El Salvador is a country with a major influence of religion and machismo. However, with the new generations and the access to social media and internet, it’s common now to see many young Salvadorans showing their sexual orientation online. It is every day more common to see gay couples shopping at malls, at cafés, eating at restaurants, and at the movies. So… IS IT SAFE TO DO GAY TOURISM IN EL SALVADOR?
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El Salvador Population
El Salvador has a population of nearly 7 million habitants * (according to Worldbank), and it’s the third largest population living in the United States* (According to Pewresearch.org 2019).
Religion in El Salvador
The 44.9 percent of the population identifies as Catholic.
The 31.8 percent as evangelical Protestant,
The 18 percent with no religious affiliation.
(*data source: state.gov)
Of course, as you know none of these religions support the LGBTQ+ community, they condemn it, causing so much hurt and sometimes suicide in teenagers and young adults.
However, there is a church that welcomes everyone! yay! La Iglesia Episcopal de El Salvador, this is a very small and “underground” church that not everyone knows about.
CHURCH GAY FRIENDLY IN EL SALVADOR:
Iglesia Episcopal Anglicana de El Salvador
This is the only church in El Salvador that welcomes the LGBTQ+ community and is a safe space for the queer people that feels the need to religion in their lives.
“The maximum expression of unity is the Bishop who is currently represented by the Most Reverend Juan David Alvarado and the maximum expression of Authority of our Church is the Diocesan Convention that meets once a year.
Anglicanism came to El Salvador in the 30’s with the English-speaking communities residing in the country. At present, this church is an option for growth, a different way of life and spirituality for more than 6 thousand members of 22 congregations, missions and chapels throughout the national territory, where every week they meet to celebrate the Holy Eucharist; share the Sacred Scriptures and live together as a true family in Christ.“
The Episcopal church is making a big change for the lives of the LGBTQ+ community, they are building the first LGBTQ+ SHELTER in El Salvador. (We have never seen something like this in El Salvador). We applaud the great effort from all the people involved in building this shelter:
Casa Santa Marta, a shelter for LGBTIQ+ Youth and Young Adults in El Salvador
“Religion plays a huge role in spreading hate and discrimination because churches are some of the most trusted and influential institutions in El Salvador. Unfortunately, too many churches are not open and affirming, but instead condemn LGBTIQ+ people. The Anglican Church of El Salvador is in a unique position to promote a counter narrative to the story many LGBTIQ+ people and their families hear from faith leaders.”
How Casa Santa Marta will help LGBTQ+ youth at risk?
As a program of the Anglican Church of El Salvador, we recognize the prophetic voice of LGBTQ+ people, and embrace God’s call to support those who face injustice while advocating against continued injustice.
Emergency Care: Provide emergency food, shelter, clothing, and psychological support to those who have just fled their homes, been kicked out, or been deported
Intermediate Care: Help clients identify housing options with friends, sympathetic relatives, or other contacts. Clients learn about their rights in a loving community
External Accompaniment: Accompany clients who have found and moved into more stable housing through psychosocial services, educational support, and community events
Do you want to dontate or volunteer to make come true this dream?
Visit their website https://es.episcopalanglicanasv.org/
Follow them on social media: @santamartalgbt
LGBTQ + DISCRIMINATION IN EL SALVADOR
The businesses should think twice…. because it really damages their image on social media. There have been very few cases where gay couples have reported on social media discrimination for their looks and sexual orientation, which have turned on the business apologizing publicly.
We would like to make it clear, there is NOT a law banning these type of discrimination acts against the LGBTQ+ community.
GAY TOURISM EL SALVADOR
We recommend doing tourism with open minded and lgbtq+ friendly tour guides, Tunco Life is the leading tour operator in the Salvadoran Coast located in El Tunco Beach. Salvatore, the owner is well known for being respectful and welcoming travellers of any type of ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Tunco Life offers private packages to make you feel more comfortable and personalized. Tours are offered according to availability. I don’t personally know other tour guides openly “allies” towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Tunco Life has packages of one day trip to multi-days trips taking you all over El Salvador to show you the beauty of our country: volcano hike, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, war history and war route, coffee tour, indigo tour, downtown San Salvador, church architecture, and much more.
GAY HOSTEL EL SALVADOR
The only openly queer owned hostel in the beach area is CASA DE COLORES at Playa El Zonte. I highly recommend Casa de Colores which is a safe place where you can stay and feel comfortable in the beach area. It is a low budget hostel but it is the only one place that will make you feel loved and accepted. The owner Julio is such a kind hearted Salvadoran retired U.S. professor.
GAY BOUTIQUE HOTEL EL SALVADOR
LOS ALMENDROS, It is located in Suchitoto and it’s the best – high quality hotel boutique in the area. Its owners are a married couple, one Salvadoran and one French man. If you want to know more about this place, you can read this blog: https://www.theglobetrotterguys.com/2018/03/27/gay-el-salvador-local-perspective/
Other places to stay:
If you are staying at a different hotels / hostels, we highly recommend NOT to show PDA to your couple. El Salvador is still not ready to see PDA, young GLBTQ+ Salvadorans don’t show PDA, unfortunately they hide their feelings in public, they just walk close to each other, but you can still see on their eyes the “secret” love affair their smiles and nervousness show. They can only be themselves when they are in safe places or at queer owned business.
GAY BARS AND GAY DISCO EL SALVADOR
The best LGBTQ+ Discotec right now in El Salvador is Living. They have strict security inside and out of the place. They have dresscode and cover (entrance fee). However, not all LGBTQ+ people can afford going to Living. The cover can go from USD5.00 to USD15.00. Drinks are from USD3.00 to USD100. They offer themed shows every week. We really recommend this place.
The following options are for low budget LGBTQ+ memebers:
SCAPE discotec also known as EL HOYO and La Disca. It is by far the oldest gay bar in El Salvador. (I cannot say they are the first gay discotec because I don’t know, but they have been open ever since I remember- more than 10 years)
The Misters bar and discotec. This place is located nearby Metrocentro, a shopping mall, on a street called ZONA REAL where you can find many options of straight bars. The Misters is a bar owned by a Gay Salvadoran. They offer shows and affordable drinks and cover.
El Closet. This is a legendary lesbian owned bar. Just like Scape, El Closet has been on the business for years now. It is located on the same street as The Misters. They don’t have cover.
There are also Saunas for gay men only, Scandinavia is another legendary gay-business that has been open for years.
LGBTQ+ SPANISH vocabulary
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