THREE BARBADIANS — a trans woman, a lesbian and a gay man — are filing a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), challenging two parts of a law that they say criminalize intimacy between consenting same-sex partners.


They are challenging two sections of the law that criminalizes including Section 9: buggery – anal sex between men or between a man and a woman – and prescribes a maximum penalty of life in prison, which the petitioners say is the harshest buggery law in the hemisphere.

They are also challenging Section 12 that criminalizes “serious indecency”, which is defined as an act by anyone involving the use of the genital organs for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire. The penalties vary depending on the age of the person the act is committed on or towards.

“With these laws, we have been stripped of the freedom to enjoy one of the most important aspects of any romantic relationship – intimacy.” – Alexa Hoffman (Petitioner and Barbadian trans woman)

This challenge is supported by the Trans Advocacy and Agitation Barbados (TAAB) and the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Programme.

The petitioners say the ultimate goal is to end the criminalization of consensual sexual activity between persons above the age of consent, and to stop what they call the state-sponsored homophobia.


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