIQ community. What progress has been made by governments, international organizations, and advocacy groups in catalyzing these changes, and what more needs to be done? 

To discuss the challenges facing LGBTIQ groups and advocates in Latin America, both on the ground and before the courts, the Inter-American Dialogue, Fundación Iguales, and AMAmericas are proud to host, “Defending LGBTIQ Rights in Central America: Obstacles and Advancements in Law and Culture.

Please note that this event will be held in Spanish. 

Follow this event on Twitter at #LGBTIQCentroamerica and @The_Dialogue.


Iván Chanis Barahona

President, Fundación Iguales, Panama (@ivanchb)

Abraham Banegas Molina

Technical Official, Cozumel Trans, Honduras

Fanny Gomez

Senior Director for Advocacy and Human Rights, Synergia – Initiatives for Human Rights (@fannygomezlugo)

Carlos Quesada

Executive Director and Founder, International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights


Michael Camilleri

Director, Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program, Inter-American Dialogue (@camillerimj)


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