October 3, 2023

It’s Still legal to discriminate against anyone for being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender in the Cayman Islands. Colours Caribbean is working to change that

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Billie Bryan • Colours Caribbean Issued by Colours Caribbean, 19 January 2022


Founder & President of Colours Caribbean, Billie Bryan; Vice President of Colours Caribbean, Gianna Bodden Esteban; pro bono legal consultant to the organisation, Dr Leonardo Raznovich; and Deputy Director of Cayman Islands Red Cross, Carolina Ferreira, met with His Excellency The Governor on Monday, 17 January 2022 and with Hon G Wayne Panton, the Premier, on Tuesday, 18 January 2022 to discuss the implementation of local anti-discrimination legislation.

At both meetings, the Governor and the Premier were reminded of the Cayman Islands’ international legal obligation to have in place such legislation under the European Convention On Human Rights (ECHR). This obligation has existed for over 22 years—it first arose in 1999 when the decision in Smith and Grady v UK 29 EHRR 493 was delivered by the ECHR in Strasbourg against the UK. It is also a legal obligation that was highlighted to the Cayman Islands and UK governments by Professor Robert Wintemute of King’s College in London during his lecture in the Grand Court on 15 January 2015. Moreover, it is a matter that has since been further highlighted by the Cayman Islands Human Rights Commission later that same year in a letter to then Premier, copied to the then Governor.

HE Governor Martyn Roper was very receptive and understanding throughout the discussion, noting the significance of such legislation to protect not only LGBTQIA+ people but also other minorities such as people with disabilities or people with HIV. His Excellency acknowledged the overdue urgency of its implementation, particularly in the context of the recent homophobic assault on a same-sex couple at The Strand and their decision to remain anonymous, which may likely relate to fear of repercussions on employment and/or immigration status. Colours Caribbean is deeply concerned that the victims, having endured such a heinous attack, now have the added burden of no protection from discrimination should their identities become public. Colours Caribbean also considers it illogical and unacceptable for persons to be able to enter into same-sex civil partnerships under the Civil Partnership Act and yet not be protected against discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, for example, in the workplace or when accessing healthcare or other public and private services.

Youth Representative for Colours Youth Programme and student at Cayman International School, Soleil Parkinson, also discussed with the Premier the importance of such legislation and the introduction of preventative and protective measures against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia across the jurisdiction, especially for LGBTQIA+ youth. She expressed that many from her community and others her age still feel unsafe expressing their gender identity or sexual orientation for fear of harassment and are actively seeking safer environments abroad where they will be more socially accepted.

Meanwhile, Colours Caribbean commits to continue pushing for the implementation of hate crime law and anti-discrimination legislation by any means necessary and will be meeting with members of UK Parliament to further highlight its significance for the Cayman Islands and all other British Overseas Territories. Colours Caribbean also commits to continuing to offer its training on political and social issues surrounding gender and sexuality through its educational workshops for government, schools and the workplace, as it has since 2016.

About Colours Caribbean

Colours Caribbean is a locally operated non-profit that aims to foster a safe and comfortable social environment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community of the Caribbean and Latin America by building a network of regional businesses and public venues free of discrimination and harassment towards anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights as Human Rights and promote the inclusion and equality of LGBTQIA+ persons in the Cayman Islands and throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.

Billie “Bee” Bryan 
Founder & President
Colours Caribbean
+1 (345) 324-3779 Cayman Islands
+1 (408) 688-9999 USA
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