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Trinidad and Tobago government challenges decriminalization of gay sex

Trinidad and Tobago government challenges decriminalization of gay sex

Jason Jones of Trinidad and Tobago

In April, the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago made a historic decision — decriminalizing gay sex.

Their ruling overturned colonial-era Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offenses Act.

Despite this win, the battle is not over yet.

Trinidad and Tobago’s government is challenging the court’s ruling, seeking to uphold the dated and harmful laws.

On 20 September, the case will once more find its way to the courts, with activists fighting the government to keep their lives safe and legal.

How did we get here?

Activist Jason Jones initially brought the challenge to Sections 13 and 16 in February 2017. One year and some change later, the High Court agreed they were both unconstitutional.

The judge for the High Court, Justice Devindra Rampersad, said the laws violated Jones’ right to privacy, liberty and freedom of expression.

It was a historic win for LGBTI people across the Caribbean nation.

‘I am doing this for the betterment of our nation, and for our feature generations,’ Jones said.

But it’s not over?

The government doesn’t want to lose.

Now, Jones and his lawyers will face them in court. They are presenting the case to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. It will be the first time the Privy Council hears an LGBTI decriminalization case.

The importance of my legal challenge for LGBT equality cannot be stressed enough,’ Jones told GSN. ‘My final victory at the Privy Council in the United Kingdom will lead to decriminalisation in at least 10 other Countries and impact positively on hundreds of thousands of LGBT people across the Globe.’

Jones has set up a crowdfunding campaign for the case to help pay for legal fees and beyond.

‘I’m incredibly proud that my historic victory in April has made a positive impact in the recent landmark victory in India with my case being mentioned twice in that judgement,’ he continued.

‘It proves how important the work we all do around the world, contributes to LGBT Equality.

‘We can no longer sit by and watch huge advances in the Global North whilst we in the South continue to hide in the shadows with laws that criminalise us hanging over our heads. We must all do our bit to ensure that no one is left behind.’

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