Pride Month: We are the first to have a same-sex wedding in Central America

26th June 2020

Tuesday May 26 2020 was a historical day for Costa Rica, Central America, and the world. Costa Rica became the first Central American country to legalize same-sex marriage. At Raleigh, we were very happy to hear the news, but even happier to know that one of the first people to get married was one of our own, Raleigh ICS alumni Alexandra. Alexandra spoke to us about what it all has meant to her.

Congratulations from everyone at Raleigh! How was your wedding day?

Alexandra:  Thank you so much! It was a wonderful and unexpected day. We wanted to get married in January because some couples were getting married before it was approved, with the registration pending to take place as soon as same-sex marriage entered into force. But some persecutions were given to the officials who were performing those weddings, so we decided to wait. Luckily, an opportunity was presented to us to get married right on May 26th, so we decided to do it as soon as the law came into force; we started the ceremony at 00:01 and we were registered at 00:08 – crazy!

What does it mean to you to be the first couple to have a same-sex wedding in Central America?

Alexandra:  We had not thought that our marriage would end up being news around the world, but it has been an incredible experience. Starting with the fact that only a few years ago the idea of ​​legalizing same-sex marriage in Costa Rica was almost impossible, we did not think it would happen so fast.

From 2010 onwards, our society has changed rapidly and activism has opened the space for [same-sex marriage in Costa Rica] to stop sounding like a crazy idea. People from different entities and organizations have joined together to achieve it. Definitely it would not have been achieved without the fight, the tears and the time of the incredible LGBTIQ+ activists that we have in our country and the help of many others who trained us, such as Evan Wolfson of “Freedom to Marry”, a campaign that sensitized much of the United States and inspired the “Yes I accept” campaign in Costa Rica to introduce equal marriage in our country.

What has the first month been like, have you received a lot of support?

Alexandra:  This first month has gone by too quickly, it seems like it was just a few days ago that we got married. We haven’t had much time and there have been many changes, such as the fact that my wife’s job appointment was cut as a result of the marriage. We knew that was a possibility, but we decided to take the risk because we know that we cannot live in fear or make invisible what already exists. But we have received a lot of support and congratulations from our family, friends and even from people we do not know. Our marriage has inspired many people and I think that is the most rewarding thing we could ever have.

Alexandra has volunteered with Raleigh four times!
What is your hope for the future of LGBTQ+ rights in Central America? Do you think you have helped to create change?

Alexandra:  My wish is that equal marriage is a reality in all the countries of Central America. We know that a difficult task awaits us, that having achieved it in Costa Rica is only one step, but we are willing to take on the challenge and do whatever it takes. I think the change had started long before our marriage, but I also believe that every action, no matter how small, generates change. In our case, I think that we managed to make part of the LGBTIQ+ population visible and say: here we are, we existed before and now we are legal.

Why do you think Pride Month is important?

Alexandra:  I think Pride Month is important because it all started as a fight that has slowly turned into a celebration. Every year more people celebrate with us, every year we have more allies, every year we live safer, more visible, more united. Pride Month is an essential part for the entire world to celebrate diversity, knowing that we are all diverse, that diversity embraces us all: homosexuals, heterosexuals, transsexuals, queer, etc.

Do you have a message for young people or other young members of the LGBTQ+ community around the world?

Alexandra:  My message is to love yourself and others as much as you can. Value differences, both your own and those of others, and be strong. Life does not advance in a straight line, it is best to live it and build it according to our possibilities, but always giving the best of ourselves.

The world can be a more inclusive, safer, more equitable place, and we must try to achieve it every day, wherever we are. Imagine the change we can achieve if we join forces, if we stop seeing each other as competition and see ourselves as brothers and sisters. The world is going through difficult times, let us be supportive, we all face various struggles, so no one can ever spare a hand. And above all that: be yourself, whenever you can, as much as you can. The value of each one of us is greater than the sum of all the things that we can count in the world.

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