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Barbados invites same-sex couples to live on the island for a year as it begins unpicking colonial-era homophobia
Barbados' prime minister has said same-sex couples are welcome on the island as it launches its Welcome Stamp remote work visa programme.
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TRAVELBarbados invites same-sex couples to live on the island for a year as it begins unpicking colonial-era homophobia
REISS SMITH JULY 22, 2020
Bridgetown, Barbados could soon be filled with remote workers. (Getty)
Barbados’ prime minister has said same-sex couples are welcome on the island as it works to free itself from its colonial-era stance on LGBT+ rights.
Barbados, one of the smallest but most-visited Caribbean islands, recently announced it would allow foreigners to live and work remotely on its shores for 12 months in an attempt to kickstart its tourism economy, hampered by the pandemic and a lack of rapid testing throughout the nation.
Though the announcement made for enthusiastic headlines around the world, there was less excitement among the queer community, owing to Barbados’ archaic laws on homosexuality and a note on the application.
The online form for the Welcome Stamp visa defined a spouse to be a mixed-sex partner, appearing to exclude same-sex couples.
With the situation unclear, prime minister Mia Mottley sought to make clear that Barbados “welcomes all”.
“There is an issue as to who Barbados will welcome and who it will not welcome,” she said in parliament.
“I want to say as long as I am prime minister of this nation we welcome all, every one.
Currently, same-sex male relations are punishable by up to 16 years in prison in Barbados, a law stretching back to its colonial occupation. According to Equaldex the ban is not enforced, and new legislation to end this discrimination is pending, though some homophobic attitudes remain. There is currently no legal recognition for trans people.
Mottley alluded to the island’s anti-LGBT+ laws, adding: “This country, that has been forged regrettably in the bowels of discrimination, cannot want to discriminate against anybody for any reason. All must breathe in this country.”
She confirmed that a bill is to be debated imminently with a view to outlawing discrimination on the age of race, age, colour, gender and sexual orientation.