The Safety, Legal Protections, and Social Inclusion of LGBTQ People in the Caribbean in 2018

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This report is relevant for humanitarian and development practitioners working in the Caribbean because it serves as a stock-take of the interlocking and multiple ways in which institutions and cultural norms reinforce discrimination, and opportunities for change.

This article considers the legal protection and overall safety for the LGBTQI+ community in the 16 sovereign states and 16 dependent states and territories of the Caribbean. The report found that, on the whole, the LGBTQI+ community continues to face legal, religious and social discrimination across the region. This takes the form of, especially in English-speaking countries, laws against same-sex sexual intimacy; against ‘wearing the dress of the opposite sex’ (Guyana); high rates of homelessness, unemployment, violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people across the region; religious intolerance against the LGBTQ community; but. that a growing movement for the promotion of LGBTQ rights is advocating for change across the region.

The report found that HIV prevention work has been the primary entry point for LGBTQ issues and advocacy, but that this is changing. Some activists said they were concerned that as more governments are seen to be more tolerant of LGBTQI+ issues, international funding for advocacy in this space will dry-up.

Importantly, this report considers the impacts of state sovereignty on progress and ability to create change in the LGBTQ rights space, noting that ‘legal and policy change is more likely to occur in sovereign states.’

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"...lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people in territories are affected by discrimination, socioeconomic exclusion, and other factors, such as climate change, its view is that legal and policy change is more likely to occur in sovereign countries, which, in turn, might have a catalyzing effect in other countries in the region."

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This article considers the legal protection and overall safety for the LGBTQI+ community in the 16 sovereign states and 16 dependent states and territories of the Caribbean. The report found that, on the whole, the LGBTQI+ community continues to face legal, religious and social discrimination across the region. This takes the form of, especially in English-speaking countries, laws against same-sex sexual intimacy; against ‘wearing the dress of the opposite sex’ (Guyana); high rates of homelessness, unemployment, violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people across the region; religious intolerance against the LGBTQ community; but. that a growing movement for the promotion of LGBTQ rights is advocating for change across the region.

The report found that HIV prevention work has been the primary entry point for LGBTQ issues and advocacy, but that this is changing. Some activists said they were concerned that as more governments are seen to be more tolerant of LGBTQI+ issues, international funding for advocacy in this space will dry-up.

Importantly, this report considers the impacts of state sovereignty on progress and ability to create change in the LGBTQ rights space, noting that ‘legal and policy change is more likely to occur in sovereign states.’