At last homosexuality now declared legal in Barbados
It is precisely this news that always gives hope: Now homosexuality is also considered legal in Barbados. After several other countries, including Singapore, the island nation in the Atlantic is now following suit. The old laws that still condemned homosexuality at the time actually date back to colonial times.
The new legislation now allows many people to finally stand up for themselves. The Supreme Court of Barbados has decided to completely remove the discriminatory sections from the Sexual Offences Act.
What did the law lay down so far?
The two sections that are now - thanks to the innovation - a thing of the past are Section 9 and Section 12. Section 9 declared anal intercourse to be criminal. Those who violated it risked being charged with a life sentence. Section number 12 was dedicated to so-called "serious indecency." Here, up to ten years in prison were threatened.
Interestingly, the two sections mainly applied to homosexual people, even when both consented to the respective sexual acts.
The fact that the old law is now actually a thing of the past is thanks in part to the LGBTQIA+ organization Human Dignity Trust, which has been campaigning for queer rights for some time, including in Barbados.
The decriminalization of homosexuality in Barbados: one of many important steps
Sure: The Supreme Court's decision is definitely a cause for celebration. But: Of course, there is still a long way to go before we can perhaps speak of "complete equality" at some point in the future. Barbados, for example, still does not have marriage for all.
For some time now, local politicians have been discussing the introduction of a partnership law that would benefit same-sex couples. However, there are also many people within Barbados' society who would not approve of exactly that. Ultimately, the decision for or against marriage for all could be made via a referendum.
The UN is also pleased with the recent decisions to decriminalize homosexuality
Meanwhile, the UN, among others, has already spoken out. Their representatives have also welcomed Barbados' decision to decriminalize both same-sex acts and homosexuality in general.
At the same time, she pointed out that there are still many countries where old laws of this kind exist. However, on the basis of the corresponding legal foundations, people who belong to the community are stigmatized in public.
The consequences are not only shown in a high psychological burden, but also, among other things, in the fact that many queers in the respective countries simply do not dare to inquire, for example, about help and treatment around HIV and similar diseases. Clearly, in a country where it is a criminal offense to be gay, for example, any request for help of this kind could be an unwanted aid to arrest (and, in the eyes of many, an "admission of guilt"). Accordingly, it is certainly not an exaggeration to claim that decriminalizing homosexuality in countries such as Barbados may ultimately save lives.
Decisions with an exemplary effect?
Many queers now hope that other countries will decide to follow Barbados' example in the future. It is clear that the corresponding developments will not happen "overnight". But: Also the example around the island state shows that it may be actually with regard to more equal rights never too late to give up hope.
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