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The Bahamas protects the rights of its lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LBTI) people only to a certain extent. Consensual same-sex conduct between adults was decriminalised in 1991, however, the Constitution does not include protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Additionally, protection against discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation is not addressed in the Employment Act of 2001.

There is no legal framework for the protection of rights for transgender and intersex people.

The last State party report was submitted in 2017 and contained no LBTI specific information.

In the previous Concluding Observations in July 2012, the CEDAW Committee expressed grave concerns that the State party “does not see itself as bound by CEDAW Article 9 on the basis that Bahamian citizens rejected, in a constitutional referendum, the withdrawal of the constitutional provision preventing women from passing their nationality to their children or to their spouses of foreign nationality on an equal basis with men.”

Despite the Bahamas’ failure to implement the Committee’s last recommendation to remove discriminatory constitutional provisions preventing women from fully actualising their rights, the CEDAW Committee’s observations in 2018 were SOGIESC-specific. In fact, the Bahamas received its first two SOGIESC recommendations in November 2018.

The Committee showed concern regarding the “the failure to eliminate intersecting forms of discrimination in particular against women of Haitian descent, migrant women, women with disabilities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, intersex persons and women living in the Family Islands.” With regard to this, the Committee recommended adopting a comprehensive action plan against discrimination impacting women, including LBT women and intersex people.

The second recommendation was regarding a high reported incidence of gender-based violence against LBTI people and urged the State party to review the cultural norms that normalise such violence.

Additionally, the State party was asked to adopt an action plan that includes adequate resources, a timeline and measurable targets requiring authorities to implement relevant laws to prevent and eliminate all forms of de facto discrimination against LBTI people.

The Bahamas did not receive questions regarding the protection of LBTI people in its List of Issues; however, civil society submissions had a strengthened SOGIESC focus.