When you’re queer, there’s more to a travel destination than sunny skies and beautiful scenes. It is important to check the legal and societal status of homosexuality in any country or region. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that the locals are happy about it.
If you’re a lesbian planning a trip to El Salvador, this should be the first tip in your travel handbook. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about lesbians in El Salvador.
Being a Lesbian in Salvador
El Salvador is predominantly catholic and conservative, and they heavily frown on public displays of affection for same-sex couples. Heteronormativity and traditional gender roles are deeply ingrained into the society and culture of El Salvador. According to Wikipedia, El Salvador is one of the most socially homophobic countries in Latin America and possibly the world. So, it is advisable to stay low-key and discreet as a lesbian couple.
Violence and Discrimination
Sadly, El Salvador offers no safe haven for persons of the LGBTQ community. Queer people, including lesbians, face degrading treatment, torture, illegal and arbitrary arrests, use of excessive force, and other acts of violence, mostly by public security personnel. There is no legal protection for LGBTQ persons in El Salvador.
Support and Advocacy
El Salvador might not be the safest place to travel or move to as a lesbian. However, there are numerous organizations and activists that are actively working to promote the rights and representation of LGBTQ persons.
The Duke LGBTI+ community and health center is the only establishment that caters to queer people in El Salvador. The center is a refuge for many, and it offers different services such as sexual healthcare, psychological care, safe shelter, human rights education, and advocacy activities.
This center is supported by Spotlight Initiative, a campaign set to eradicate all forms of violence against girls and women.
How to Stay Safe in El Salvador
LGBTQ+ persons are actively targeted for hate crimes and violence in El Salvador, so lesbians should take extra precautions when traveling to this country.
Here are a few tips that will help boost your safety while traveling in El Salvador.
Have Police Digits in Your Phone
In case of any emergency, call 911. However, if you need to contact Politur, you should call 2511-8300 or 2511-8302. Politur is an extension of the national civilian police, and they are dedicated to ensuring the well-being of tourists. They offer safety information, but you can also arrange for escorts.
Not Everywhere is Safe
Gang violence is a prominent issue in El Salvador, and while they might not target tourists, being a same-sex couple can increase the odds of getting targeted. To be safe, avoid the Apopka, Soyapango, and Mejicanos areas in and around San Salvador.
If you’re vacationing with your significant other in El Salvador, it is highly advisable to avoid public displays of affection. The society here is not LGBTQ-friendly, and you might be on the receiving end of scorn, discrimination, or even violence.
In addition, research ahead for lesbian-friendly resorts and hotels you could stay at.
Find a Community
When traveling in such a country, it is wise to connect with your community for support. You can log in to Taimi for lesbians if you want to connect with other gay travelers in El Salvador. This platform allows you to interact, exchange travel tips, and share experiences. In addition, Taimi allows you to connect with people who are looking to match, whether for short-term flings or potential life partners.
Avoid Solo Night Walks or Drives
Naturally, it is advisable to avoid walking or driving alone at night when in a foreign place. Instead, ask your hotel to make taxi arrangements if you need to go out without a group.
Know a Safe Taxi
To be safe, always ensure your taxi is official by having an ‘a’ at the beginning of its registration. In addition, most taxis don’t have meters, so do any haggling before getting in.
Leave Your CBD Balms and Edibles at Home
Please note that cannabis and cannabis-derived products are illegal in El Salvador. So, clean out your toiletry bag appropriately to avoid getting in trouble with authorities. In case you’re willing to risk it, it is important to know that El Salvador has some of the harshest consequences for drug possession.
El Salvador might not be the most gay-friendly vacation spot, and caution is advised when traveling here.
However, Suchitoto is a safe haven for gay couples who want to have a good time in El Salvador. Compared to other parts of the country, this town is very tolerant and open-minded towards the LGBTQ+ community.