LGBT rights in Barbados

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LGBT rights in Barbados
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Illegal
Life imprisonment
Gender identity/expression -
Family rights
Recognition of
No recognition
Adoption -

Homosexual acts are illegal in Barbados, with a life sentence; however the law is rarely enforced. The law is currently in effect, but under review.[1][2]


Homosexual refugee claims[edit]

In 2011 the Bajan government said it was investigating claims that some gay Bajans were seeking refugee status to Canada. The Bajan minister for Foreign Affairs, Maxine McClean stated a concern of the government at these applications attempting to secure refugee status in Canada since two of the nine applications to the Canadian government had already been denied and questions surround whether it is an attempt at abusing the refugee system to Canada.[3]

The Bajan organisation United Gays and Lesbians Against AIDS, Barbados (UGLAAB) stated it was also looking to conduct its own investigation on the same allegations. One anonymous story in the Bajan media by a past applicant stated their attempt to lie about so called persecution in order to bolster their refugee application but stated their attempt had failed.

The resident U.S. ambassador later commented to the local press that some of the other nations in region were among the highest number of such refugee applications to the United States, but he went on to say that the U.S. Embassy to Bridgetown had not yet reported any specific problems within Barbados to the U.S. State Department. The ambassador highlighted that sodomy laws were a part of statute law for Barbados and that the Barbadian government should perhaps consider formally retiring those laws to maintain Barbados' good image internationally.[4]

International relations[edit]

In 2011 the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom stated during a Commonwealth of Nations Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Australia that his government would find it difficult to provide aid for countries which still had laws banning buggery on their statute books. Thereafter, the Attorney General for Barbados stated publicly that Barbados would not be dictated to by the U.K.[5] Following the statement several members of Barbados' openly gay community stated that Barbados should begin to offer packaged tourism deals for gay tourists.[6] However an informal comment line by the Barbados Nation newspaper found that plan to be disliked by some.[7]

Following Britain's comment, the Washington, D.C. based Inter-American Court for Human Right established a unit to tackle gay rights. It noted the problems some of the laws in the region presented and stated that it would "promote the harmonious development of all its work areas based on the interdependence and indivisibility of all human rights and the need to protect the rights of all individuals and groups historically subjected to discrimination."[8]

Recognition of same-sex unions[edit]

There is no recognition of same-sex unions in Barbados. In June 2016, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said the Barbados Government will not change the law to allow for same-sex marriages.[9]

LGBT rights movement in Barbados[edit]

In 2013 Donnya Piggott and Ro-Ann Mohammad founded the association Barbados Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals Against Discrimination as an organization to create an education mechanism and open public dialogue in a supportive manner for the LGBT community of Barbados.[10]

Social conditions[edit]

Legislation of Barbados among the Lesser Antilles (Penalty: Up to life imprisonment)

Recent polls conducted by Caribbean Development Research Services Inc. (CADRES) have found Barbadians to be more tolerant than previous years.[11]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal No (Penalty: Up to life imprisonment; not enforced)
Equal age of consent No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Capital Xtra - Gay around the world
  2. ^ Staff (April 2010). "Travel & living abroad (Barbados) - Local laws and customs". Foreign & Commonwealth Office (UK). Retrieved 7 April 2010. Barbados, in common with much of the English speaking Caribbean, has a very conservative attitude to homosexuality and homophobic views are unfortunately common. Contrary to popular belief, homosexuality itself is not illegal although sodomy remains a criminal offence. However, the penalties set out in the 1992 Sexual Offences Act concerning sexual relations between members of the same sex are rarely enforced when this takes place in private. There is no overtly public gay scene in Barbados and no gay and lesbian publications. However, many gay Bajans couples are known and live together without problems by maintaining a low profile.  line feed character in |quote= at position 452 (help)
  3. ^ Jordan, Ricky (20 February 2011). "Gay scam?". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 25 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Best, Tony (26 February 2011). "Gay backlash worry". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Dear: Cash in gay tourism
  7. ^ TALK BACK: Readers see no reason to focus on gay tourism
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ "Gay blow: AG rules out same-sex marriages". Barbados Today. 7 June 2016. 
  10. ^ Dottin, Bea (24 June 2013). "BGLAD: Don't hate". St. Michael, Barbados: Nation News. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Staff writer (11 December 2010). "Homosexuality debate rages in Barbados". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 

Further reading[edit]