Larissa Franca of Brazil looks on during the main draw match against Germany at Camburi beach during day two of the FIVB Beach Volleyball Vitoria Open, on March 16, 2016 in Vitoria, Brazil. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images for FIVB)
By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 29, 2016: Let’s face it, laws governing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights are complex in Latin America and the Caribbean and acceptance varies widely. But at Rio 2016, several LGBTQ athletes from around the world will participate, including one from Brazil.
Larissa França, the Brazil-born beach volleyball player and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2011 World Champion, is openly gay and will be on home “sand” this August at the summer Olympics.
França is the all-time leader of women’s beach volleyball titles and is married to Brazilian beach player Liliane Maestrini after coming out publicly in July of 2013; the same year same-sex marriage was legalized in Brazil. She is 34 and was born in Cachoeiro do Itapemirim, Brazil.
Same-sex marriages have been legal in Argentina since 2010, in Brazil nationwide and Uruguay since 2013, and in Colombia since 2016. In Mexico, same-sex marriages are performed in Mexico City and the states of Quintana Roo, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guerrero, Campeche, Colima, and Michoacán and those unions are recognized nationwide.
Same-sex marriages are also legal in the Dutch Caribbean while marriages performed in the Netherlands are recognized in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
However, eleven former British Caribbean colonies, still have criminal punishment for “buggery” on their statute books including Jamaica, Dominica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis & Belize.