May 30, 2020
I have this terrible habit of posting on this platform once a year—at most—so all of you have the right to hold me accountable for my lack of consistency. However, I have always believed that whenever there’s a special moment/thought that needs to be shared, there’s no other place I would rather do it but here.
This is one of those moments.
COSTA RICA: A TROPICAL PARADISE AND WHAT LIES BENEATH
If you take a moment and search for those two words in your web browser, you will most likely be greeted by the following lines: “Costa Rica is a rugged, rainforested Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. Though its capital, San Jose, is home to cultural institutions like the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Costa Rica is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife including spider monkeys and quetzal birds.”
And as inciting as that description may be, it’s not the half of it. Under those layers of natural beauty lies the heart of a society that has struggled with defending and pursuing equal rights and a betterment in society. It has been an uphill battle—for some more than others—but today, after countless tears, hatred, harassment, and injustice, every step of that climb proved to be worth it.
Today, we won a fight for love.
THE ROAD TO JUSTICE IS PAVED WITH ADVISORY OPINIONS
This fight we’re talking about began eons ago—and please don’t mind the exaggeration; frankly, it has felt like it’s taken even longer than that.
It has always been there, wandering in the dark and shying away underneath stereotypes of what’s considered right and wrong, but it took a decisive turn the 18th of March 2016. Costa Rica submitted an advisory opinion to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding “gender identity and equality and non-discrimination against same-sex couples”. It had been impossible—to say the least—for the legislative power or any president to even fathom about proposing the idea. Every time they went there, the backlash of hate made anyone think they were heading down a dead-end road.
But that day, that 18th of March, everything changed.
(I will admit, though, we were not quite prepared yet for the rollercoaster of emotions that was about to hit us.)
A TREACHEROUS BUMP ALONG THE WAY
The advisory query was answered on November 24, 2017 and was notified on January 9, 2018 during our last electoral campaign. The Court established that we were evidently talking about a human right, one that had to be defended at all costs.
This gave way to a large number of divergent opinions, including those that emanated from political parties, which—as terribly predictable as it may be—created not only the biggest polarization of society that we had seen in a while, but also a disgraceful amount of discriminatory behaviors based on religious and age-old arguments on why breaking the “traditional family” would be a disgrace for the country.
Again, not shocking at all.
We were faced, then, with two possible candidates, one who stood for equal rights, and another that abided by the “traditional” context that had tormented the country for long enough. It was one of the most surreal and nerve-racking moments of our history, but luckily, Costa Rica came together and rejected the perpetuation of hate by electing our now president Carlos Alvarado Quesada.
NOTHING COMES EASY
He battled the country’s historical baggage, defied its religious drive to broaden our respect for human rights, and from then on, it was a chain reaction of falling dominoes that led to the most wonderful feeling today, the 26th of May 2020, right at midnight, when we openly celebrate that love won the battle.
Today we celebrate for those who had to go through years of neglecting who they were, to those who didn’t feel entitled to tell the world whom they loved because of the moral implications it brought, to those who rejoiced this moment in silence, and to those who are no longer with us. Today Costa Rica went down in history as the 29th country to legalize same sex marriage and the first one to do so in Central America.
This is a massive step for the LGTBIQ+ community, and a compromise from us to keep fighting. Because of days like this, I believe that anything is possible when you have enough hearts willing to make it happen.
For the time being, we keep on celebrating and fighting.
This battle won’t stop until the world opens up its arms to everyone.
And until then, we’re all with you.
“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” ―Nicholas Sparks