Information on the treatment of lesbians by the authorities and the general population (update of TTO20544.E of 8 May 1995) [TTO27809.E]

The following information was provided to the DIRB in a 12 September 1997 telephone interview with a representative of the Gay Advocates Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Homosexual acts are illegal in Trinidad and Tobago for both men and women; but the source is not aware of any cases of people being convicted in court for consensual sexual acts. Although Trinidadian society in general is very hostile toward lesbians, the source believes that the situation is even more difficult for homosexual men. The source stated that there have been many cases in the past two years in which lesbians have been assaulted and raped because of their sexual orientation. In some cases the rape victims have complained to the police, but were told that being raped was a positive experience for them because it would help them learn to "accept men." The source stated that there have been many cases of women being evicted from their apartments or fired from their jobs when it was learned that they were lesbians, and other cases in which sexual or monetary favours were demanded of lesbians in exchange for not being evicted or fired. There are no public figures in Trinidad and Tobago who are publicly known to be lesbians or who are publicly sympathetic to lesbians. Corroborating evidence could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

For information on Trinidadian law on homosexual acts, please see the attached excerpts from Trinidad and Tobago's Sexual Offences Act of 1986, and the November 1993 DIRB Question and Answer Series paper Women in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, available at Regional Documentation Centres.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Gay Advocates Association of Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain. 12 September 1997. Telephone interview with a representative.


Trinidad and Tobago. 1986. Sexual Offences Act, sec. 11-16.

Additional Sources Consulted

IGLHRC Action Alert [San Francisco]. November-December 1994-Vol. 6 No. 3 1997.

ILGA Bulletin [Brussels]. January 1995-December 1996.

Electronic sources: DIRB databases, Global News Bank, LEXIS/NEXIS, REFWORLD (UNHCR database).