LGBT rights in Trinidad and Tobago
|LGBT rights in Trinidad and Tobago|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Illegal (not enforced)|
|25 years (Buggery),
5 years (other sexual acts)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Trinidad and Tobago may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Trinidad and Tobago. However, the laws are not often enforced.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Sexual Offences Act
Trinidadian criminal code prohibits sex between two people of the same sex, as is the case in much of the English-speaking Caribbean.
Section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act 1986 (Strengthened in 2000) criminalises "buggery". This section states:
- (1) A person who commits buggery is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment—
- (a) if committed by an adult on a minor, for life;
- (b) if committed by an adult on another adult, for twenty-five years;
- (c) if committed by a minor, for five years.
- (2) In this section "buggery" means sexual intercourse per anum by a male person with a male person or by a male person with a female person.
Section 16 relates to "serious indecency":
- (1) A person who commits an act of serious indecency on or towards another is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment—
- (a) if committed on or towards a minor under sixteen years of age for ten years for a first offence and to imprisonment for fifteen years for a subsequent offence;
- (b) if committed on or towards a person sixteen years of age or more for five years.
- (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an act of serious indecency committed in private between—
- (a) a husband and his wife; or
- (b) a male person and a female person each of whom is sixteen years of age or more, both of whom consent to the commission of the act.
- (3) An act of "serious indecency" is an act, other than sexual intercourse (whether natural or unnatural), by a person involving the use of the genital organ for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.
The government has not specifically targeted homosexuals under the "buggery" or "serious indecency" laws; however individuals have been charged and convicted of these offences when coupled with other serious crimes.
Under Section 8 of the Immigration Act, homosexual men and women who are not citizens are not allowed to enter Trinidad and Tobago. However, this law is not known to have been enforced.
- (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), entry into Trinidad and Tobago of the persons described in this subsection, other than citizens and, subject to section 7(2), residents, is prohibited, namely-
- * * * *
- (e) ... homosexuals or persons living on the earnings of ... homosexuals, or persons reasonably suspected as coming to Trinidad and Tobago for these or any other immoral purposes....
The law forbidding immigration is not known to have been enforced.
In 2007 a highly vocal campaign opposed Elton John's entry into the country. This was led by the local Anglican Church, in particular Archdeacon Philip Isaac. The Tobago House of Assembly rejected the call to bar Elton John from entry, and the concert went ahead as planned in May 2007.
On December 2012, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar responded to a letter protesting the country's anti-gay laws by stating,
With respect to the concerns raised in your letter regarding aspects of T&T's Sexual Offences Act and the Immigration Act which may target persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), I wish to assure you that due consideration is being given to these issues by my Government. I do not support discrimination in any form against any individual, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. I share your view that the stigmatisation of homosexuality in T&T is a matter which must be addressed on the grounds of human rights and dignity to which every individual is entitled under international law. As such I am pleased to inform you that I have mandated my Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development, Senator the Honourable Marlene Coudray to prepare and present a national gender policy to Cabinet over the coming months. It is expected that once adopted, this policy will forge the way forward for T&T as my Government seeks to put an end to all discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.
Public attitudes toward LGBT people
Trinidad and Tobago is considered a "relatively safe" destination for gay travellers.
Local LGBT activism bodies
Trinidad & Tobago's Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation | Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression Advocacy Coalition. 
- Sexual Offences Act, 2000
- The State v. Steve Williams
- The State v. Patrick Wellington & Kelvin Persad
- The State v. Jacob Ramjattan
- Immigration Act
- Elton John concert will corrupt Trinidad and Tobago
- Elton John free to menace Tobago
- "Trinidad and Tobago PM says she will end gay hate", Gay Star News, reported by Matthew Jenkin, 18 December 2012
- Coalition Advocating for Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO)
- FreePride Foundation Project