Costa Rica

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: legal
  • Legal gender recognition: possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: possible
  • Actions related to SOGi at UN: supported IE SOGI in 2016



Costa Rica has made significant progress on LGBTIQ issues in the last decade. In 2018, the Supreme Court ordered parliament to legalize same sex marriage within 18 months, therefore, same sex marriage will be legal in Costa Rica by May 26, 2020. In 2018, legal gender recognition without surgical or judicial interference became possible, 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.

Societal opinion of LGBTIQ issues is mixed. 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 as a threat to “family values.” Meanwhile president Quesada has issued a public apology for past persecution of LGBTIQ people in Costa Rica, and has thrown his weight behind equal marriage efforts. Societal acceptance has grown significantly in recent years.