LGBT in Colombia

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The initialism LGBT is used to refer collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and members of the specific group and to the community (subculture) that surrounds them. This can include rights advocates, artists, authors, etc.

In spite of considerable de jure legal protection for the LGBT community in Colombia (see LGBT rights in Colombia), LGBT individuals are often subject to controversy regarding acceptance (transgender individuals, in particular).


There are no complete statistical studies on the number of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people in Colombia. Some research of the National Department of Statistics indicate that in the capital Bogotá, there are a rough estimate of 219,520 predominantly gay men and 615,000 men who have sex with men (MSMs). The numbers for women vary between 48,000 and 96,000. An extrapolation to the entire country's population estimates nearly a million gay men, 2.5 million MSMs and 350,000 lesbians.

LGBT history[edit]

Balboa setting his war dogs upon Indian practitioners of male love
  • 1513: Spanish conquistador Vasco Nuñez de Balboa killed a group of Native Americans with his dogs near the Darien Gap, who were said to be homosexuals.
  • 1514: One of the first books written about the Americas, Historia General y Natural de las Indias reports that homosexuality was fairly common in the territory of what is today Colombia[1]
  • 1610: The opening of the Spanish inquisition tribunal in Cartagena. The tribunal has autonomy to apply the death penalty in cases of sodomy.
  • 19th and early 20th centuries: Treatments supposed to cure homosexuality were applied, such as electroshock, hormones and monkey testicle xenotransplantation.[2]
  • 1970s: In Medellín, a group of gay men led by León Zuleta started the first Colombian gay association (Zuleta was killed due to related causes in 1993)[3]
  • 1974: The American Psychiatric Association removed the homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM), its list of mental diseases. The national government, however did not adopt this standard and still classified homosexuality as a mental illness in the national disease codification CIE for several more years.
  • 1976: The MLHC (Movimiento de Liberación Homosexual de Colombia- Colombia's Homosexual Liberation Movement), is founded in Bogotá by Manuel Velandia Mora, based on León Zuleta's idea, who had edited the first issue of "El Otro" magazine, in Medellín.
  • 1981: Homosexuality is declared legal by the Colombian government. (Prior to this year, homosexuality was considered a crime and punished with 5 to 15 years jail time)
  • 1982: The first gay pride parade was celebrated in Bogotá, with about 32 people marching. A contingent of nearly a hundred policemen were sent for crowd control.
  • 1983: The first official reports of AIDS-related deaths in Colombia. The GAI Help and Information on AIDS Group (GAI Grupo de ayuda e Informacion sobre SIDA) is founded by Manuel Velandia and Eduardo Moreno.
  • 1986-1989: Groups of illegal anti-gay social cleansing were formed around the country to take actions against the LGBT community. The media reported a rising bigotry and about 640 related murders during this period. Some groups that attributed themselves the crimes were "Manonegra" (black hand), "Amor a Medellín" (love to Medellín), "Amor a Manizales" (love to Manizales) and "muerte a HOMOSEXUALES" (death to homosexuals).
  • 1990: Manuel Velandia promoted the recognition of equal rights for HIV/AIDS-infected people.
  • 1991-1994: Reports of the media about several episodes of gay bashing against people leaving places suspected of being gay nightclubs in Bogotá, who were stripped, soaked with cold water and left in the top of Monserrate hill.
  • 1994: The first support groups for HIV/AIDS were created.
  • 1996: The first organized lesbian groups were created.
  • 1995: Psychologist Marina Talero created the first support groups for transgender people.
  • During the early 2000s, the Colombian lawyer and LGBT Activist German Perfetti won legal actions for the achievement of important issues such as: social security for same-sex couples, the right to work for gay teachers, protection against unjustified job loss for LGBT–related causes, and the right to legal name change for transgender people.[4]
  • 2000: The first National LGBT Convention was celebrated in Bogotá.
  • 2001: Creation of Planeta Paz (the Planet Peace Project) for bisexual visibility.
  • 2002: May 1. A hand grenade was thrown against Manuel Velandia´s house, in the West Chapinero neighborhood of Bogota. Velandia was at the time running campaign for Chamber of Representatives of Colombia in representation of the Liberal Party and the sexual minorities.[5]
  • 2007: January 17. Manuel Velandia left the country and headed to San Sebastián, Spain, asking for Right to asylum with the aid of the Spanish Red Cross, The Spanish Commission of help for refugees (CEAR) and the GEHITU (LGBT association of the Basque Country). His case was finally presented to the provincial commissary of police on February, 2007.[6]
  • 7 February 2007: Colombian Constitutional Court recognizes proprietary equity (inheritance) rights for same-sex couples having lived together for more than 2 years and registered as a union in a public notary, thanks to the efforts of the public interest law group of Universidad de los Andes.[7]
  • March 2007: The president of the Catholic Bishop council, Pedro Rubiano, together with other ecclesiastic authorities, made press statements against the recognition of same-sex couples by the national government.[8]
  • June 2007: The Colombian Congress, in the final stage of recognition of same-sex couples, decided to discard the project
  • 5 October 2007: The Colombian Constitutional Court rules that same-sex couples registered as a couple in a public notary must be granted the same social security (health care) benefits as those given to heterosexual couples.
  • 12 November 2007: The LGBT community center of Chapinero was closed for a month due to bureaucratic issues and lack of funds[9]
  • December 2007: Several transvestites murdered in Bogota's Santafé neighborhood. Reports of at least one million pesos (about 500 dollars) being paid in exchange for each murder.[10]
  • 17 April 2008: The Colombian Constitutional Court rules that same-sex couples registered as a couple in a public notary must be granted the same pension benefits as those given to heterosexual couples. This ruling, together with the ruling of 7 February 2007 on property rights (inheritance) and the ruling of 5 October 2007 on social security means Colombian same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples.
  • 27 January 2009: the Colombian Constitutional Court makes a general revision of the National Constitution in order to provide equality between same-sex civil unions and heterosexual ones. Also, in order to correct every single article where homosexual people and couple would be under discrimination.
  • 8 April 2010: The office of asylum and refugees, of the General Direction of Interior Politics of the Spanish Ministry of Interior recognized Manuel Antonio Velandia Mora with the condition of refugee and the right of asylum.[6]
  • 26 July 2011: Same-sex Couples are recognized as a form of Family, Constitutional Court ruled that those families need a contract that solemnize their bond and asked National Congress to legislate in order to protect same-sex couples before 20 June 2013. If Congress fails to do so, same-sex couples may go to judges and notaries to register their union with the solemnity of Marriage.
  • 5 November 2015: Same-sex couples allowed to adopt children, Colombia’s constitutional court ruled that adoption agencies could not discriminate against LGBT couples during an adoption process.[11]
  • 2018: Colombia prosecuted a transgender woman's murder as a femicide for the first time in 2018, sentencing Davinson Stiven Erazo Sánchez to twenty years in a psychiatric center for "aggravated femicide" a year after he killed Anyela Ramos Claros, a transgender woman.[12]

