Chile baffled us a little bit.

This is one of the most advanced countries in Latin America and considered one of the top 50 developed countries in the world. It is a stable, prosperous country, completely safe for foreigners, free from coups, high life expectancy, low infant mortality rate, high GDP, low unemployment, excellent health care, high quality of life etc etc etc

But, when it comes to LGBT rights, something’s amiss.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that Chile is a homophobic or dangerous place for gays, far from it. Santiago’s gay scene is huge, with gay couples holding hands/kissing publicly in the streets and Chile has one of the largest gay clubs in the whole of South America called Il Divino in nearby Viña del Mar.

It’s just that we expected so much more. Given how economically advanced Chile is, you’d expect it to be a LGBT world leader. Instead it lags behind its neighbours Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia who each have already introduced a whole heap of LGBT legislation, including gay marriage. Chile has only recently passed civil union laws with gay marriage still under discussion and adoption rights a long way away.

International Pride Day in June 2016 included a march for gender identity and marriage equality. Photo source: Mauricio Gomez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

All the local gays guys we met in Chile were open and comfortable with their homosexuality, but admitted that Chilean society is very conservative about LGBT rights.

In Santiago, we met Ivan who told us what it’s like growing up gay in this Latin American powerhouse. Check out our interview in full with Ivan about gay life in Chile and the gay scene of Santiago on our gay travel blog.

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