Culture

These Are The Best Latin American Countries To Visit If You Are Part Of The LGBTQ Community

Traveling internationally has become increasingly accessible to people all over the world. However, laws are different depending on the country you want to see. This is especially true for LGBTQ people. There are still countries that have a death penalty in place as punishment for simply being gay. Countries like Russia will jail tourists for being openly gay.

Some countries in Latina America have made major changes to laws and rights for the LGBTQ community. Countries like Uruguay and Argentina have legalized same-sex marriage. The LGBTQ Travel Index ranks countries based on the friendliness to the LGBTQ community and here are the top ranking Latin American countries.

The LGBTQ Travel Index puts many Latin American countries at the top of the list.

CREDIT: @lgbtpr / Instagram

The index uses criteria like marriage equality laws, age of consent, religious influences, anti-gay laws, and family adoption policies to rate the countries. This year, it included transgender rights on the list. Canada and Sweden tied for top spot, if you want to go to cold places.

Uruguay ranked as the No. 1 friendliest Latin American country.

CREDIT: @ClaroCriativo / Twitter

Uruguay is known around the world as an extremely gay-friendly place. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1934 and marriage equality passed in early 2013. Check out Chains Pub for the most popular gay tourist destination and La Pasiva. Please Google La Pasiva’s logo and die happy that a pizza chain went for a boy kissing a weiner dog for the logo.

Colombia comes right after Uruguay on the index.

CREDIT: @colombia.travel / Instagram

If you search for gay travel in Colombia, you’ll even find several different travel agencies targeting LGBTQ people specifically, there’s that much of a demand and supply for it. Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the Caribbean coast, enjoying the nightlife of Medellin or exploring the historic and colorful city of Bogota, you’ll be in good hands.

Argentina has been dubbed “Latin America’s gay capital.”

CREDIT: @argentinatravel / Instagram

I mean, there are rainbows everywhere, and LGBTQ people have been safe since indigenous times. The Mapuche people didn’t live in a binary and even revered its third gender, weye. “Christians invaded and used the “sodomy” of Mapuche as a justification for war. Argentina decolonized its values when it became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in Latin America.

Puerto Rico ranks higher than the United States on the index.

CREDIT: lgbtpr / Instagram

Whether you want to get on a rainbow tour bus and discover gay San Juan for yourself, or go on foot to the many gay bars, you’ll be in good company. Plus, Puerto Rico needs your money right now.

Bolivia is here for you nature lovers.

CREDIT: @BoliviaNonStop / Instagram

Bolivia comes right after Puerto Rico and the USA with points deducted for religious influence and hostile locals (in the smaller towns). Yes, Latin America needs to combat it’s machísmo and Catholic influences, but you’ll be more safe checking out salt flats of Bolivia than the swamps of Louisiana.

Oh, and Ecuador, tambien.

CREDIT: @AmiePortal / Twitter

Strangely, while Ecuador has stricter legal protections for the LGBT community, it also has HIV travel restrictions. That said, you can make a trip to the famous Galapagos Islands where nobody cares what your sexuality is. Everyone’s there to be mesmerized by island penguins.

Brazil is an obvious choice.

CREDIT: @instacopacabana / Instagram

While Brazil earned some points on the index for some of its legislation to protect LGBTQ people, it loses points for its religious influence and murders of the LGBTQ community. If you’re going to Brazil, check out Copacabana and Ipanema, which are notoriously gay tourist spots.

Plus, Carnival is no joke.

Costa Rica is queer heaven.

CREDIT: @visit_costarica / Twitter

Costa Rica is cherished in the queer community. You go to find your solitude and peace with nature. With the tourism industry being a mainstay for the economy, you’d be hard pressed to encounter hate here.

Nicaragua is a toss up.

CREDIT: @discovernicaragua / Instagram

Nicaragua is a borderline place to visit, with not too many laws in place to protect the community, but also not to much recorded hostility toward the community. What is gayer than your own private sea cave with your boo? The landscape speaks for itself.

México, however, has been gay for thousands of years.

CREDIT: @JuanAlbavera / Twitter

Tulum has exploded as a destination in México, and while the country as a whole is pretty friendly to the gays, Tulum has a special history with our community. The Mayans once thrived in this spot on the Yucatan and were known for celebrating sexual diversity. Not much has changed.

If you’re not into the party scene and want to unwind, see the Mayan ruins and maybe check out a gay bar in nearby Playa del Carmen, go to Tulum.

Guatemala boasts some incredible scenery.

CREDIT: @_Greg_Jensen / Twitter

Lake Atitlán in Guatemala is breathtaking. You can jump in that lake, take in views of nearby volcanos and snap all the selfies your big, bleeding, gay heart desires with no shame.

Panama is a Central American getaway.

CREDIT: @ToshioK / Instagram

Panama comes in hot after México on the index rating, though Panama City doesn’t have a gay neighborhood. You can check out the Envy Club Panamá, which hosts drag shows and Mr. Gay Central America. It just opened and is right in front of Hotel Hyatt Place–there’s your hotel, to boot.

Belize has some of the most pristine waters to dip in with your boo.

