Earlier today, Out & Equal’s Executive Director, Selisse Berry, was interviewed by Francis Wade from CaribHR.Radio; a talk radio show for Human Resource practitioners across the Caribbean region. The episode focused on the role that HR can play in fostering a workplace that’s friendly to members of the LGBT community.
As you may know, being an LGBT person in Jamaica can be very difficult. According to Mr. Wade, very few people are out at work, and he is not familiar with any HR groups that provide training or support on the topic. Mr. Wade had some great questions for Selisse about resources and advice for HR professionals, about what it is like for closeted employees, and how HR professionals should handle an employee coming out when their own religious beliefs mean they think it is “wrong.”
During the show, Mr. Wade also shared audio from this video clip about Jamaican ex- policeman Michael Hayden, and sent us this information about the current laws in the the region regarding LGBT issues:
Contrary to popular belief, it is not actually illegal to be homosexual in Jamaica. Being a homosexual does not contravene any of the existing laws; however, the law makes certain ‘homosexual acts’ illegal, and these laws are used to persecute gay men. They state that “acts of gross indecency” and buggery [anal sex] are illegal. Although buggery refers to anal sex between a man and another man, a woman or an animal, in practice the law is predominately enforced against two men. Lesbians are also discriminated against in the wider society, however no laws target lesbians or lesbian conduct.
Trinidadian criminal code prohibits sex between two people of the same sex, as is the case in much of the English-speaking Caribbean. Under Article 8 (18/1) of the Immigration Act, homosexual men and women are not allowed to enter the country. However, this law is not known to have been enforced.
Homosexual acts (sodomy) are illegal in Barbados, with a life sentence; but the law is rarely enforced.
Have you ever lived or worked in the Carribean region? If so, we’d love to hear your stories!