(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
In Trinidad and Tobago, same sex sexual activity was illegal untill 2018.
On the 12th of April 2018, after a legal charge filed by a gay rights advocate, the High Court of Justice ruled that laws prohibiting same-sex sexual activities are unconstitutional, arguing that it infringes on human dignity and discriminates against LGBT individuals. However, there are no laws explicity protecting LGBT individuals in the country and there are still no legal gender recognition procedures for transgender individuals.
The outruled laws are the following : section 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act 1986 criminalised buggery. Section 8 of the Immigration Act 1969 prohibits homosexuals and those living on the earnings of homosexuals from entering or residing in the country.
The Data Protection Act 2011 prevents private and public agencies from retrieving people’s personal sensitive information, including their sexual orientation.
The 2012 Equal Opportunity Bill (No. 2) was introduced by the House of Representatives in November 2011. It aims to provide a legally enforceable right as well as a legal framework to redress persons who have faced discrimination by individuals or organizations. This Bill will amend the Equal Opportunity Act Chap 22:03 by eradicating discrimination against age, a person’s HIV/AIDS status and eliminating the requirement of proving intention, motive or mala fides in establishing direct and indirect discrimination. However, Bill No.2 does not include rights to the applicant on grounds pertaining to discrimination because of one’s sexual preference or orientation.
Sexual Offences Act 1986
(1) A person who commits buggery is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment—
(a) if committed by an adult on a minor, for life; (b) if committed by an adult on another adult, for twenty-five years; (c) if committed by a minor, for five years.
(2) In this section “buggery” means sexual intercourse per annum by a male person with a male person or by a male person with a female person.
(1) A person who commits an act of serious indecency on or towards another is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment—
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an act of serious indecency committed in private between—
(a) a husband and his wife; or
(b) a male person and a female person each of whom is sixteen years of age or more, both of whom consent to the commission of the act.
(3) An act of “serious indecency” is an act, other than sexual intercourse (whether natural or unnatural), by a person involving the use of the genital organ for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.
Immigration Act 1969
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), entry into Trinidad and Tobago of the persons described in this subsection, other than citizens and, subject to section 7(2), residents, is prohibited, namely—
(e) Prostitutes, homosexuals or persons living on the earnings of prostitutes or homosexuals, or persons reasonably suspected as coming to Trinidad and Tobago for these or any other immoral purposes;
(f) persons who are reasonably suspected of attempting to bring into Trinidad and Tobago or of procuring prostitutes or other persons for the purpose of prostitution or homosexual or other immoral purposes;
No case law could be found from or about Trinidad and Tobago.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE’S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
According to the StarOnline , Trinidadian society will accept homophobic attitudes unless given a strong impetus not to. In 2011, the Trinidad and Tobago’s LGBTI community publicly marked International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia for the first time. In 2016, PM Rowley stated: “I want to make it abundantly clear that every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of who he or she may be, will have the protection of the written Constitution….All State agencies have a duty to protect every citizen of Trinidad and Tobago regardless of whom they sleep with.”
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC)
The CVC provides services directly to and on the behalf of populations that are vulnerable to HIV and those without adequate access to healthcare and treatment programmes. Amongst these populations are men who have sex with men, sex works, migrant populations etc. This organisation seeks to create an environment to support human rights and improve the quality of life for these vulnerable populations.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
We have no specialist on LGBTI for Trinidad and Tobago, but would welcome suggestions.
Researched by: Karel Kingsley