Trinidad and Tobago LGBT Laws

Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

GLBTI persons may not lawfully enter Trinidad and Tobago [R1.1]

Immigration Act. Chapter 18.01. Part I [L1.1]

Section 8. Prohibited Classes

(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;

2. Courts & Tribunals

n 12 May 2016, it was reported that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had dismissed an application in its original jurisdiction by Jamaican Maurice Tomlinson against the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago. Tomlinson alleged that the existence of laws purporting to deny homosexuals and prostitutes entry discriminated against him under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas; however the court found that he had no valid reason to assume his rights would not be respected under either state’s law, since he had provided no evidence of same [C2.4], [R2.3].

On 08 May 2014, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) granted Jamaican Maurice Tomlinson special leave to commence proceedings within 7 days against Trinidad and Tobago and Belize after he claimed that their existing legislations impinged upon his right to free movement, the immigration acts of Trinidad and Tobago and Belize preventing homosexuals from entering [C2.2], [R2.1].

L1.1 Ministry of Legal Affairs: Immigration Act. Chapter 18:01 PDF 859.91kb, 08 OCT 04 (Accessed 13 NOV 10)
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 700.06kb, page 54, MAY 09
C2.4 Judgment: Maurice Tomlinson v. The State of Belize and Trinidad & Tobago [2014] CCJ1 (OJ) PDF 484.31kb 10JUN 16
R2.3 BelizeNews: CCJ dismisses Maurice Tomlinson immigration case 10 JUN 16
C2.2 Judgment: Maurice Tomlinson v The State of Belize & The State of Trinidad & Tobago CCJ Application Nos. OA 1 & 2 of 2013 PDF 135.73kb, 08 MAY 14
R2.1 JamaicaObserver: CCJ grants Jamaican homosexual leave to challenge legislation in T&T and Belize 08 MAY 14
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In February 2011, Senators debated about recognition of same-sex unions when some objected to the fact that same-sex couples were excluded from proposed amendments to a law that pays a month’s salary to the next of kin of a civil servant who passes away [R1.1].

R1.1 Bay Windows: Trinidad and Tobago debates same-sex unions 28 FEB 11
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 14 August 2012, in a private letter to gay rights campaigner Lance Price, which was obtained by the T&T Guardian, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar promised to end discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the proposed national gender policy [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Trinidad and Tobago PM says she will end gay hate 18 DEC 12
Estates, Inheritance, Property, Succession, Wills Legislation/Cases/References
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 28 June 2018, Justice Frank Seepersad in the San Fernando High Court reportedly approved a consent order between two gay former business partners and lovers, saying ”Equality of treatment before the law ought to be a cornerstone of any democratic society, but for many citizens the law deprives them of basic protection as they are denied the requisite degree of statutory protection which is afforded to heterosexual partners” particularly in propriety and inheritance matters [R1.1].

R1.1 Newsday: Judge: Greater equality for same-sex couples 29 JUN 18
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual
1. Courts & Tribunals

On 05 March 2001, the government agree to a court order to pay a transsexual woman $4,762 in damages for an unlawful arrest and illegal conduct by police officers who were eager to search her [R1.1].

R1.1 The Advocate: Trinidad Transsexual Wins Damages for False Arrest 08 MAR 01
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is lawful [R2.4], [R2.3].

Sexual Offences Act. Chapter 11:28 [L1.4]

Part I. Offences and the Prosecution and Punishment of Offences (as amended by the Court [R2.4])

Section 13. Buggery

(1) A person who commits the offence of buggery is liable on conviction to imprisonment for twenty-five years.

(2) In this section ”buggery” means sexual intercourse ”without consent” per anum by a male person with a male person or by a male person with a female person.

Section 16. Serious Indecency

(1) A person who commits an act of serious indecency on or towards another is liable on conviction to imprisonment for five years.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an act of serious indecency committed in private between­

(a) a husband and his wife;

(b) ”persons” each of whom is sixteen years of age or more, both of whom consent to the commission of the act; or

(c) persons to whom section 20(1) and (2) and (3) of the Children Act apply.

(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.

See Courts & Tribunals below:

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 20 September 2018, Justice Devindra Rampersad gave his final ruling that sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalised sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, was unconstitutional. He did not immediately strike down the sections, but invited further submissions on the issue whilst ruling that consenting adults of the same sex can no longer be prosecuted for engaging in sexual acts [R2.4].

On 13 April 2018, it was reported that High Court Justice Devindra Rampersad declared ” … that sections 13 and 16 of the [Sexual Offenses Act] are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalise any acts constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults” [R2.3].

On 23 January 2018, it was reported that a case brought by Jason Jones challenging the constitutionaliy of Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offenses Act was listed for hearing in the High Court on 30 January [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.5 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 700.06kb, pages 42–43, MAY 09
L1.4 Ministry of Legal Affairs: Sexual Offences. Chapter 11:28 PDF 261.13kb, JUL 10 (Accessed 13 NOV 10)
R1.3 NBCnews: Trinidad and Tobago set to decriminalize homosexuality 13 APR 18
2. Courts & Tribunals
R2.4 StLucianNewsOnline: Consensual sex in adult same-sex unions now legal in Trinidad and Tobago 20 SEP 18
R2.3 NBCnews: Trinidad and Tobago set to decriminalize homosexuality 13 APR 18
C2.2 Quaere: Jason Jones v. Attorney General & Government of The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago
R2.1 GayStarNews: One judge’s decision could legalize gay sex in eight Caribbean countries 23 JAN 18