LGBT rights in the Turks and Caicos Islands

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LGBT rights in Turks and Caicos Islands
Same-sex sexual intercourse legal status Legal since 2001
Gender identity/expression -
Military service UK responsibility
Discrimination protections Yes, sexual orientation only
Family rights
Recognition of

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the British Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in the Turks and Caicos Islands since 2001, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is constitutionally banned.[1] Nevertheless, same-sex couples are unable to marry or jointly adopt.

Legality of same-sex sexual activtiy[edit]

Same-sex sexual acts were expressly decriminalised under the United Kingdom's Caribbean Territories (Criminal Law) Order, 2000, which took effect on 1 January 2001.[2]

The law received considerable local media coverage. The two largest newspapers (one of each belongs to the two largest political parties) described the law as "an affront to our country" and "the sissy law".[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

The Turks and Caicos Islands do not recognise same-sex unions. Article 10 of the Constitution reads:

Every unmarried man and woman of marriageable age (as determined by or under any law) has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and found a family.[4]

Discrimination protections[edit]

Article 16 of the Constitution bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.[4]

Living conditions[edit]

The Turks and Caicos Islands are considered a save destination for LGBT tourists. LGBT people tend to face no discrimination issues in resorts and very touristic areas.[5] Most Turks and Caicos inhabitants are quite tolerant of same-sex relationships.[3] Several gay-themed cruise ships have also been allowed to port in the islands.[3]

There are no known gay rights organisations in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Several government education programmes on HIV/AIDS have reached out to gay men, though.[3]

Homophobia in the Turks and Caicos Islands is mostly church-based.[3] Following the passage of Proposition 8 in California, several religious preachers called on same-sex marriage to be constitutionally banned in island law. Religious groups have also opposed greater awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS, erroneously claiming that straight men and women cannot get infected.[3]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 2001)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 2001)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (Since 2011)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes (Since 2011)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes (Since 2011)
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Yes (UK responsible for defence)
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No (Banned for heterosexual couples as well)
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]