Region, Nicoya

Guanacaste Doesn’t Put the Brakes On Homophobia

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Respect for people who are gay, lesbian, transgender or of any variety of sexual orientation is not yet official for any municipality in Guanacaste since they have not made an agreement to declare their canton discrimination-free.


Nor does it seem to be a priority for the authorities. The presidents of the municipal councils of six of the 11 cantons in Guanacaste told The Voice of Guanacaste that they do not have concrete plans to combat homophobia and promote respect for the rights of people with different sexual orientations.


Meanwhile, there are 18 municipal councils in the country that have passed resolutions against homophobia and discrimination, following the example of the central canton of Heredia, which did it following a municipal proposal in conjunction with the National University in 2013.


The coordinator of the Department of Equity and Gender of that municipality, Estela Paguaga, commented that the document allows the municipality to allocate resources to conducting campaigns within the institution and externally to sensitize people.


Aserrí, Curridabat, San Ramon, Poas, Montes de Oca, El Guarco, Dota, Desamparados and San Jose have joined the list of the 18 cantons who have already taken a stance.


To Marco Castillo, leader of Costa Rica Diversity Movement, such manifestos are important in communities since they help to overcome social, cultural and religious aspects that foster discrimination between heteroseuxal and homosexual people.


“These agreements are symbolic, but they are very important since they make us be more free and more accepting,” commented Castillo.


The leader believes that Guanacaste is one of the provinces that needs the most attention because there is no initiative against homophobia in the province. That is why Castillo plans to send a document to each one of the municipalities in the upcoming weeks to urge them to make the declaration.


Few Initiatives and Little Information


The lack of information on subjects of human rights and respect toward the gay community is one of the greatest threats facing the province, according to Dinnia Porras, president of the Municipal Council of Hojancha.


Porras affirmed that the subject has not been part of the municipal agenda in her canton, but she concluded that there should be more organizations to instruct municipalities in these areas.


For his part, the president of the Liberia Municipal Council, Juan Eduardo Cerdas, clarified that he would not be against approving a declaration of this kind, but he thinks that the subject could be cut short in his council due to the Catholic religion of many of the council members.


The presidents of the councils of Santa Cruz, Nicoya, Tilaran and Abangares have not made any motion to fight against homophobia either.