Herman Duarte- founder  

 

Herman Duarte is the founder of the Latin American Foundation for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the LGBTI Population - Fundación Igualitos.

He was born in San Salvador on March 1, 1988. Herman is a Salvadoran-Swiss resident in Costa Rica since 2012 and is the current president of the Foundation.

He was educated under the Catholic faith and did his primary and secondary studies in El Salvador at the Lamatepec School (Opus Dei catholic only boys school). At the age of 16, he began studying law at the Escuela Superior de Economía y Negocios, where he obtained a degree in legal sciences (Juris Doctor equivalent). In 2010, at the age of 22, he left for the University of Stockholm where he completed a master's degree in International Commercial Arbitration.

On October 18, 2010, in the spring of Sweden, Herman "came out" through his blog, reaching more than 50 thousand visits. The impact was so great, that google auto - completed the search of Herman Duarte with "Herman Duarte Blog Gay". This marked his fate, since on returning to San Salvador, he felt the weight of being part of the LGBTI minority: The law firms had the doors shut for him.

Between 2011 and mid-2012, he founded his first office "HDUARTE-Abogacía" and was supported by the Salvadoran designer Abdias Murillo (RIP) for the brand design of the firm; Despite the quality product, failed to position itself in the market and had to make difficult but necessary decisions to get ahead as a professional. During this period, he tried to form an NGO to fight for the LGBTI minorities but the attempt was not made concrete.

 

"Without experience nothing will be worth my master's degree" was the mantra that was repeated so it sent more than 300 applications until it came into the hands of Mariano Batalla, of Batalla Abogados, Costa Rica's leading dispute resolution firm Chambers & Partners. In this office, it was where Herman deepened his activism by the LGBTI minorities, first from columns of opinion presented in La Prensa Gráfica and El Diario de Hoy and followed by means of the strategic litigation "putting at the service of the LGBTI movement his abilities of lawyer Specialist in complex litigation ".

On November 11, 2016, Herman filed a claim of unconstitutionality against certain provisions of the Family Code that prohibit and prevent access to civil marriage for persons of the same sex. In response to this action, the parliamentary group ARENA promoted a constitutional reform to sabotage "the equal marriage claim". Before this, Herman responded with an extension of the claim, requesting an urgent precautionary measure against the Legislative Assembly. The media coverage of these incidents were significant, as a result of which, it managed to coordinate support of the solidarity voices and founded the "Igualitos" movement, which to date has evolved in the Latin American Foundation for the Promotion and Protection of The rights of the LGBTI Population - Igualitos Foundation.

Activism in favor of the LGBTI minorities gradually absorbed his time, therefore in April, thanks to the support of the partners of the firm Batalla Salto Luna, he founded the firm signature HDUARTE-LEX, specialist in Arbitration and Human Rights, which has financed the Igualitos movement until today that has been transformed into a Foundation. 

I am grateful for having the opportunity to be the voice of those who don´t have one. In this journey I want to give a very special thanks to André Solórzano, Cruz Torres, Mario R. and Alejandro Quinteros for walking with me in the beggining of my journey for equality.
— Herman Duarte, founder and president of Igualitos Foundation