Skip to main content

Country Overview


At a glance

Same-sex Relations for Men Legal Throughout the Country?


Same-sex Relations for Women Legal Throughout the Country?


Legal Gender Recognition Possible?


LGBTI Orgs Able to Register?


View more for this country:

The Penal Code of Barbados prohibits same-sex relations (known as the “buggery law”) and “serious indecencies.” These laws are currently being challenged before the High Court of Justice in Barbados and at the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. Although the law does not explicitly mention gender identity or expression, law enforcement officials often conflate gender identity with sexual orientation. As such, these laws are also used to criminalize gender expression and identities that do not correspond with the norms associated with the sex assigned at birth. Though these laws are rarely enforced, they provide legal cover for police abuse and discrimination against LGBTIQ individuals. The Christian Church plays a strong cultural role in Barbados, influencing norms around gender and sexuality. Religious leaders perpetuate the misconception that same-sex relations are “unhealthy” and profess that LGBTIQ identities are a sinful choice and threat to society. As a result,  LGBTIQ people are subject to violent attacks, discrimination, harassment, and social stigmatization.

Despite this, public support for LGBTIQ people has increased, with over 67% of Barbadians expressing acceptance or tolerance of gay and lesbian people (Griffith & Wickham 2018). LGBTIQ visibility and activism have recently increased. In August 2020, parliament passed the Employment (Prevention of Discrimination) Act 2020, which prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Members of parliament rejected a proposal to include gender identity among protected characteristics. Also in 2020, the Prime Minister of Barbados declared the government’s intention to recognize same-sex civil unions. In December 2022, the Barbados High Court issued an oral ruling decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations.

Global Impact

Sub-Saharan Africa

Outright supports LGBTIQ organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and works with mainstream human rights organizations to respect human rights and influence positive changes in laws, policies, attitudes and beliefs that cause discrimination against LGBTIQ people.

View this region

United Nations

Our work at the United Nations centers around advocating for the advancement of the rights of LGBTIQ people.

View this region


Our work in Asia promotes acceptance of sexual and gender diversity at all levels of society.

View this region

Middle East and North Africa

In the Middle East and North Africa, we partner with local groups in various countries as part of our international solidarity work. We also work with our local partners on different topics through capacity building, advocacy, research and holistic security.

View this region

Europe and Central Asia

Outright International partners with activists to fight for an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in Europe and Central Asia, where most of our work involves emergency responses to harassment, discrimination, violence, and most recently, Russia’s brutal and expanded invasion of Ukraine.

View this region


Our work in the Americas continues to build on the fundamental and positive transformation of human rights protections in recent years. We partner with groups in the Caribbean that focus on ending gender-based violence and eradicating discrimination against trans people.

View this region


Our work in the Pacific aims to increase the visibility of activists, respond to human rights emergencies, and actively bridge local, regional, and international activism to achieve equality and justice.

View this region

Human Rights Research

Since 1990, we have partnered with activists from all over the world to produce hundreds of groundbreaking reports.

Read Our Reports