For the past decade, Buenos Aires has been promoting itself as the “LGBTIQ Capital of Latin America” because that is what city government tourism offices do! That said, there are a number of interesting things worth knowing about Buenos Aires and Argentina with respect to its history, politics and attitudes with respect to queerness.
GAY MARRIAGE was made legal nationwide in 2010 – five years before the U.S. – and they don’t call the law “gay marriage”; they call it “Marriage Equality”. It was passed by both houses of the Congress and signed by then President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
A GENDER IDENTITY law was passed in 2012 allowing individuals to be recognized by their chosen gender identity, a law that was long fought for by the Asociación de Lucha por la Identidad Travesti-Transsexula founded in 1997 by Lohana Berkins. The law allows transgender people to have their chosen identity on their national ID document, without having to receive hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery or approval from a psychiatrist. The law also requires all medical facilities, public and private, to provide gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy to anyone requesting it.
While we don’t want to give the impression here that LGBTIQ life here is paradise and pretend there isn’t discrimination – this is a country with a lot of toxic masculinity (machismo) and the same kind of violence, particularly against trans people, that occurs in other places occurs here –, in some ways, especially in the City of Buenos Aires, there is more of a live and let live attitude than in the United States, for example.
THE ARGENTINE CONSTITUTION of 1853, though based largely on the U.S. Constitution, has a very specific article that notes: “The private acts of men, while they don’t affect the public moral or order, are exempt from the competence of judges, and can only be judged by God.” Thus, Argentina never criminalized gay sex or had a “sodomy laws” on the books like in places such as the U.S. and England.
THE FIRST PRIDE MARCH in Argentina was held on July 2 of 1992 and attended by 250 people, many of whom wore masks to conceal their identities (!), but since then the March has grown enormously. It runs from the Casa Rosada (the presidential palace, coincidentally named the Pink House) up the Avenida de Mayo to the National Congress and is attended by over a hundred of thousand people. Also, the March was moved to November in honor of the creation of the Argentina’s first homosexual movement, Nuestro Mundo (“Our World”) in 1967 … and also possibly because the weather is much nicer in November, which is late Spring here!
One of the key figures of the movement in the 1980s and 90s was Carlos Jáuregui, who was the first president of the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA) and one of the leaders of the first March. There is a plaza in the neighborhood of Constitución named in his honor, and the Avenida Sante Fe subway stop on the H line was officially named “Santa Fe – Carlos Jáuregui” in March of 2017.
If you have any questions about LGBTIQ tourism, or tourism in general, just send us an email and ask! Whether you are taking a tour with us or not, we love to help out.