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March 30, 2007

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Interesting post OMIG. I hope you'll post some pics of the parade.

All is not what it appears indeed. I know next to nothing about Nicaragua, but I would want to question the assumption that "the fact that such a competition takes place does suggest accepting attitudes and open minds". I'm not convinced.

Probably in most North American and European cultures transsexuals are seen as more challenging to societal norms than gay men. I don't think this is universal and I have often heard that transsexuals and drag queens are actually more accepted in Latin cultures than gay or especially effeminate men.

There is a Latin club here in Toronto that was once known as a gay club and hosted drag shows. It became very popular and began attracting a straight clientele as well and then gradually morphed into a straight Latin bar which happened to have a drag show (drag queens courtesy El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, etc.). The drag queens are accepted and popular with the straight guys - but as soon as the salsa starts and two guys get up to dance, the tension begins (I have felt the stares and heard the comments).

You can imagine that a man with a man-who-looks-just-like-a-woman could be less challenging to gender roles as two gay men. My understanding is that the term "maricon" you mention is in fact a very derogatory term in Spanish.

Also, I wouldn't take a guidebook's assurances on a society's acceptance of homosexuality too seriously. I remember reading things like that in the Vietnam Lonely Planet too and it bore almost no relation to the reality of gay men's lives in that country. Just because the pressures and homophobia are not visible to tourists does not mean they they are not all too real burdens for gay people living there.

Fair point. Something I wanted to add but didn't want to do it within the context of the post itself but I recently met an American gay couple here. They had had dealings with this part of the world for quite some time before they actually moved down here to live permanently.

As far as Vietnam and the culture there goes - I'm imagining it's as completely unfathomable as so many other issues. I could never work out whether everything was always hidden or just hidden from the Tays.

The quote is from the Moon Handbook guidebook. Interesting as regards that guide book, I recently met the author a man who has deep ties with this country and has spent a great deal of his time here. As a straight guy, talking to gay/lesbians, in this instance, he might not be the complete expert but I would tend to, generally speaking, trust his opinion.

For the most part, as I said, I wanted to put the record straight(ish). If my Google search strings are anything to go by then there are a lot of gay people who want to visit or live here. I didn't want to be the one who is entirely damning of the situation.

It appears, that whatever the finer points are, gay people can exist here without a great deal of fear of persecution.

Tragically enough, that probably puts it ahead of large parts of my own country.

By the way, on this issue, here's the link to the report from Amnesty International on the 1992 addition of same-sex relations to the Nicaraguan Penal Code. http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR430012006?open&of=ENG-347

Thanks Mark,

On a side, but related, issue. Abortion was just made illegal in Nicaragua. It actually happened, as I understand it, in the run up to the recent elections. The FSLN (Sandinistas) returned to power.

It appears that because of the strength of the Catholic Church no one wanted to go against the ruling as they prepared for election. However, now that the Sandinistas are in power I hear there is some kind of a review. There is also some pressure from the EU - so different to the USA take on such things.

I have limited knowledge of this but recall reading that during the Sandinista revolution homosexuality was represented but again, stifled, by having to deal with the Catholic Church.

There is a film "Sex and the Sandinistas", more details here:

http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c27.shtml

I am guessing that will have more answers. But on the whole I guess there are two issues here: first the culture of how homosexuals are treated in Nicaragua - and secondly the laws that govern the treatment of homosexuality.

I haven't been here long enough to comment on the first, over and above what I wrote above. As regards the second, while the Catholic Church continues to have so much power there is always the difficulty of how to circumnavigate them.

In reality I guess what you do is, you let them keep their archaic laws and then you give no resources to enforcing them. It's far from ideal but it makes sense. I'll let you know if I can track down a copy of the film. It sounds fascinating.


Check out:

www.gaynicaragua.net
www.joluvanicaragua.com
www.club-alegria.com

all are gay related sites in Granada or Nicaragua. I personally agree that Granada will be the gay capital of Nicaragua. People here tend to be more open minded!

Tengo que viajar Granada Nicaragua el proximo dia 17 y me gusatria hacer contacto con la comunidad gay. Como puedo hacerlo? Gracias.

As a Nicaraguan Citizen and of course because I know my country better than many European or American living here, I do not believe and I do not agree with the idea that Granada will be the Gay Capital of Nicaragua, and right, Granada is not Nicaragua.
Why do I say it??
Well then because there is a group of people from Europe who came down to open gays bars or Hotel, Who are the persons who visit or stay in those places????
North American, Canadian, European looking for cheap sex!!!!!
Do you think those guys who you can meet easy down here in Granada want sex or love sex because they are GAY AND ARE OPEN??
NOT, They do it because they need money and want easy money of course , If family accept them as they are and how they make money and they need it but they not are gay.
Gay people in Nicaragua are few.
and if you see lots of guys having sex with tourists and right there the money is in the middle.
It is sad how many tourists come here to find or look for cheap sex.
I am from Granada and I do not see lots of guys people in parties or Discos, and not because Religions or Political parties are against is, just, Nicaragua is not open to gays people.

Everybody is free to do what we want with our life, we are free but gay life does not go anywhere, but Tourists come down here because is cheap and those who come here are looking sex in the park or streets boys.
Yes Visit gay Nicaragua, Joluva and you will find only streets boy whose owner hired them to sell them for sex, that all, want to make easy money using theirs bodies.

Sad.
We want a gay life as normal as straight couple but we do not want PROSTITUTION and that is why many tourists go to Granada ,,, looking for it.
I am open to any kind of comments
Thanks

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