An LGBTI guide to the world: Peru
The ratings are:
- Green: In line with world best-practice
- Amber: Lagging behind world best-practice
- Red: There’s major issues here
Is it legal to be gay?
- It’s been legal to be gay since 1836.
- In 2012 Peru’s Constitutional Court brought the age of consent into line for both straight and gay sex — it’s now fixed at 14.
Is there anti-discrimination legislation in place?
- No protection in place for LGBTI people, and same-sex couples do not receive the same protections or benefits as hetero couples.
- Peru’s constitution could be broadly interpreted to include protection against discrimination as: ‘Every person has the right to equality before the law. No person shall be discriminated against on the basis of origin, race, sex, language, opinion, economic status, or any other distinguishing feature’; however without specific provisions confirming that LGBTI people are protected from discrimination, it puts the onus on the individual and enables discrimination.
- There are some reports that Peru’s penal code has been updated in early January 2017 to include references to sexual orientation and gender identity, although this seems to be an expansion of the definition of hate-crimes rather than anti-discrimination provisions.
Is there marriage equality?
- There have been a number of politicians who have advocated for marriage equality, and a range of campaign activities to progress this, however any legislative changes have failed to get through parliament.
- The Catholic Church continues to have a strong influence over life in Peru, advocating against marriage equality.
- There is some case law that indicates that same-sex marriages performed in countries where this is possible will be recognised by Peruvian law, with the most recent of these in early January 2017.
What’s it like for LGBTI who live there?
- Gays and lesbians are allowed to openly serve in the military and police.
- Peru is a conservative country. While acceptance of LGBTI people is improving, sex education seems to be an area for further improvement and there is no protection from discrimination.
- Read this first-person account from Jose Chávez Villar.
- El Movimiento Homosexual de Lima (MHOL) is the local LGBTI support and advocacy group.
What’s it like for LGBTI who visit?
- You’ll find gay bars in Lima and Cusco, but Peru is socially conservative so proceed with caution.
- Public displays of affection are likely to be viewed negatively, and you may need to be discrete when booking a double room at hotels.
Overall rating and comments
- Progress being made, but Peru is quite a conservative country and sex education seems to be an area that requires further focus.
- Anti-discrimination legislation is also required in order to protect LGBTI people that live in Peru.
How you can help
- Find ways to help publicise the stories and experiences of LGBTI people in Peru.
- Time your visit to Lima with the annual Pride celebrations (in 2016 these were held in July). Help fly the flag for LGBTI visibility in Peru.
- Use your networks to raise awareness of the challenges faced by LGBTI people in Peru — particularly the need for comprehensive sex education and protection from discrimination.