CREDIT: @GayTravel / Instagram

While it is featured on Gay Travel blogs, the index has it rated as a -4, nearing the bottom of the list worldwide. However, the country is pivoting to tourism as a main source of income and tourism changes things.

Do not go to Honduras!

CREDIT: @fabrizphoto / Instagram

Honduras has the highest rate of transgender murders relative to its population. After liberal president Manuel Zelaya was ousted in 2009, 215 LGBT murders have taken place. Things can change, though. LGBT activist Erick Martínez is a candidate for Congress in Honduras, despite the risk he’s taking to even run publicly.

Tampoco, don’t head to Peru anytime soon.

CREDIT: @explorandoperu365 / Instagram

While Peru comes in hot after Kyrgyzstan and before Ukraine on the index list, some legislation is starting to pass to make it more legally safe to travel to the country. Don’t go on our advice though.

Wherever you decide to go, we hope it’s somewhere you can let loose. It is vacation after all.

CREDIT: @lgtbphotos / Twitter

I know I always want to support a tourist economy that is going to welcome me with open arms, and I’m not interested in having my guard up on vacation. Let me display all that Latina affection I’ve been raised to do in peace.


READ: These 19 Straight Allies Are Using Their Fame And Influence To Stand Up For Their LGBTQ+ Brothers And Sisters

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Lisa Frank And Hotels.com Created An Apartment That Looks Like The Inside Of Your 3rd Grade Backpack

Culture

Lisa Frank And Hotels.com Created An Apartment That Looks Like The Inside Of Your 3rd Grade Backpack

LisaFrank / Instagram

Calling all ’90s kids. Was there ever a better feeling in the world than getting a new shimmery, colorful Lisa Frank binder? We all know that one person who had the whole kit; pencils, erasers, notebooks, stickers. Maybe that person was you or maybe they were someone you were always just a little jealous of, whether you admit it or not. It was a rainbow-colored explosion in every elementary and middle school in the ’90s. Yet, Lisa Frank stationery wants to make the experience immersive. You now have a chance to stay in an apartment decorated in the signature rainbow-colored and slightly psychedelic style of the ’90s brand.

The Lisa Frank apartment, a collaboration between Lisa Frank and Hotels.com, screams nostalgia.

Credit: Hotels.com

Lisa Frank teamed up with Hotels.com to bring your ’90s backpack to life. Hospitality company Barsala, which specializes in delivering the best value for price to their customers. A lucky few fans will be transported to the wonderful world of fluffy rainbows, unicorns, golden retrievers, and technicolor dolphins. The Lisa Frank-themed penthouse is in the Los Angeles Fashion District in downtown. But if you want to stay there, you better hurry. The room is only available for a couple of weeks this month only.

“We wanted to design a room that celebrates all things ’90s, and nothing screams childhood nostalgia more than these iconic designs,” Adam Jay, president of Hotels.com told Curbed LA.

The bed has Lisa Frank sheets and duvet and there are pillows with the trademark colorful kitties and puppies of the brand.

Credit: LisaFrank / Instagram

The bedroom features a hot-pink four-poster bed with a light-up canopy outfitted with Lisa Frank’s signature chromatic bedding and rainbow-hued curtains. There’s a wall-sized mural featuring some of Lisa Frank’s most iconic designs like the rainbows coming out of fluffy clouds, the bear dressed like an Elton John-styled magician, and all of the animals and characters we remember.

The bathroom is an underwater technicolor oasis with all of the Lisa Frank nautical designs we all recognize.

Credit: LisaFrank / Instagram

The bathroom walls are decorated with Lisa Frank’s underwater scenes that graced out school folders for years. Heart-shaped bubbles, rainbow colored tropical fish, and the famous pink and blue dolphins cover the bathroom walls. It is everything you ever wanted your parents to do for your bedroom and bathroom growing up.

Of course, Lisa Frank’s chromatic animal print collection is on full display in the kitchen. 

Credit: LisaFrank / Instagram

You’ll find a true rainbow color spectrum in this kitchen from bright pink to pale blue and all the colors in between. Lisa Frank’s iconic animal prints come to life on the cupboards. Yellow zebra print, a red leopard print that fades to orange. The best part? The kitchen comes fully stocked with the most iconic vibrant-colored candy from your childhood —like Gushers, Pop-Tarts, Pixy Stix, and Planters Cheez Balls.

Get in touch with your inner pop artist with all the stationery and Lisa Frank goodies you can take home.

Credit: Hotels.com

If all the rainbows and colors are making you inspired, next to the lounge area, there’s an office space complete with all the cutesy rainbow Lisa Frank stationery you could ever want. The desk comes supplied with pencils, post-its, notepads and stickers. If ever we wanted to smuggle something out of a hotel room, this is it. 

Guests even get limited edition robes, slippers, and sleep-masks.

Credit: Hotels.com

With your booking, you get to take all of the goodies you like. The candy, the stationery, the Lisa Frank-embroidered robes, and slippers, all yours for the rate of $199 a night.

Yes, Lisa Frank is a real person, but the art was a collaborative effort.

