LGBTQ travel advice

LGBTQ+ TRAVEL SAFETY – How we calculated it for Caribbean zone?

Our methodology

We looked at the top 150 most-visited countries in the world by number of incoming tourists, then examined LGBTQ+ rights by country. We created our LGBTQ+ danger index based on a total of eight factors.

See Complete Danger Index

Positive factors

  • Legalized Same-Sex Marriage (0 to +50 Points) — Is same-sex marriage legal and equal under the law in this country? If marriage is not equal, are civil unions legal? If not, does the country legally recognize foreign LGBTQ+ marriages? We ranked the scores for this metric based on how many years same-sex marriage has been legal in this country. Civil unions and other types of partnerships received half points and were also ranked by number of years they have been legal.Source: Recognition of same-sex relationships – Human Rights Watch
  • LGBTQ+ Worker Protections (0 to +50 Points) — For the people living in that country, are there legal protections against discrimination in the workplace? Full points were awarded for both sexual orientation and gender protection; half points were awarded for sexual orientation protection only.
  • Source: LGBTQ+ Worker Protections – The World Policy Center
  • Legal Protections Against Anti-LGBTQ+ Discrimination (0 to +50 Points) — Are there either constitutional or broad legal protections of LGBTQ+ people in this country? Constitutional protections were awarded full points; broad protections were awarded half points.Source: Sexual Orientation Laws 2019 – ILGA
  • Criminalization of Hate-Based Violence (0 to +50 Points) — Is anti-LGBTQ+, hate-based, or homophobia-inspired violence considered a hate crime in this country? Is hate-based, anti-LGBTQ+ speech considered hate speech? The existence of hate crime penalties received full points; incitement-only punishments received half points.Source: Criminalization of Hate-Based Violence 2017 – ILGA
  • Adoption Recognition (0 to +50 Points) — Is joint adoption and/or second-parent adoption legal in this country for same-sex parents? The recognition of both joint and second-parent adoption received full points, while only second-parent adoption recognition received half points.Source: Adoption Recognition 2017 – ILGA
  • Gallup Poll Scores (0 to +100 points) — In a 2018 Gallup poll, individuals were asked, “Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for gay and lesbian people?” The percentages represented and used in our metrics include those who said “good place” for that country. We gave this factor a double weighting because it gives a very good pulse on the general attitude towards LGBTQ+ people in that country.Source: Gallup World Poll (2018 Data)

Negative factors

  • Illegal LGBTQ+ Relationships and Acts (0 to -100 Points) — Can “sodomy,” “indecent acts,” or “buggery” result in punishments under the law such as physical violence, a fine, or prison time? Any possible death sentences or life-in-prison sentences under the law receive the maximum -100 safety penalty. All other punishments were ranked by severity. We gave this factor a negative double weighting because the fact that homosexuality is illegal and can receive the death sentence means that the laws of these countries are definitely not favorable to LGBTQ+ people.Source: Global Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws – Human Rights Watch
  • Propaganda/Morality Laws (0 to -50 Points) — Are there laws sanctioned by the state to prevent the dissemination or publication of information about queer culture? Are there laws affecting the creation of LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? This metric was graded based on the severity of the punishments.Source: State Sponsored Homophobia 2017 – ILGA

To measure LGBTQ+ safety abroad, one cannot look only at data on whether or not same-sex marriage is legal and if anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination laws are in place. It also depends on the general attitude of the culture, minutiae of the legal system, and oppression of LGBTQ+ rights. These issues can affect everything, from your ability to show public displays of affection to being able to share a hotel room bed to the capacity at which you can use dating apps without being caught by the local police. A few items on our list, such as adoption recognition and worker protections may not affect LGBTQ+ travelers directly, but these factors are a good indication of overall attitudes within the culture.

Where are same-sex relationships illegal?

There are some places on the planet where it’s perfectly ordinary to kiss or hold hands with a same-sex partner in public, but in other places, that action could result in fines, imprisonment, hard labor, whipping, or, in some cases, death. These countries where homosexuality is illegal are also often severe human rights violators, usually penalizing male/male sexuality and/or trans women most harshly.

Unfortunately, some countries where it’s illegal to be gay or trans also happen to be popular vacation spots. For instance, it’s illegal to be gay in Jamaica; the “buggery law,” which is leftover from the colonial era, allows for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison including hard labor. Jamaica was called “the most homophobic place on Earth” by Time magazine in 2006. That label has clung to Jamaica ever since, and with good reason. In a 2013 survey of 71 LGBTQ+ people conducted by Human Rights Watch, more than half said they had been victims of homophobic violence. Non-violent discrimination is even more pervasive, with bullying and exclusion faced in education, healthcare and within local communities. Although there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Jamaica since there are signs that it’s moving toward reform.

Those looking for trans- and gay-travel-safe countries should reconsider popular vacation destinations like Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Myanmar, and Egypt as well as some of the more popular beaches in the Caribbean, like Saint Lucia and Barbados.

Please note: All countries marked with an asterisk* in the below list were former British colonies and their anti-LGBTQ+ laws mostly came into effect under British rule.

Caribbean

(CLICK the country names for more details on their anti-LGBTQ+ laws)

The following countries are not in the top 150 most visited by international tourists, so they have not been included in our LGBTQ+ Danger Index graphic above. However, same-sex relationships are illegal:

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