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Country Overview

Costa Rica

At a glance

Same-sex Relations for Men Legal Throughout the Country?


Same-sex Relations for Women Legal Throughout the Country?


Legal Gender Recognition Possible?


LGBTI Orgs Able to Register?


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Costa Rica has made significant progress on LGBTIQ issues in the last decade. In 2018, the Supreme Court ordered the Parliament to legalize same-sex marriage within 18 months. Consequently, same-sex marriage has been legal in Costa Rica since May 26, 2020.  Legal gender recognition without surgical or judicial interference became possible in 2018, and the state health system began to finance gender-affirming medications and procedures. This progress is due, in part, to a push for greater LGBTIQ equality by prominent liberal politicians, including President Alvarado Quesada. Hate crime and anti-discrimination legislation does not mention sexual orientation or gender identity. The Catholic Church plays a strong cultural, political, and social role in Costa Rica, and many religious leaders have disparaged LGBTIQ people as immoral or a threat to “family values.” Meanwhile, President Quesada has issued a public apology for the past persecution of LGBTIQ people in Costa Rica and threw his weight behind equal marriage efforts. Societal acceptance has grown significantly in recent years.


Global Impact

Sub-Saharan Africa

Outright supports LGBTIQ organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and works with mainstream human rights organizations to respect human rights and influence positive changes in laws, policies, attitudes and beliefs that cause discrimination against LGBTIQ people.

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United Nations

Our work at the United Nations centers around advocating for the advancement of the rights of LGBTIQ people.

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Our work in Asia promotes acceptance of sexual and gender diversity at all levels of society.

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Middle East and North Africa

In the Middle East and North Africa, we partner with local groups in various countries as part of our international solidarity work. We also work with our local partners on different topics through capacity building, advocacy, research and holistic security.

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Europe and Central Asia

Outright International partners with activists to fight for an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in Europe and Central Asia, where most of our work involves emergency responses to harassment, discrimination, violence, and most recently, Russia’s brutal and expanded invasion of Ukraine.

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Our work in the Americas continues to build on the fundamental and positive transformation of human rights protections in recent years. We partner with groups in the Caribbean that focus on ending gender-based violence and eradicating discrimination against trans people.

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Our work in the Pacific aims to increase the visibility of activists, respond to human rights emergencies, and actively bridge local, regional, and international activism to achieve equality and justice.

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Human Rights Research

Since 1990, we have partnered with activists from all over the world to produce hundreds of groundbreaking reports.

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