Lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LBTI) people in Antigua and Barbuda are subject to violence, discrimination, and stigma, whether it be punitive state action or lack of protection.
There is no protection against discrimination for LBTI people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and same-sex marriages do not have legal recognition. Transgender and intersex rights are not protected by Antigua and Barbuda’s laws.
However, in July 2022, the Antigua and Barbuda High Court of Justice that effectively decriminalised consensual same-sex sexual activity by holding that sections 12 and 15 of the Caribbean country’s 1995 Sexual Offences Act unconstitutional. The court held that the criminalisation of consensual sexual acts between same-sex, adult partners infringes the rights to liberty, legal protection, freedom of expression, privacy and protection from discrimination based on sex. This ruling was an important step toward creating a more equitable context for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Antigua and Barbuda to exercise their rights to dignity, justice and health.
The last State party report was submitted in 2017 and contains only information about an organisation that works on LBTI rights and does not shy away from discussing culturally sensitive issues such as the rights of gays, lesbians and transgendered persons. The organization started on online as a safe space where oppressed and marginalized persons could speak out.
The State Party received its first SOGIESC-focused recommendations in the most recent CEDAW cycle. The Committee recommended that the State Party should increase awareness amongst LBT and other women of their rights and how to use redress mechanisms using the CEDAW Convention as well as the Optional Protocol and General Recommendations.
The Committee also suggested that the State party should also ensure access of LBT women to healthcare, employment, and social services, amongst other things, while removing all discriminatory barriers.
Lastly, the Committee maintained that comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that prohibits all forms of discrmination, provides equal access to opportunities and services, and decriminalises same-sex relations is key to provide a safe environment for LBT women. Intersex people were not a part of these recommendations.
Other non-SOGIESC recommendations that can be read to include LBT women are:
(a) to legalise abortion in cases where the life or health of the pregnant woman is in danger, decriminalise it in all other cases, and ensure access and affordability for women to abortion-related care;
(b) to ensure access to HIV/AIDS-related healthcare services including antiretroviral medicines, for women and girls living with HIV/AIDS, paying particular attention to sex-workers, and
(c) to update the national strategic plan for health to address stigma and discrimination.
The List of Issues contained questions about any steps that the State party has taken to eliminate discrimination against and stigmatisation of certain minority or disadvantaged groups, including migrant women, women who are internally displaced, women living with HIV/AIDS and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex people.