LGBT rights in Colombia[edit]

As mentioned on, Colombia is a progressive nation in terms of LGBT equality. According to Colombia Diversa‘s website and news reports, Colombia’s gay-friendly policies grant the following rights to LGBT people:

Marriage Equality: Colombia’s Constitutional Court recently ruled that gays and lesbians cannot be denied the freedom to marry

Adoption: Colombia’s courts ruled in 2015 that gay and lesbian couples have the right to adopt, ruling that barring gay people from adopting had unreasonably deprived children of the right to be raised by families

Free from discrimination in the workplace and places of public accommodations: It is a crime to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity Colombia has even made the very act of kissing in public a protected right

Immigration Equality: Gay and lesbian Colombians can sponsor their same-sex partners or spouses to obtain residency

Social Security and Health Benefits: Even before marriage equality was recognized, Colombia granted health and social security benefits, including survivor benefits, to same-sex couples


The Red ribbon is a symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS.

There is about 20 registered LGBT Organizations in Colombia. Among others:

  • Colombia Diversa Organization[13]
  • Lesbian Organizations: "DeGeneres-E", "Triangulo Negro" ( Black Triangle), "Lesbic Collective" and "Mujeres al Borde" ( Women to the Edge)
  • Lambda project: HIV/AIDS- related
  • "Círculo LGBT Uniandino", Universidad de los Andes
  • "Stonewall Javeriano", Student group by Pontificia Universidad Javeriana - Vicerrectoría del Medio Universitario - Asistencia para el fomento de Grupos Estudiantiles
  • Grupo estudiantil UDiversia, Universidad distr
  • TRANS-SER Red de Apoyo a Transgeneristas[14]


  • FLOWER POWER is a party held every Sunday before a Monday bank holiday in an upscale location in the north of Bogota. Some of its proceedings go to LGBT-related projects.
  • SUNGAY Party is a charity event to raise funds for LGBT-related projects.[15]
  • Gay Pride Day: 28 June, with parades in the main cities of the country.
  • Del Mismo Modo, En el Sentido Contrario, Party from Círculo LGBT Uniandino.
  • fiesta gitler. party from Stonwall javeriano, Pontificia universidad javeriana
  • Guacherna Gay at Barranquilla's Carnival.

