LGBT rights in Suriname

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LGBT rights in Suriname
Suriname (orthographic projection).svg
Same-sex sexual activity legal status Legal, but the age of consent isn't equal[1]
Gender identity/expression No
Discrimination protections Yes, some sexual orientation protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption -

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Suriname may face legal challenges that non-LGBT residents wouldn't experience. But both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Suriname. Hate speeches on the basis of sexual orientation are banned in the country.

Legality of same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Suriname.[2] The age of consent for heterosexual intercourse is 16, while the age of consent for homosexual intercourse is 18.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Same-sex marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships are not recognised.

Discrimination protections[edit]

LGBT flag map of Suriname

In March 2015, the Government introduced hate speech legislation which included sexual orientation as a ground for non-discrimination complaints. Specifically Articles 175, 175a and 176 of the Surinamese Penal Code were updated to include sexual orientation.[4][5] Violation of this law can result in a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine. Despite the protective legislation, the LGBT community continued to face discrimination from the Government and society. In 2014, the Government explicitly excluded LGBT people from a social security legislation. According to the United States Department of State, some members of Parliament and the then-Vice President spoke out openly against LGBT persons, comparing homosexuality to a disease and inciting hatred and violence. Additionally, in 2015, there were reports of societal discrimination against the LGBT community in the areas of employment and housing.[2]

Gender identity and expression[edit]

In January 2017, a judge granted a transgender woman the right to have her gender formally changed with the Central Bureau of Civil Affairs and ordered the registry to officially change her registration to reflect her amended status. The Association of Pentecostal Churches in Suriname (VVPES) and the Suriname Islamic Association (SIV), which had protested against and opposed the right to recognize a gender change indicated they would "accept the verdict".[6][7] In February 2017, the Central Bureau of Civil Affairs formally appealed the court ruling.[8]


Suriname's first public gay rights march took place on 11 October 2011 (National Coming Out Day in the United States, Nationale kom-uit-de-kastdag in the Netherlands) in Paramaribo, following Ronny Asabina's comments against homosexuality in June. Two members of the National Assembly, including Harish Monorath, attended the event.[9] It was partly organized by Suriname Men United, the largest gay men's organization in the country.

In late 2016, Justice Minister Jennifer van Dijk-Silos organized several public hearings in collaboration with civil society in Suriname to discuss the expansion of the rights of LGBT people.[4]

Public opinion[edit]

A 2010 opinion poll carried out by Vanderbilt University showed that 20.3% of the Surinamese population support same-sex marriage.[10]

In May 2015, PlanetRomeo, a LGBT social network, published its first Gay Happiness Index (GHI). Gay men from over 120 countries were asked about how they feel about society’s view on homosexuality, how do they experience the way they are treated by other people and how satisfied are they with their lives. Suriname was ranked 46th with a GHI score of 48.[11]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 1869)
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) Yes (Since 2015)
Same-sex marriages No (Legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
Recognition of same-sex couples No(Legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No(Legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No(Legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender No (Court decision pending; legalisation required per a 2018 IACHR ruling)
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood Emblem-question.svg

See also[edit]