A new charter presented to Barbados’ parliament could signal more protections and guarantees for the LGBTQ+ community.
Barbados Today reports that the the charter “is premised on five articles, the first of which states that ‘All Barbadians are born free and are equal in human dignity and rights regardless of age, race, ethnicity, faith, class, cultural and educational background, ability, sex, gender, or sexual orientation.’”
The article goes on to state how, as a people who have “survived the trauma of enslavement,” Barbadians must “therefore reject, in our community, all forms of oppression, intolerance, discrimination and abuse, whether economic, mental, verbal, or physical.”
The charter was presented by the government of Prime Minister Mia Mottley – the republic’s first woman to serve in that position – ahead of the inauguration of new president Sandra Mason, the U.K’s Independent reports. Although the document is not legally binding, it could provide some insight into the direction that Barbados is going following the Caribbean nation’s break from the British monarchy last month.
“The charter is of huge significance,” Donnya Piggott, one of the founders of Barbados – Gays and Lesbians and Allsexuals Against Discrimination (B-Glad) told the Independent. “I think that Mia Mottley and the administration are trying to chart a new path for Barbados without us having to just adopt what was there before independence.”
The Independent also reports that while homosexuality is not “explicitly illegal” in the island nation, same-sex relationships are effectively criminalized under rarely-enforced colonial laws. However, the publication also reports that Mottley has said that the country will recognize same-sex civil partnerships, and promised that the marriage question will be put to a public referendum vote.
Barbados gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, but the British monarch remained the head of state until November, when the island nation severed its final colonial ties.