(Bridgetown, Barbados, March 21, 2018) – Discriminatory laws in Eastern Caribbean countries make lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people targets for discrimination, violence and abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 107-page report “‘I Have to Leave to Be Me’: Discriminatory Laws against LGBT People in the Eastern Caribbean” covers seven countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. All seven countries have versions of buggery and gross indecency laws, relics of British colonialism, that prohibit same-sex conduct between consenting persons. The laws have broad latitude, are vaguely worded, and serve to legitimize discrimination and hostility toward LGBT people.
“While people are rarely prosecuted for these crimes, the laws single out a vulnerable social group,” said Boris Dittrich, LGBT advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The laws give social and legal sanction for discrimination, violence, stigma, and prejudice against LGBT people.”
The report is based on interviews with people from all seven countries during February 2017 with a total of 41 self-identifying LGBT people between the ages of 17 to 53 by Human Rights Watch researchers, working closely with the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE). All of those interviewed described being harassed by family members at some point in their lives because they are LGBT or were suspected to be. Read more via HRW