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Lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LBTI) people face significant legal and social challenges in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Penal Code makes consensual same-sex conduct illegal – Section 146 prohibits “buggery”, with a penalty of ten years imprisonment. The law applies to both men and women.

The State party also does not address discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and does not legally recognise same-sex unions, marriages, and partnerships. The rights of transgender and intersex people are neither legally recognised nor protected in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


In 2011, in its first UPR cycle, St. Vincent and the Grenadines rejected recommendations to decriminalise consensual same-sex sexual relations: “The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines cannot accept at this time this recommendation to repeal provisions against lesbian and gays, as the public sentiment favours the retention of provisions which criminalize buggery and sexual relations between adults of the same sex…”.

p>In 2016, in its second UPR cycle, St. Vincent and the Grenadines noted the recommendations concerning decriminalisation of consensual same-sex activities between adults and the need to protect and prohibit discrimination against LGBT persons.

The last State party report was submitted in 2013 and the List of Issues from November 2020 contained a single issue on LBT people: the question asked for specific information on the measures taken by the state party to ensure that LBT women have effective access to justice, protection from gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health services and income-generating opportunities.

On 26 July 2019, a case was filed by two gay men (Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish) challenging the criminalisation of private, consensual same-sex sexual activity under sections 146 and 148 of the Criminal Code 1988.

The CEDAW Committee provided an LBT-inclusive recommendation at the 61st Session. The Committee indicated concern that women in same-sex relationships are excluded from the categories of persons who can apply for protection under the Domestic Violence Act, and recommended that no woman is excluded from seeking and obtaining protection from the law on the basis of the type of relationship in which she is engaged.

The List of Issues did not have any SOGIESC-focused questions. There was no mention of intersex people in the Concluding Observations or in the List of Issues.

Other general observations from the Committee that can apply to LBTI people include:

(a) enhancing support services for victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation;

(b) access to affordable sexual and reproductive health and rights and contraceptives;

(c) removal of barriers and structural stereotypes from fields of study or employment that are considered traditionally male.