Buenos Aires: the most diversly inclusive travel destination in South America
If you are planning a trip to Buenos Aires, but are worried about how you will be received as a memeber of the LGBTQI+ community, this post has all the information you need to know before your trip.
While most countries in South America are largely Catholic and still today keep a very conservative outlook, a lot of South American destinations are evolving to embrace their LGBTIQ+ communities, being Buenos Aires (by far) the most gay friendly large city in the region.
Passion, dance, history, and culture combined with friendly locals make Buenos Aires one of the most amazing vacation destinations in the world for all international travelers, including those of the LGBTIQ+ community.
LGBTQI+ rights: Argentina leads the pole in the region
Argentina is usually know for tango, football, beef, cultural life and son on, but in the last decades, it also became a beacon for advances on equality towards same-sex marriage and LGBTIQ+ rights not only in South America, but also in the whole wolrd.
Despite having an important conservative religious population, and the fact that it is the birthplace of Pope Francis, Argentina is a socially inclusive country compared to most of its neighbouring countries (except for Uruguay, with which they are always head to head when it comes to social achievements).
In the late 70s and early 80s, human rights issues during the last military government in the country pushed Argentina to think about a complete transition to democracy. With a completely different political situation in Argentina, our country began considering rights for the LGBTIQ+ community. Opinion surveys even show that most people in Argentina, almost 75%, accept homosexuality, much more than any other Latin American country.
In 2010 Argentina became the first country in Latin America to pass a law legalising same-sex marriage, including adoption rights as well. Civil unions are also possible, considering some of the rights of marriage.
And despite the fact that the country made it to the world-press headlines with this historic desition, Argentina’s most renowned LGBTQI+ milestone are its rights for transgender people . Our Gender Identity Law, which was passed in 2012, allows Argentinian trans people to change their legal genders without surgery, hormone therapy or even psychiatric evaluation, and in case a trans person wishes to undergo a gender reassignment surgery or a hormone therapy, their medical bills should be covered by their health care system (public or private). Plus they can legally change their names, if they want to.
Most gay friendly districts to stay in Buenos Aires
Even though there is not a “gay neighbourhood” in Buenos Aires as it happens in some other cities in the world, Palermo is considered to be the main gay area in the city, since it is the place where you can find most gay bars and clubs, hotels, and restaurants.
Palermo is the biggest neighbourhood in Buenos Aires and it is located towards the north of the city. It hosts a combination of parks, restaurants, commercial activity, and it is also a residential area and what most expats call home, as it is an ideal base to explore the city: close to everything but far enough from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
Another very LGBTQI+ welcoming neighbourhood is San Telmo. In fact, the first local “gay friendly” hotel had settled just a few blocks away from this area in 2007.
This district also hosts a very famous market and street fair area, both of which are known for having a diversly inclusive atmosphere (you can even spot rainbow flags on the entrances to many stores, letting visitors know that no matter their sexual and or gender orientation they are all welcome in). The market, located on Defensa 963, is open every day, and the street fair is organized on Sundays around Plaza Dorrego (Dorrego Square).
Interesting fact: Did you know the first subway station in the world to be named after an LGBTIQ+ rightsactivist is located in Buenos Aires city?
Inaugurated in March, 2017, as Carlos Jáuregui station, it was the first subway station in the world named after an activist who supported human rights and sexual diversity. A very important mural located at the entrance of the station pays homage to him.
Location: Línea H Subway Station. Av. Santa Fe & Pueyrredón. Recoleta, Buenos Aires.
Bars & Clubs: Buenos Aires LGBTQI+ nightlife scene
Before heading to recommendations on where to go, there is one very important thing to take into consideration: Argentinians start the night very late. Dinner is from 9pm onwards, going out for drinks doesn’t happen till after 11pm, so for clubs, sometimes they open even after midnight. As a result, nightlife in Buenos Aires goes on until the early hours of the next morning.
As we mentioned, while Buenos Aires has a wide spread LGBTIQ+ scene in many areas of the city, most bars and clubs are located around Palermo neighbourhood.
Location: Cabrera 3046, Recoleta, Buenos Aires.
It is considered the best gay club in the city for many people. It’s large, and has two rooms, each one with its own music. It also features live shows.
Location: Gascón 1040, Almagro, Buenos Aires.
With 3 floors and 3 separate dance areas welcoming around 2,000 people every weekend, this is the largest gay club in Buenos Aires and the second in South America.
Location: Cabrera 3046, Palermo, Buenos Aires.
A classic of the classics. This is one of the oldest gay bars in the city, and the preferred place to come if you are into drag shows. It opens 3 Sundays a month. For more information about opening times check out their Facebook Page.
