Both man and woman same-gender sexual activities are legal in El Salvador since 1822. LGBTQIA+ individuals are allowed to serve openly in the military. However, same-gender couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-gender married couples. In 2018, the government approved a new policy, allowing LGBTQIA+ people to file legal complaints when discriminated. An anti-discrimination law applied in employment and the provision of goods and services. Claims of crimes, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments against LGBTQIA+ people will also be fully investigated by police forces. Nevertheless, same-gender marriages are not recognized. Individuals can but same-gender couples cannot adopt a kid.
El Salvador is currently considered as one of the most homophobic countries in Latin America. LGBTQIA+ people in El Salvador face high rates of violence and homicide with increasing hate crimes reports. Discrimination against Salvadoran LGBTQIA+ people remains widespread. They face persecution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatments, excessive use of force, illegal and arbitrary arrests and other forms of abuse. Social and economic marginalization further increase the risk of violence and isolation. Family members violence such as family rejection and discrimination, particularly for trans* women is common as well. They come with finding no job other than sex work which is at high risk with violence may come from gang members. The LGBTQIA+ community still faces heavy unacceptance and discrimination by the rest of the population driven by a religious and heavy machismo-based culture. Being LGBTQIA+ friendly is seen as being against nature, being anti-religious, anti-masculinity and even diabolic in Salvadoran society.
There are several organizations active in LGBTQIA+ field which are the ILGA members listed below:
Asociacion Colectivo Alejandria El Salvador, Asociacion Salvadorena de Derechos Humanos - Entre Amigos, Asociación Salvadoreña de Mujeres Transgénero, Transexuales y Travestis / DIKÉ LGBTI+, COMCAVIS TRANS, El SalvadorG, Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas Salvadoreas por la diversidad – ESMULES, Jóvenes Voceras y Voceros por los Derechos Sexuales y Rerproductivos.
Many LGBTQIA+ Salvadorans flee from home and seek asylum in different countries such as North American mostly United States and European countries including Belgium because of the lack of protection from violence and discrimination from the Salvadoran authorities and society. Between January 2007 and November 2017, over 1,200 LGBTQIA+ Salvadorans sought asylum in the United States due to fear of persecution for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.