by Ivo Henfling
Because I grew up in Holland it comes easy to talk about the topic and quite a few gay people email me asking that question: “are gay people moving to Costa Rica”. The answer is yes.
When I was a kid, there was a gay kid on my block and at the time nobody would talk about it. He was the first person on national TV with his partner, talking about his experiences of coming out of the closet.
Jeez, I knew when I was 12 years old that he was gay. His mom and dad were very religious, poor guy, he suffered a lot and his mom and dad probably too. That was like in 1972.
When I moved to Costa Rica, I used to go to Ojo de Agua once in a while, a large public swimming pool near the International airport Juan Santamaría. A gay man walked around the pool and hundreds of people whistled at him. Costa Rica was a very macho community back in 1980. Today, Costa Rica is still quite macho and the Catholic Church is not helping much.
The church of course disapproves and they still have a lot of power in the Latin American countries. Gay marriage is not accepted yet and the gay community in Costa Rica is constantly fighting for more rights, little by little things are changing.
Today’s blog is not about the right or wrong of being gay, it is about being able to live in Costa Rica when you are gay. I hope this topic doesn’t bother any of my readership, it shouldn’t.
Live and let live. I am straight but it doesn’t bother me at all to be around gay people. I have had many gay clients over the years, men and women alike. There are quite a few gay on my newsletter list, they are very good clients and they are very loyal with the real estate agent they decide to stick with.
Years ago, I had very nice clients (all my clients are nice by the way), two lesbians. We looked at about 70 homes for sale, but they stuck with me. The problem was that they didn’t like bathroom tiles with flowers and yes, you guessed it right.
They finally decided to buy a beautiful home in Curridabat and remodel the bathrooms. When my wife and I arrived at their housewarming party, though I had warned my wife, she almost got a heart attack seeing that everyone in the room was gay. After an hour or so, she told me that she didn’t feel uncomfortable anymore.
Today, she has quite a few gay friends as she found out they are not from a different planet, they’re not animals but they are just a bit different than straight people. She just never had contact with gay people and it had always made her feel unconfortable.
I don’t know how it feels to be gay in a straight world; I do see that my wife’s friends feel very comfortable talking to me because it’s not an issue to me.
For those gay people who want to move to Costa Rica, there are many gay bars and discos for the gay community and the gay community is quite large. You can walk the streets without being whistled at. I think that generally, the local straight people are accepting the fact that gay people are people too.