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A court ruling could be about to legalise gay sex in eight Caribbean countries

Josh Jackman January 25, 2018
A gay couple kiss in the pride parade during the celebration of the day against homophobia and transphobia in Havana, on May 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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Gay sex could be about to be legalised in eight Caribbean countries.

The potentially momentous ruling would come about through Trinidad-born LGBT rights activist Jason Jones, who is taking his country to court in an effort to decriminalise homosexuality.

If the campaign – which PinkNews supports – is successful, it would also make gay sex legal in Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent.

Jason Jones (Facebook/jason jones)

As it currently stands, men convicted of penetrative sex with another man can be imprisoned for 25 years, while any other gay or lesbian sexual acts can result in a five-year prison term.

Jones expects a decision to be returned a few weeks after the hearing, which is set for next week, on January 30.

Writing for PinkNews in November last year, Jones described the second-class status of LGB people on the island.

Members of the local gay community take part in the Gay Pride Parade in Santo Domingo on July 2, 2017.   / AFP PHOTO / Erika SANTELICES        (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
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“I am a criminal simply because I am a gay man,” he wrote.

“There are around 100,000 LGBT people on my islands, all living with the threat of criminal law hanging over them.

“We inherited these laws from Britain, but my own Government extended the law from only gay men to include lesbians as well after we gained our independence.”

(Facebook/jason jones)

He said the laws “violate my human rights and encourage homophobia and hatred from my fellow citizens against the LGBT community, and therefore MUST be removed.”

And Jones opened up about the hate which he has received since he started his legal challenge in February last year.

“I have received more than 60 death threats, and hundreds of messages of hate on my social media pages,” he said.

(Facebook/jason jones)

“I live in fear for my safety and have become completely isolated from friends and family because I don’t want anything to happen to them back home.”

Speaking to the Washington Blade, he said that “people have threatened to throw petrol on me and set me on fire.

“They are writing ‘boom bye bye battyboy’ on my Facebook page. How can I ignore that?

Members of the local gay community take part in the Gay Pride Parade in Santo Domingo on July 2, 2017.   / AFP PHOTO / Erika SANTELICES        (Photo credit should read ERIKA SANTELICES/AFP/Getty Images)
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“Some of these threats are real. I haven’t been able to sleep properly.

“Every strange call, odd sound or anything remotely off has me frightened.”

He said that the murder last month of transgender woman Keon Alister Patterson on the island emphasised the case’s significance, even if it also made him more worried.

(Facebook/jason jones)

“As much as talking about the risks and difficulties in a country where we are criminalised is important – the more we do, the more the reality of this murder leaves me feeling so scared,” he said.

A court ruling earlier this month ordered 16 countries in Central and South America to make same-sex marriage legal.

Members of gay and lesbian organizations kiss during a demonstration in front of the Presidential Palace in San Jose on February 14, 2012. About one hundred Costa Rican gays rallied outside the government house to ask President Laura Chinchilla for a law legalizing the homosexual unions. AFP PHOTO/Rodrigo ARANGUA (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname were affected by The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ decision.

PinkNews is supporting Jason’s campaign to decriminalise homosexuality, and we hope our readers can donate too.

More: Americas, Antigua, Barbados, Barbados, Caribbean, court, gay sex, grenada, Jamaica, Jamaica, jason jones, Law, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent., trinidad

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