Region, Visuals, Human Rights

Editorial: A diverse voice in Guanacaste

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español
Translator: Arianna Hernández

In 2017, The Voice of Guanacaste published a cover with a gender diversity story for the first time. The title was “Guanacaste out of the closet” and it was accompanied by a photo of Albert and Keith, an American couple living in the province who tenderly embraced in front of a house in Santa Cruz.

The couple’s profile generated homophobic comments on social networks such as “now we have homosexual press in Guanacaste” and “these deviations shouldn’t be allowed either in Guanacaste or in any corner of Costa Rica.” Many other people congratulated us for having put the spotlight on this story and, with it, on a population of Guanacaste that had remained hidden.

On that occasion, far from being frightened by the rejection of  the conservative population of the province, we confirmed that we should continue to shed light on stories of diversity. We’re convinced that, with compassionate human stories, we are capable of opening our senses, empathizing with realities that seem foreign to us, and transform lives.

After Albert and Keith’s front page, the lives, testimonies, crises, challenges and joys of Guanacaste’s diverse population continued to parade through the pages of our old newspaper that reached all corners of Guanacaste. That’s how it was until COVID-19 forced us to stop printing our newspaper.

Today, through our digital platforms, we continue to raise our voices so that the diverse Guanacaste knows that there is a journalistic team willing to listen to them and raise awareness about them.

You can support us in this mission: follow us on our social networks @vozdeguanacaste, share our stories and donate to our compassionate and participatory journalism.

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Albert and Keith moved to Junquillal in Santa Cruz in 2014. Ten years earlier, they were the first same-sex couple to get married in Holden, Massachusetts. Thanks to their fight, Massachusetts changed pension legislation so that same-sex couples could inherit from their spouses. Photo: Eka Mora

Barbara Fajardo rehearses her steps for the first Miss Guanacaste Gay 2018 in a Red Cross room in Liberia. She ended up winning the crown. Shortly after, she became the first delegate of the Transvida organization branch in Guanacaste. Photo: César Arroyo Castro

Mich felt a kind of self-liberation after moving from their hometown of Cañas to Liberia. Many LGBTIQ+ people in the province migrate to more developed cities as an option for freedom. There is no space for diversity education and acceptance is a distant step in most small towns. Photo: César Arroyo Castro

Vanessa Centeno walks down Calle Real in Liberia. She calls herself “one of the first, or the first trans girl from Guanacaste.” Since May of 2019, she and all trans people have the option to change their names on their IDs according to their identity. Photo: César Arroyo Castro

At 26 years old, Barbara Fajardo finished high school thanks to the “From the streets to the classrooms” program promoted by the Transvida Foundation and the Ministry of Public Education. There, she finally managed to vindicate her right to education, something that she felt was taken away from her for a long time due to discriminatory treatment. Photo: César Arroyo Castro

In 2019, Vitinia and Adolfo founded Love for the Diversity of Tila in their home, in the center of Tilaran. They did so after many years of personal training upon learning of their daughter’s sexual orientation. “There was always that little bug, that concern that in this area, we had to open a group for the whole family,” recalled Vitinia. Photo: César Arroyo Castro