Overlooked and at Risk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in the Caribbean

Published: July 1, 2010

The Caribbean region is made up of twenty-seven territories, with a population of 35
million people of which approximately eight million are youth between the ages of 10
and 24.1 Located southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and North America, the Caribbean
boasts a diversity of languages and cultures.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals living in the Caribbean
have had a long struggle for acceptance and equal rights within society. Many countries
have laws against “buggery/sodomy”, “gross indecency,” or homosexual behaviour.
Socio-cultural and religious taboos in many countries deny the existence of LGBT
individuals and discourage any tolerance for their diverse sexual orientations and gender
identities, regarding them as a threat to deep-rooted social norms of heterosexism and
heteronormativity. LGBT people, including LGBT youth, undergo signifi cant levels of
stigma and discrimination and in extreme cases, acts of violence, which sometimes result
in death. For the health and well-being of these young people, activists must work to
end homophobia and transphobia in the region.

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