Gay villages[edit]

Most of the LGBT-friendly places (nightclubs, bars, gay bath houses, etc.) in Bogotá are concentrated in the Chapinero area, including the only LGBT Community Center in the country, which opened in September 2006, and is sponsored by the Office of the Mayor of Bogotá.[16] See also Zona Rosa de Bogotá.


  • Alonso Sanchez Baute: Al Diablo la Maldita Primavera (To Hell with the Goddamn Spring). (also adapted to theater). He also wrote "Libranos del bien".
  • Fernando Vallejo: Our Lady of the Assassins (novel) (also adapted to film), El Desbarrancadero (The Precipice), El Rio del Tiempo (River of Time), Los Caminos a Roma (Roads to Rome) among others.
  • Porfirio Barba-Jacob
  • Luis Fayad: Los parientes de Esther (Esther's relatives)
  • Ruben Velez: Veinticinco centímetros (25 centimetres), dec. 1997 published by W. C. Editores


  • Miau Colombia:[17] Miau Underground Collective. the first online LGTB television show in Colombia.
  • Bogotárosa:[18] Webportal, dedicated to LGBT community in Bogotá, Metro area and Colombia. News, guide, movies, music and general entertainment.
  • "EL OTRO" (1970) published by León Zuleta[19] was the first gay publication released in a regular basis in the country.
  • Indetectable[20]
  • RumbaG portal[21]
  • Nemesis times magazine[22]


  • Theatron: Located in Bogotá, is considered the largest gay nightclub in Latin America[23]
  • Medellín nightclubs: Feathers-Splash[24]
  • In Barranquilla Studio 54 and Sky bar among other baths, videos and so on.


  • Colombia LGBT: On-line guide to gay resources all over the country[25]


  1. ^ Thomas, Hugh. El imperio español: de Colón a Magallanes. Editorial Planeta, S.A. ISBN 84-08-04951-8
  2. ^ 403 Forbidden
  3. ^ "MOVIMIENTO GAY: A nivel mundial" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 26, 2007. Retrieved September 14, 2007.
  4. ^ "DeGeneres-E - Congreso inicia discusión de proyecto de ley que garantiza derechos de los homosexuales".
  5. ^ "ATENTADO CONTRA CANDIDATO - Archivo Digital de Noticias de Colombia y el Mundo desde 1.990 -".
  6. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-03. Retrieved 2011-05-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ (in Spanish)
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2007-09-10. Retrieved 2007-09-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Colombia: reabre sus puertas el Centro Comunitario gay lésbico trans de Bogotá - AG Magazine - Actitud Gay Magazine - Noticias y contenidos LGBT de Argentina, Latinoamérica y el mundo".
  10. ^ "En Colombia, otra trans muerta, no importa - AG Magazine - Actitud Gay Magazine - Noticias y contenidos LGBT de Argentina, Latinoamérica y el mundo".
  11. ^ Press, Associated (4 November 2015). "Colombia court rules same-sex couples must be allowed to adopt children" – via The Guardian.
  12. ^ "For the first time, Colombia prosecutes a transgender woman's murder as a femicide". Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  13. ^ COLOMBIA DIVERSA official webpage
  14. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  15. ^[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Bogotá.gov, Sitio Oficial de Bogotá
  17. ^ "Miau Colombia". Archived from the original on 2008-12-05.
  18. ^ Bogotárosa
  19. ^ "Choike - El movimiento LGBT en Colombia".
  20. ^ "Indetectable – Sitio de la ONG colombiana Fundación en Acción organización dedicada a llevar información y educación sobre vih, sida, Derechos humanos especialmente Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos".
  21. ^ rumbag
  22. ^ Nemesis Times Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Directorio LGBT - LGBT - Theatron".
  24. ^ Vacaciones paisas de culto
  25. ^ Colombia LGBT webpage

External links[edit]