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Country Overview

Barbados

At a glance

Same-sex Relations for Men Legal Throughout the Country?

No

Same-sex Relations for Women Legal Throughout the Country?

No

Legal Gender Recognition Possible?

No

LGBTI Orgs Able to Register?

Yes

Actions Related to SOGI at the UN:

2016: Abstained from Voting IE SOGI

2019:

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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, 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. 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 such,  LGBTIQ people are subject to violent attacks, discrimination, harassment, and social stigmatization.

Desptie this, public support for LGBT perople has increased with over 67% of Barbadians expressing acceptance or tolerance of gay and lesbian people (Griffith & Wickham 2018). LGBTIQ visibility and activism has 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.

 

Global Impact

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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 on the continent.

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United Nations

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Europe and Central Asia

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Americas

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.

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Pacific

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