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Table 1 Selected SGM rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1998–2018

From: Sexual and gender minorities rights in Latin America and the Caribbean: a multi-country evaluation

Sub-region and CountryLegal protections addressing same-sex couplesSGM anti-discrimination laws
Consensual Same-Sex Sexual ActsRecognition of same-sex legal unionSame-sex MarriageAdoption by same-sex couplesSGM allowed to serve openly in militaryAnti-Discrimination laws related to sexual orientationLaws related to gender identity/expression
Caribbean
 Antigua & BarbudaIllegal
(only male, max penalty 15 years prison)
NoNoNoNoNoNo
 BahamasLegal since 1991NoNoNoYes (reinforced since 1998)NoNo
 BarbadosIllegal
(only male, max penalty for buggery life imprisonment)
NoNoNoNoNoNo
 CubaLegal since 1979NoNoNoSince 1993Yes
Work-related anti-discrimination law (2013)
New Constitution bans all anti SGM discrimination (2019)
Yes
Since 2008 integral medical care (including gender-affirming surgery and hormone therapy) is provided by the government.
Right to change legal gender and name since 2008, requiring gender-affirming surgery, medical certification and judicial procedures.
 DominicaIllegal
(only male, max penalty 10 years in prison + psychiatric treatment
NoNoNoNoNoNo
 Dominican RepublicLegal since 1822NoNo (Constitutional ban since 2010)NoNoNoNo
 GrenadaIllegal (only male, max penalty 10 years prison)NoNoNoThe country has no militaryNoNo
 HaitiLegal since 1791NoNoNoThe country has no militaryNoNo
 JamaicaIllegal (all gendersa, max penalty 10 years prison + hard labor)NoNo (Constitutional ban since 1962)NoNoNoNo
 St. Kitts and NevisIllegal (only male, max penalty 10 years prison + hard labor)NoNoNoNoNoNo
 Saint LuciaIllegal
(only male, max penalty10 years in prison)
NoNoNoThe country has no militaryNoNo
 St. Vincent and the GrenadinesIllegal (all genders, max penalty 10 years prison)NoNoNoThe country has no militaryNoNo
 Trinidad and TobagoLegal since 2018NoNoNoNoNoNo
Mesoamerica
 BelizeLegal since 2016NoNoNoNoSince 2016 bans all anti SGM discriminationNo
 Costa RicaLegal since 1971Since 2014NoNoThe country has no militarySince 2015 bans all anti SGM discriminationSince 2018 transgender persons can change their name and gender without conditionsb
 El SalvadorLegal since 1822NoNoNoSince 1974Since 2010 a decree bans anti SGM discrimination in public serviceNo
 GuatemalaLegal since 1871NoNoNoNAIn 1997 Code on Childhood & Youth bans discrimination based on sexual orientation against minorsSince 2016 TG can change legal name after judicial procedures, but not their legal gender
 HondurasLegal since 1899NoNo (Constitutional ban since 2005)NoNoSince 2008 bans all anti SGM discriminationNo
 MexicoLegal since 1872Since 2010 in all states and Mexico citySince 2009 in Mexico city.
Currently legal in Mexico city and 18/31 states
Since 2010 in Mexico city. Currently legal in 16/31 states and Mexico CityNASince 2003 bans all anti SGM discrimination (Federal Law to Prevent & Eliminate Discrimination)
In 2013 Supreme Court ruled against hate speech towards SGM
TG can change legal name and gender in 6/31 states and Mexico City (2014) without conditionsb
Mexican Supreme Court of Justice ruled that the right to self-determination of gender identity is a fundamental human right in 2019
 NicaraguaLegal since 2008No (Constitutional ban since 2015)No (Constitutional ban since 2015)No (Constitutional ban since 2015)NA2008 – Labor rights & anti-discriminationNo
 PanamaLegal since 2008NoNoNoThe country has no military2002 – Anti-discrimination in public buildings/servicesSince 2006 TG can change legal name and gender, but only after gender-affirming surgery.
Since 2016 TG can change name without gender affirming surgery, but not gender.
South America
 ArgentinaLegal since 1887Since 2008Since 2010Since 2010Since 2009Since 1988 overall anti-discrimination law.
No specific and national anti SGM discrimination
Since 2012 TG persons can change their name and gender without conditionsb
 BoliviaLegal since 1832No (Constitutional ban since 2009)No (Constitutional ban since 2009)No (Constitutional ban since 2009)Since 2015Since 2010 bans anti SGM discrimination (≈Law Anti-Racism)Since 2016 TG persons can change their name and gender without conditionsb
 BrazilLegal since 1831Since 2011Since 2013Since 2010Since 2015Since 1999 - Ban ‘conversion therapy’
Since 2013 SGM Health Policy
Since 2019 bans anti SGM discrimination (≈Law Anti-Racism)
Since 2018 TG persons can change their name and gender without conditionsb
 ChileLegal since 1999Since 2015NoNoSince 2012Since 2012 bans all anti SGM discriminationSince 1974 TG can change legal name/gender.
Since 2019 TG persons can change their name and gender without conditionsb
 ColombiaLegal since 1981Since 2007Since 2016Since 2015Since 1999Since 2011Since 2015 TG persons can change their name and gender without conditionsb
 EcuadorLegal since 1997Since 2009Since 2019No (Constitutional ban since 2009)NASince 1998 Constitutional ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation
Since 2008 bans all anti SGM discrimination
Since 2014 - ban ‘conversion therapy’
Since 2016 TG persons can change their name and gender without conditionsb
The government includes a permanent marker on documents to identify gender changes
 GuyanaIllegal (male only, max penalty life prison)NoNoNoSince 2012NoNo
 ParaguayLegal since 1880No (Constitutional ban since 1992)No (Constitutional ban since 1992)NoSince 2010NoNo
 PeruLegal since 1836–1837NoNoNoSince 2009Since 2017 a decree bans all anti SGM discriminationSince 2016 transgender persons can change their name and gender without gender-affirming surgeries. Judicial procedures required
 SurinameLegal since 1869NoNoNoNoSince 2015No
 UruguayLegal since 1934Since 2007Since 2013Since 2009Since 2009Since 2004 bans all anti SGM discrimination
Since 2017 - ban ‘conversion therapy’
Since 2009 transgender persons can change their name and gender without gender-affirming surgeries.
Since 2018 without judicial procedures.
 VenezuelaLegal since 1800sNoNoNoNo2008 - Supreme Court reinforces non-discrimination related to sexual orientationNo
  1. aIn Jamaica female same-sex encounters are not explicitly outlawed
  2. bWithout conditions: Name and gender change in official documents are allowed without the requirement of total or partial gender-affirming surgery, hormone therapies, medical/psychological treatment or evaluations. No legal or judicial procedures are required