Panama decriminalized homosexuality 15 years ago: persecution continues

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08/03/2023

After the cancellation of the decree law criminalizing sodomy, Panama decriminalized homosexuality 15 years ago, becoming the latest Latin American country to do so. Shortly before, activist Juan Alonso had been arrested for distributing condoms as part of a campaign against HIV. “I had the feeling that I was illegal, first of all you don’t fit into society and secondly, what you feel as a person can be seen as an administrative error,” says Alonso, 40, after attending a health fair where he was tested for HIV. Official Gazette of Panama, published 31 July 2008 decree 332 it repealed that 1949 law, which, in detail, punished “sodomy, by which homosexuality was known until 1973”.

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