Medellín is a friendly and happy city in Colombia, very modern and very diverse in its citizens. A city very accepting of the existing LGBT culture, but this wasn’t always true.
Medellin has very strong religious influences. It wasn’t until the constitution of 1991 that Colombia changed from being a strictly Catholic country to a country with no defined religion.
Because of its strong Catholic influences, Colombia wasn’t the most tolerant city. Before 1981, homosexuality was considered illegal and punishable with 5 to 15 years of jail. There was even a time when anti-gay groups thought the city needed “cleansing.”
This was almost 20 years ago. Thankfully, that is all in the past and Medellín is now full of proud supporters of the colorful side of the society.
The LGBT society has been growing stronger and prouder (if that’s possible). Every year, toward the end of June, Medellín has their annual Pride Parade and it’s quite the show.
The people really get into it, dressing up, doing shows and waving their flags. Everyone from drag queens to Disney characters showed up this year.
I unfortunately wasn’t in Medellín during the parade but the photos sent to me were amazing. Here are a few of my favorite shots.
Medellín also has a prominent nightlife with many clubs and bars exclusively meant for the LBGT society in the city as well as restaurants and cafés.
We decided to create a club/bar guide to this colorful side of Medellín. So what do you do when you have no idea where to start your club search?
You ask the experts.
Carrera 38 #9A-26, Parque Lleras
My night started over at the bar “Donde Aquellos,” a bar in Parque Lleras, where I met a cute couple who sat down and talked to me about their favorite bars.
One of them said he loved Viva, a club by El Estadio, in the small shopping center called El Diamante.
“Look for a huge line of gay men, that’s where the club is.” he told me. So I decided to check the club out.
I went the following Friday and unfortunately it was closed. He told me they play varied music including all the top songs and artists as well as a lot of Techno music.
Calle 44 #74-84, San Juan
His boyfriend said he preferred Purple, another club on the San Juan. We went to check it out. The bar starts filling up around 11:30 p.m.
They also have a VIP section in the corner of the dance floor. The DJ in Purple played a wide variety of upbeat dancing music.
The club is large and very open. They don’t have many tables but they have geometrical stands where you can place your drink (the white shapes in the photo above).
The club has a giant disco ball in the middle. The DJ was playing Madonna when I walked in and proceeded to play music by all the queens including Britney Spears and Rihanna.
The bar serves cocktails, shots, beers and national liquors like Aguardiente and rum.
Ink Bar 33
Calle 33 #78-141
The next night we checked out a couple of bars on Calle 33, Rainbow and Ink.
Ink was easy to find with a large sign outside and a rainbow flag next to the door. The setup inside was very large and spacious with plenty of room to dance. In the back there was a stage next to the bar.
They served mostly beers and national liquors. They also have drinks like whiskey, tequila and vodka.
Calle 33 #78-127
The next bar Rainbow was a bit harder to find. We drove past it three times before we spotted a little colorful “R” on the door. Rainbow is a bit bigger than Ink and has a more exclusive private section towards the back of the bar.
The bar has a liquor selection similar to Ink.
Both bars were pretty much crossover bars playing upbeat dance music as well as relaxed songs to sit down and talk.
Movie Nights at Parque de los Deseos
Universidad metro stop
Every Friday the LGBT society meets at Parque de los Deseos. They watch movies and documentaries. No matter who you are or where you’re from you are welcome to these events.
For additional recommendations, check out this recent story by Colombia Reports.
In 2007, Colombia passed its first laws to protect same-sex couples unions. On July 24, 2013, in a courthouse in Bogotá, the first same-sex union was legalized. The couple had been together for over two decades.
As reported by various informal surveys, approximately six to seven percent of Colombians are homosexual/bisexual.
According to Steven Madrid, proud member of the LGBT community in Medellín, in recent years Colombian society has become if not more accepting, at least more tolerant towards the LGBT community. As a result, levels of homophobia have drastically decreased.
Colombia has over 20 national organizations working for LGBT rights, and Medellín is rapidly becoming the most tolerant city in the country.
Medellín is very accepting of its growing LGBT society. Obviously, there are the stereotypical homophobic citizens, but everyday we are advancing more and becoming more liberal and more accepting of our differences.