LGBT rights in Cape Verde

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LGBT rights in Cape Verde Cape Verde
Same-sex sexual intercourse legal status Legal since 2004, with an equal age consent[1]
Military service Unknown
Discrimination protections Yes, employment protections

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Cape Verde, but same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples.

Cape Verde, along with other former Portuguese colonies, is one of the most LGBT-friendly African nations. The country's first LGBT event was held in June 2013 in the city of Mindelo.[2] Due to its close relationship to Portugal and Brazil, Cape Verde has occasionally been described as the most tolerant nation in Africa with regards to LGBT people, though there are still reports of societal discrimination.[3]

Laws regarding same-sex sexual acts

In the 1886 Penal Code, Article 71 stated that unnatural acts were illegal.[1] In 2004, Cape Verde amended its Penal Code to remove all provisions relating to consensual homosexual sex. At the time of decriminalization, the legal age of consent was 16 years old, the same age for consensual heterosexual acts.[4] As of 2015, the age of consent in Cape Verde is 14.[5]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Cape Verde does not recognize same-sex unions. On 11 July 2017, Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva stated that the legalization of same-sex marriage was not on the Government's agenda.[6]

Discrimination protections

Discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace has been banned by articles 45(2) and 406(3) of the Labour Code since 2008.[1] This makes Cape Verde one of the only African countries to have such protections for LGBT people, and the only one not in Southern Africa.

Gender identity and expression

The most popular transgender person and activist in Cape Verde is Tchinda Andrade, who came out as transgender in a local newspaper in 1998. She has been described by CNN as the "mother hen" of the local transgender community, and transgender people in Cape Verde are often referred to as "tchindas" by locals. Tchindas, a 2015 documentary which follows Andrade's preparations for the São Vicente Carnival, won multiple awards including the Grand Jury Award at Outfest and was nominated for an Africa Movie Academy Award.[3]

Living conditions

In line with other former Portuguese African colonies, Cape Verde is reported to be one of the most tolerant countries in Africa towards gays and lesbians.[7]

The U.S. Department of State's 2010 Human Rights Report found that "legal provisions helped provide protection for homosexual conduct; however, societal discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity continued to be a problem. There were no lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender persons' organizations active in the country."[8]

By 2013, however, the Associação Gay de Cabo Verde (Cape Verdean Gay Association) had been established. The group organised the first pride parade in Cape Verde in June 2013, held in Mindelo, the second largest city in the country.[2] Three years later, the first pride parade in the capital city of Praia took place.

Since then, other groups have begun working on LGBT rights, including the Associação LGBTI de Praia and the Associação Arco Iris, as well as the Cape Verdean Institute for Gender Equality and Equity (ICIEG). In 2018, the Praia Pride parade was organised with the help of the ICIEG and the Praia Government.[9] Participants called for the legalisation of same-sex marriage and the enactment of anti-discrimination legislation.

São Vicente is known for being very welcoming to the LGBT community.[3]

United Nations

In 2008, Cape Verde was one of 66 countries that signed a United Nations General Assembly document stating that human rights are not limited based on sexual orientations or gender identities.[10] In 2011, it signed a second document condemned violence and discrimination against LGBT people, joining 95 other countries, including 9 other African countries (South Africa, Gabon, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, the Seychelles, Mauritius, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea Bissau and Rwanda).

Public opinion

A 2016 Afrobarometer opinion poll found that 74% of Cape Verdeans would welcome or would not be bothered by having a homosexual neighbour. Cape Verde was one of the only four countries polled with a majority in favour (the others being South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique).[11]

Summary table

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 2004)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 2004)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (Since 2008)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriage No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender Emblem-question.svg
Access to IVF for lesbians Emblem-question.svg
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples Emblem-question.svg
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also


  1. ^ a b c Itaborahy, L.P.; Jingshu, Zhu. "State-Sponored Homophobia: A world survey of laws: Criminalisation, protection and recognition of same-sex love" (PDF). ILGA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Tchinda Andrade: Cape Verde's transgender hero, CNN, 7 July 2016
  4. ^ Epprecht, Marc (April 2012). "Sexual minorities, human rights and public health strategies in Africa". African Affairs. 111 (443): 223–243. doi:10.1093/afraf/ads019.
  5. ^ "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  6. ^ PM de Cabo Verde diz que casamento homossexual não está na agenda política do Governo
  7. ^ Stewart, Colin. "Africa's most and least homophobic countries". Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  8. ^ "2010 Human Rights Report: Cape Verde". Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  9. ^ Cape Verde: The LGBTI Pride week in Praia, Cabo Verde
  10. ^ "UN: General Assembly Statement Affirms Rights for All". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  11. ^ Africa’s most and least homophobic countries
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