Jul
16
2013

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Why is Buenos Aires so Tolerant & Permissive of Gay Culture?

Why is Buenos Aires so Tolerant & Permissive of Gay Culture?

It is interesting to explore some of the ‘’softer issues’’ when writing about Buenos Aires. This article was prompted by a question about tolerance and permissiveness.  It was posed by a Gay Buenos Aires Stay guest.

Like me, the guest was surprised that a Catholic country with a ‘’thick veneer of machismo’’ would be so refreshingly liberal and safe for gay travelers.

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Gay Tango Buenos Aires

The response from an Argentine property owner also got me thinking about a ‘’hard issue’’ – the Porteño (Argentine) propensity to sell their country and countrymen short when advising travelers.

When departing, a Gay Buenos Aires Stay guest asked, ‘’why are Argentines so cool with fags’’.

An Argentine property owner, present at a check-out, stated with a big smile on his face, ‘’you are dollar income who cares who you sleep with’’.

What is it about Argentines?  The government, press and people you meet daily happily misrepresent both Argentina and their fellow countrymen with negative hyperbole. There’s some real depth to Argentina’s tolerance and permissiveness in my modest opinion.

Guests leave full of ‘’love’’ for Buenos Aires, but that love is often tainted by feelings (without experience or evidence) that Argentina in one of the most corrupt places in the world.  Seriously!  I have been involved in a campaign to ‘’debrief’’ guests and get their anecdotes. I have found their feedback quite astonishing.

The fact is, what happens in Argentina is inconsequential to most tourists – they are here to enjoy their vacations in a fantastic country.

It is a shame that the positive aspects of Argentine culture are not shared with such enthusiasm. 

I have been in Buenos Aires for quite a few years now.  I am gay and married to an Argentino. I have never been robbed or conned and the only problems I experience is with other expats who seem to forget their moral compasses when they leave their countries of origin.

I find the tourists barrios recommended by Gay Buenos Aires Stay safe and never feel threatened or concerned.

Getting back on course – why Argentines are blessed with a live-and-let-live mentality puzzled me for quite some time.

Argentina is a predominantly catholic country. The Catholic Church is a pariah because of its regressive dogma and opposition to basic human rights. Therefore , you might expect Argentina to be very conservative.

Add to Catholicism a culture of machismo that still reigns in most homes and my puzzlement was overtaken by astonishment when I first arrived fresh off the boat.

That’s until you consider Argentina’s recent history, which probably accounts for society’s tolerance and permissiveness. Argentines are extremely wary of past.

I think the word ‘’redemption’’ a catalyst for open-mindedness and tolerance in Argentina. Argentines are still scarred and somewhat ashamed of their recent past. A military dictatorship was welcomed by the masses and then held power with a brutal abuses of human rights.

Argentine society seeks to redeem itself after seven years of fascist rule and despicable civil rights abuses. After democracy was restored in 1983 Argentina began to reflect on the horrors of the “Dirty War’’ when an estimated 30,000 people “disappeared”.’

In addition, many Argentines pride themselves for bringing Europe’s culture and sophistication to South America.  Argentine society has always had good fundamentals. Even as early as the mid-nineteenth century politicians sought to decriminalise homosexuality and offered free education.

After chastising my hosts about their poor advice to travelers they may welcome some back-patting.  Argentines are generally good folk. Educated or not, most have a live-and-let-live philosophy.  It is part of their culture.

Argentina is a fantastic country for tourism.  Buenos Aires is an amazing city for gay travelers.

The dichotomous nature of Argentina never ceases to amaze me.

In my opinion the people are wonderfully gregarious and permissive – open-mindedness and tolerance rule.

That’s made Argentina the ‘’poster-boy’’ for gay rights. 

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