Location: Gurruchaga 1867, Palermo, Buenos Aires.
A sign that says “hetero-friendly” will welcome you to this cosy bar that is a perfect choice for the first night in the city.
Location: Av. Santa Fe 2516, Recoleta, Buenos Aires.
This bar features a range of drag shows and it is popular for being open every day of the week.
Location: Rodriguez Peña 1082 Recoleta, Buenos Aires.
Unlike Glam, where people are mainly in their 20s or 30s, in this club most people are over 40s and it is famous for having the best Latino pop hits. It opens every other Friday. For more information about opening times check out their Instagram account.
Queer Tango: Gay friendly “milongas”
In case you have never heard of them before, Milongas are tango halls, and unlike the tango shows where you go and watch people dance without being part of it, in the milongas you are part of the action and you are more than welcome to join the dance floor and learn a few tango steps.
Did you know that when tango started (in the late 1800s), it was initially a dance between two men? Women didn’t take part in the dance until later on, and during its prime the dance was extremely conservative.
It wasn’t until the last decade, with the arrival of newer generations, that Argentina’s most renowned dance opened up to the LGBTIQ+ community. Today, head to one of these queer milongas to learn the tango, and then enjoy a drink and watch live shows with same-sex partners.
The two most important queer milongas are:
Location: Yatay 961, Villa Crespo, Buenos Aires.
It was the first one of its kind in Buenos Aires.
Location: Perú 571, San Telmo.
At Tango Queer, they do not take for granted sexual orientation or the role for dancing. It is a meeting place for everybody. They also organize different activities and cultural events.
Buenos Aires gay friendly events
LGBTIQ+ activism is strong in Buenos Aires, and the local government also invests in and supports the LGBTQI+ community.
Throughout the year, Argentina’s capital city hosts a wide variety of events that honor and create conciousnes about diversity.
Semana #Orgullo BA (Pride Week BA)
From October 30th up to November 6th, there are many different activities to celebrate diversity which live shows, sport competitions, photo exhibitions, stage plays, theatre workshops, and concerts (just to mention some of them). These celebrations have become an inspiration and authorities say that each new edition is an opportunity to go on working for an inclusive city.
- November, 1st. Hoisting of the pride flag.
Location: Obelisk, Av 9 de Julio y Av. Corrientes. Buenos Aires.The LGBTIQ+ flag will be hoisted in the center of Buenos Aires. The Obelisk and the “BA” symbol will show colours representing the LGBTIQ+ community.
- November, 4th. Sculptures for diversity (Esculturas para la Diversidad).
Location: Palacio Barolo, Av. De Mayo 1370, Buenos Aires, Argentina.This will be its second edition. Many great artists will show their new works of art.
- November, 5th. Photograph Exhibition.
Location: Plaza Roberto Arlt, Rivadavia and Esmeralda streets, Buenos Aires.This exhibition will commemorate 30 years of the first LGBTIQ+ parade in Argentina. Photos will show important moments of these events which have taken place in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- November, 5th. “30 years of struggle (Mural “30 años de lucha”).
Location: Estación Retiro. Línea C.This mural was painted to pay homage to the 30 year-struggle, painted by the artist Andrea Pasut.
- November, 6th. Pride parade (Marcha del Orgullo).
Location: Plaza de Mayo. Buenos Aires, Argentina.This is by far the most outstanding event: The LGBTIQ+ parade. The first one was held in Buenos Aires in 1992. From then on, they have been organized annually in favour of equal rights for the LGBTIQ+ community. It is usually celebrated on the first Saturday in November. This colourful parade concentrates thousands of people.
Asterisco International Film Festival
It will be celebrated from October 28th up to November 7th. There will be a selection of movies about diversity, having each day a different location.
International Conference on Business & LGBTQ Tourism
Location. Alvear Palace Hotel, Av. Alvear 1891, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
This conference is organized every year in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This year it will take place from November 16th to November 19th. There are forums working on diversity (accessibility, inclusion, etc.) with participants from 10 different countries. The conference includes a variety of concerts, dinners and events.
All of these make Buenos Aires a city where gay, queer, and trans travelers will find thriving communities and plenty to explore, and most importantly: they will feel welcome and accepted!
Are you planing a trip to South America and would like to travel with an LGBTQI+ travel agency? At Signature Tours, we are committed to contribute towards making the uttermost part of the world a safe and enjoyable place for all kinds of international travelers, and that of course includes the LGBTQ+ community.
For that reason, and to honor the celebration of the Buenos Aires Pride Parade that takes place today, we are thrilled to announce that we are currently working hard on designing high-quality and exciting travel services specifically catered to this thriving community.
Last update: November 2021