A historic World Cup football win wasn’t the only thing people in San José were celebrating Sunday. Hours before the big game, more than 10,000 supporters of the lesbian, gay and transgender movement marched down Paseo Colón for the annual Diversity March. This year’s pride parade follows two historic victories for the Costa Rican LGBT movement: the flying of the rainbow flag over Casa Presidencial and the extension of public health insurance benefits for same-sex couples.
Marching alongside the droves of shirtless men, drag queens and rainbow-clad supporters was the U.S. Embassy’s chargé d’affaires, Gonzalo Gallegos.
“U.S. Embassies around the world are participating in these diversity marches,” Gallegos told The Tico Times. “We think that it is really important that people speak out about their rights.”
Former presidential candidate José María Villalta also was at the event as one of the parade marshals. Villalta and his Broad Front Party have championed gay rights in Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly. With nine Broad Front lawmakers now in the Assembly, Villalta said he hopes they can continue pushing forward with reforms, but he also noted that his coalition faces obstacles.
“We are always working to get reforms passed to support members of the LGBT community,” Villalta told The Tico Times, “but there is also a strong socially conservative block in the Legislative Assembly right now that opposes these human rights advances. We still plan to continue the fight.”