Update to URY13947.E of 29 April 1993 and URY25415.E of 21 October 1996 on the situation and treatment of homosexuals (and lesbians in particular); and available state protection (1994-1999) [URY32841.E]

No information on the situation or treatment of lesbians or gays outside of Montevideo could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, within Montevideo, GayUruguay reports that members of the gay community publish a monthly magazine, La Brujula (n.d.), and are served by at least seven social clubs (including one with a significant lesbian clientele) (ibid). Gays, lesbians and transvestites are also represented by at least four public organizations: Homosexuales Unidos (HU), Asociación de Travestis de Uruguay (ATU), Movimiento de Integración Homosexual (MIH), and Grupo Diversidad (Brecha 2 Aug. 1996; Semanario Manos 1 July 1999). Gay pride marches have been held in Montevideo each year for the past seven years (ibid.), with ILGA reporting that the 1994 march was attended by approximately 200 gay and lesbian participants (1999).

In 1998, the Montevideo-based Cooperative Bancaria extended health and other benefits to same sex couples (IGLHRC Nov. 1998). More recently, in a press conference held in June 1999, Grupo Diversidad announced that it would send a questionnaire to presidential candidates from the main political parties in order to canvass their views on issues of concern to sexual minorities in Uruguay (Semanario Manos 1 July 1999).

Although there are no laws prohibiting or restricting homosexual behaviour among consenting adults (ILGA 1999), gays and lesbians have been subjected to several different forms of discrimination. According to the Servicio de Paz y Justicia's (SERPAJ) 1997 human rights report, gays, lesbians and (particularly) transvestites had experienced discrimination in the work place, including denial of promotion, lack of recognition of sexual diversity in school curricula, and restricted access to recreational or public spaces. In 1999, these allegations were corroborated by a spokesperson for the gay rights organization Grupo Diversidad, who claimed that, because of prevailing social attitudes, gays and lesbians are continuously faced with the latent risk that they will lose their job or be rejected by friends and family should they reveal their sexual orientation (Semanario Manos 1 July 1999).

According to an August 1996 article in Brecha, although large-scale police raids on gay establishments ceased in 1991, homosexuals continued to be harassed and detained "simply for 'being gay'" ("simplemente por 'ser homosexuales'"), and their clubs continued to be the target of police harassment (2 Aug. 1996). The 1997 SERPAJ report corroborated these allegations, stating that transvestites, gays and lesbians continued to face arbitrary detention, harassment and violence on the part of the police. No reports of police harassment or violence against members of sexual minority communities could be found among the sources consulted for the period 1997-1999.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Brecha [Montevideo]. 2 August 1996. Fabio Guerra. "Uruguay gay: Campeones en homofobia." http://www.brecha.com.uy [Accessed 5 Oct. 1999]

GayUruguay. n.d. " Bienvenido a GayUruguay." http://village.fortunecity.com/etheridge/491/urugay.htm [Accessed 5 Oct. 1999]

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), November 1998. "Uruguayan Gay Couple Gets Benefits Through New Labour Contract." http://www.iglhrc.org/world/southamerica/Uruguay/1998nov.html [Accessed 5 Oct. 1999]

International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). 1999. World Legal Survey: Uruguay. http://www.ilga.org/Information/legal_survey/americas/uruguay.htm [Accessed 5 Oct. 1999]

Semanario Manos [Montevideo]. 1 July 1999. Hugo González. "Carta abierta de minorías sexuales marginadas a los presidenciables." http://www.internet.com.uy/semanariomanos/ [Accessed 13 Oct. 1999]

Servicio de Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ). 1997. Informe sobre los derechos humanos en el Uruguay - 1997 http://www.serpaj.org.uy/inf97/master.htm [Accessed 5 Oct. 1999]

Additional Sources Consulted

Brecha [Montevideo]. 1995-1999.

Cotidiano Mujer [Montevideo]. 1997-1999.

La Nación [Buenos Aires]. 1998-1999.

El Observador [Montevideo]. 1998-1999.

La República [Montevideo]. 1999.

Lolapress [Montevideo]. 1994-1999.

Revista Médica del Uruguay [Montevideo]. 1996-1999.

Electronic sources: IRB Databases, LEXIS/NEXIS, WNC, Internet sites including:

Derechos Website.

PlanetOut Website.

Queer Resources Directory (QRD) Website.