New York, New York — December 14, 2022 – Outright International welcomes the repeal of Barbados’ buggery and gross indecency laws. The oral decision was handed down on December 12th by the Supreme Court of Judicature of Barbados and will be followed by a full written decision in January of next year. Although these laws do not explicitly mention gender identity or expression, law enforcement officials often conflate gender identity with sexual orientation, and, as such, these laws are also used to criminalize gender expression and identities which don’t correspond with the norms associated with the sex assigned at birth. Despite the fact that these laws are rarely enforced, they provide legal cover for police abuse and discrimination against LGBTIQ individuals.
“Access to justice is never easy for LGBTIQ persons. We see this historic win in Barbados as a stepping stone to acknowledge and render justice to vulnerable people who are not necessarily acknowledged by the law,” said Kenita Placide, executive director for the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE).
“With the repeal of similar laws in Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis, this ruling caps a historical year for LGBTIQ human rights in the region. The progress we have seen this year in the Eastern Caribbean is unprecedented and comes as a result of years of advocacy, community building and organizing. While the decriminalization happens as a result of a legal challenge, the verdicts do not happen in a vacuum,” said Maria Sjödin, executive director of Outright International. “We congratulate ECADE, Butterfly Barbados, and Equals for this win and could not be more proud of our partners who tirelessly fight to end these colonial-era laws.”
About Outright International
Outright is dedicated to working with partners around the globe to strengthen the capacity of the LGBTIQ human rights movement, document and amplify human rights violations against LGBTIQ people, and advocate for inclusion and equality. Founded in 1990, with staff in over a dozen countries, Outright works with the United Nations, regional human rights monitoring bodies and civil society partners. Outright holds consultative status at the United Nations where it serves as the secretariat of the UN LGBTI Core Group.
The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality Inc. (ECADE) is a network of organizations working across the eastern Caribbean. Drawing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”, ECADE works to increase the competence of activists and conscientise the people of the eastern Caribbean for the advancement of LGBTQI and marginalised populations in the region. Learn more at www.ecequality.org