Updated: Jul 23, 2020
The Buggery Law is an important safeguard that must be retained. True freedom must not be sacrificed on the altar of leftist-humanism and pseudo-rights activism.
I have been observing the debate that has erupted in the public domain over a legal challenge to the Buggery Law of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider issues to which it relates. Without referencing any specific matter that may be engaging the attention of the Courts, I would like to make a contribution to the discourse.
Firstly, I am a Christian and I have strong convictions that are informed by a Biblical worldview. I am mindful, however, that ours is a secular state and that laws governing this nation are not subject to an individual’s religious interpretation. I would also agree that the subject being considered has significant reach beyond one’s religious position. So my conversation today would be from a broader perspective.
Most of the western world have adopted, what is referred to as, inclusive legislation. Countries which have not, are said to be backward and homophobic (now heterosexism). International bodies and funding agencies pressure governments to become compliant with “non-discriminatory” legislation. In Trinidad and Tobago, however, buggery remains illegal.
In the Sexual Offences Act Section 13 (2) “‘buggery’ means sexual intercourse per anum by a male person with a male person or by a male person with a female person.” Indeed, men having sex with men is illegal in Trinidad and Tobago, but so too is anal sex with a woman. This law, therefore, cannot be deemed discriminatory! There is equality before the Law—a fundamental human right, as enshrined in our Constitution.
The Buggery Law is an important safeguard that must be retained. With the advancement of an extreme hedonistic sexual culture, we need laws of this nature. Women in heterosexual relationships can benefit from this provision, if they feel violated by a man in this regard. During a consensual sexual encounter, if a man proceeds to engage in anal sex against the woman’s will, this provision in the Act gives her legal recourse. The man’s heinous action may not qualify as rape, since she consented to sex. But she was buggered in the process, and there is a severe penalty for that offence.
Homosexuality and HIV/AIDS
We must also consider the health implications of buggery. HIV/AIDS has been a significant treat within our society for well over 30 years. I am reminded of the historical link between homosexuality and HIV/AIDS. This pandemic has its genesis in the gay community—a fact that seems to be forgotten today. Heterosexual transmissions resulted initially through bisexuals.
According to a UNAIDS 2016 report, an estimated 31.6% of men who have sex with men, in Trinidad and Tobago, are living with HIV. This is frightening! With the closet tightly shut, there is a bit of discretion within this community. If legislation allows the door to be flung wide open, can you imagine the devastating effects this would have on our society? More liberal laws in relation to men having sex with men would most likely result in increased prevalence and openness, leading to a possible spike in HIV/AIDS transmissions.
In August 2010 the International Journal of Epidemiology published an article entitled, “HIV transmission risk through anal intercourse: systematic review, meta-analysis and implications for HIV prevention”. In this extensive research, it was found that the risk of HIV transmission was substantially higher in anal sex than in vaginal intercourse. The study looked at unprotected anal intercourse with men who have sex with men, as well as anal intercourse in a heterosexual context. The transmission rate in both scenarios were significantly high, as compared to the HIV transmission rate in vaginal intercourse.
Penetrative anal sex has a much higher risk of spreading sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than many other types of sexual activity. This is because the lining of the anus is thin and can easily be damaged, which makes it more vulnerable to infection. Buggery, therefore, makes an individual more susceptible to STIs such as chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and syphilis, as well as HIV. This is true in both homosexual and heterosexual relations. Without prejudice, our Buggery Law is quite relevant in this regard.
The Purpose of Laws
Laws exist to provide for an orderly society and peaceful coexistence, to preserve our fundamental human rights and to protect our people from harm. The Buggery Law that forms part of the Sexual Offences Act, does not in any way contravene these principles. This particular legislation provides significant safeguards for both male and female in our society. While it may disrupt the open acceptance and prevalence of one specific sexual act—buggery, its retention is clearly unbiased and can stymied the growth and advancement of many other societal ills, as outlined above. In fact, any attempt to repeal it can be injurious to our society. We are obligated to peacefully resist any effort to alter this law.
Our Constitution proclaims that we, the people, “have affirmed that the Nation of Trinidad and Tobago is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator”. It would, therefore, be remiss of us, to take God out of our thoughts, when considering the way forward for this country. We cannot allow T&T to degenerate further into a state of moral decadence, declining social conscience and a severely depleted consciousness of God. It is incumbent on us to truly acknowledge and “recognise that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law”. True freedom, therefore, must not be sacrificed on the altar of leftist-humanism and pseudo-rights activism.
May Almighty God bless our Nation.
Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, Sexual Offences Act. http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/alphabetical_list/lawspdfs/11.28.pdf
NHS Choices, Common health questions / Does anal sex have any health risks? https://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/3050.aspx?CategoryID=118
International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 39, Issue 4, 1 August 2010, Pages 1048–1063, https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyq057
UNAIDS AIDS info. HIV prevalence in men who have sex with men http://aidsinfo.unaids.org/#
The Laws of Trinidad and Tobago, The Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. http://rgd.legalaffairs.gov.tt/laws2/Constitution.pdf