Credit: LisaFrank / Instagram

The Lisa Frank brand first rose to prominence in the 1980s and ’90s as purveyors of hyper-bright, animal-centric school supplies, including Trapper Keepers, pencil bags, backpacks, stickers, and stationery. Lisa Frank is a real person and started the company while she was still in college. However, many artists collaborated to design the illustrations. 

“The artwork was a collaborative effort, but it all began with me putting it on paper as a marker rendering,” Rondi Kutz, who was Lisa Frank Inc.’s Senior Designer and Product Development Leader told HelloGiggles. “The concepts came from Lisa, James (her husband), or me, so I can say that some of the characters were my idea and original design. But by the time it went on to an illustrator to redraw it, adding detail, then to a computer artist who rendered it on the computer (which entailed hundreds of hours of work), it had many artists’ stamps on it.” Kutz went on to work at the company until 2002.

Other notable themed properties available to rent (not on Hotels.com) include Bella Swan’s house from “Twilight,” a “Taco Bell inn” pop-up and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Stays at the Lisa Frank Apartment are available only from October 11 through 27. The cost per night is $199 and the room can only be booked through Hotels.com.

READ: This Mexican Hotel Will Give You Unlimited Tequila And Let You Sleep Inside A Tequila Barrel

Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

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Trans Activists Of Color Protested At The CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall And Audience Members Applauded

Bryan Bedder / Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES

CNN and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted a historic town hall last night focusing on issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. The moderators and presidential candidates tackled topics and hard-hitting issues that have severely impacted the lives of millions of LGBTQ+ Americans. The town hall happened as the Supreme Court is deciding if LGBTQ+ people are deserving of the same discrimination protections as all Americans. Here’s what happened last night.

Texas politician Julián Castro made it clear that religion will not be an excuse for LGBTQ+ discrimination in his administration.

There have numerous attempts by local and state governments to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The bills, often labeled as Religious Freedom bills, have been proposed in North Carolina and Indiana and failed. North Carolina wanted to legislate what bathroom people had to use and Indiana wanted to give religious organizations and business owners the license to outright discriminate against people based on their faith.

“If I’m elected president, the first order of business on January 20, 2021, will be to have a catalog with all of the different executive actions that this president, this administration, has taken, including exemptions that they’ve created or rolled back that has allowed people to discriminate against the LGBTQ, using as the reason their religion, their excuse their religion,” Castro told an audience member who asked how he will stop religious organizations from using their faith to dictate discriminatory laws. “I will go back to what we did in the Obama administration and then take it to the next level to protect the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that anybody should be bale to discriminate against you because you are a member of the LGBTQ community. I don’t believe that folks should be getting funding if they’re doing that. I don’t believe that in the healthcare context, the housing context, the employment context that people should be able to do that. I support the Equality Act and will work to pass that. When I was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, we did the transgender rule, which as I mentioned, expanded the equal access rule so that transgender individuals can find shelter in a manner that they are comfortable with and in accordance to their preference and that’s what I would do as president.”

Castro’s performance during the LGBTQ+ town hall has received praise from LGBTQ+ people.

Credit: @cmclymer / Twitter

Castro was able to speak about the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community with an understanding that proves he isn’t going off talking points.

His conversation about faith and the license to discriminate showed his understanding of religion and LGBTQ+ people of faith.

Credit: @TUSK81 / Twitter

Castro wants to keep religion from attacking the very LGBTQ+ people of faith who depend on it. For many religious LGBTQ+ people, seeing religious leaders claim that their faith doesn’t accept them is a harsh reality.

Trans women of color let their voices be heard in a town hall that largely ignored them.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted when he started his time on the stage. Trans activist Bamby Salcedo and other trans women of color stormed the venue holding trans flag that read “We Are Dying.” The women chanted “We are dying” and “Do something.” Some audience members joined the women in their protest however others jumped up to take the flag away and end the protest.

Anderson Cooper, who was moderating for Buttigieg, spoke up for the women as they were escorted out telling the audience, “Let me just point out, there is a long and proud tradition in history in the gay, lesbian and transgender community of protest and we applaud them for their protest.”

Cooper continued saying, “And they are absolutely right to be angry and upset at the lack of attention, particularly in the media, of the lives of transgender [people].”

Another trans activist, Blossom C Brown, also took on the moderators about the lack of Black trans voices during the town hall.

A lot of the conversation during the town hall focused on issues impacting gay men, trans women, and bisexual people. Many are calling out the town hall for ignoring trans people of color, lesbians, and non-binary people when it comes to health, housing, identity expression, and other issues impacting these communities specifically.

Ashlee Marie Preston, the only trans Black woman in the program, was taken out of the program by CNN so she publicly boycotted the event.

Credit: @AshleeMPreston / Twitter

There was a pretty glaring lack of trans women and men of color during the hours of discussion about LGBTQ+ issues. It is a common complaint within the community as trans women of color have long been ignored and silenced within the LGBTQ+ Rights movement.

READ: After Almost Two Years, Trans Activist Alejandra Barrera Has Been Released From ICE Custody