LGBT rights in Nicaragua

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LGBT rights in Nicaragua
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 2008[1]
Gender identity/expression -
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption -
Military service -
Discrimination protections -

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Nicaragua may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Nicaragua, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

Laws against homosexuality

Since 1 March 2008, Homosexuality has been legal by a new Penal Code. The age of consent is equal at 18, regardless of sexual orientation, gender and all sexual offenses are gender-neutral.


Sandinista era

Many LGBT Nicaraguans held prominent roles during the Sandinista Revolution; however, LGBT rights were not of any priority to the Sandinista government due to an overwhelming Roman Catholic population. It was also thought to be a huge political risk sure to be met with hostility from the Roman Catholic Church.[2] On the tenth anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution (1989), many community centers were launched for LGBT. The community centers began to form due to a staged march by activists that took place in Managua.[2]

Post-Sandinista era

After the United States lifted the economic embargo against Nicaragua, many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) promoting LGBT rights began to operate in the country due to the absence of pressure from the United States. As a result, Nicaragua hosted in first public gay pride festival in 1991.[2] The annual Gay Pride celebration in Managua, held around June 28, in still in motion and is used to commemorate the uprising of the Stonewall riots in New York City.[3]

After gaining support the LGBT community suffered a huge setback when a bill formerly written to protect women from rape and sexual abuse was changed by the Social Christians.[2] The change imposed a sentence of up to three years in prison for "anyone who induces, promotes, propagandizes, or practices sex among persons of the same sex in a scandalous manner." Activists did not keep quiet and along with their allies they protested in Nicaragua and at embassies abroad; however, no change occurred and President Violeta Chamorro signed the bill into a law in July 1992 as Article 204 of the criminal code.[4] In November 1992 a coalition known as the Campaign for Sexuality without Prejudices, comprising of lawyers, lesbians and gay activists, amongst others, presented an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice challenging the law as unconstitutional. However, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal in March 1994.[5] In November 2007, a new Penal Code was drafted repealing Article 204 - Which came into affect in 1 March 2008.[6]

Living conditions

There is a modest gay social scene in Managua; however, the situation for lesbians is progressing more slowly. There are two western-style gay bars in Managua, Tabu and Bar Q. They cater to mainly men, but there is a small lesbian population that frequents them. Lesbians are generally less visible in public spaces than gay men. Their socializing often occurs in private venues such as potluck dinner parties. Open homosexuality has become much more commonplace in the cities. There is still more bias in more rural locations, but Nicaraguans are generally accepting of the gay male as he has a role in society. Some believe that lesbians pose more of a threat to a Latin male's ego and therefore are not as accepted.[2]

See also


  1. Ottosson, Daniel (May 2009). State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults Page 48. International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). Retrieved on 2009-05-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Nicaragua". Retrieved on 2007-07-28. 
  3. "Nicaragua briefs: One Small Step For Gay Pride", Revista Envío. Retrieved on 2007-07-28. 
  4. "Struggle and Identity in Nicaragua". Retrieved on 2007-07-28. 
  5. "Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people at risk in Nicaragua", Amnesty International. Retrieved on 2007-07-28. 
  6. Nicaragua to decriminalize gay sex


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