Intro: Catholic Bolivia is a difficult country in which to express lesbigay truth. Newly met friends there described to me their hidden lives and feelings in the face of strong religious prejudice, political disdain, family honor and macho military opposition. Following the first story about Daniel is a second short correspondence with a gay American living in Bolivia for a year; he describes his experience of trying to integrate with local gays in La Paz.
Bolivia has had a total of 193 coups d’état from independence until 1981, thereby averaging a change of government once every ten months. The country has the lowest GDP per capita figures in South America (about $1350). Thus, Bolivia is one of the least developed countries in South America. Almost two-thirds of its people, many of whom are subsistence farmers, live in poverty. The government remains heavily dependent on foreign assistance.
Given the political instability and the daunting economic issues, it is difficult for rights activist to bring their issues forward. However, there are currently no laws prohibiting homosexual behavior and/or expression. There are no laws protecting GLBT people against discrimination in any form and no laws allowing GLBT people to adopt. In 2007 the government enacted a ban on same sex marriage. The constitution, implemented in February 2009, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. See gay rights in Bolivia.
The Republic of Bolivia, named after Simón Bolívar, is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil on the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina on the south, and Chile and Peru on the west. From 1839 Sucre was the seat of government until the administrative capital was moved to La