Unlike the situation in many Caribbean countries, homosexuality is not illegal in Suriname, and violence against gay people is rare. But unlike a growing number of South American countries, it is not possible for gays in Suriname to marry or register as a couple, with all the legal benefits (such as not getting banned from hospital visits and funerals of partners, being able to utilize partners social security and pension benefits).
It is possible to live as an openly gay person in Suriname, but in many Surinamese communities the topic is still a taboo. That puts high barriers on coming out for some Surinamese.
The Surinamese political elite seems reluctant to debate changing the status quo. Parea Suriname has started the Workplace Pride project, where we work with private sector companies to get them to sign the “Declaration of Paramaribo”, in which they commit to working towards having gender neutral HR policies and eraadicating discrimination from their environments.
The Surinamese Constitution does not explicitly protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. There is a general article which prohibits discrimination however, and the recent government administrations have taken the position that LGBT can considered themselves protected by this article.
Members of the Police Corps of Suriname (KPS) have participated in seminars on recognizing violence against gay people, organized by the LGBT Platform Suriname. On the other hand police violence against LGBT sometimes occurs: in 2014 a Guyanese transsexual sex worker accused policemen of torture during detention.
Since 2010, every year in October, a Coming Out Week takes place in Suriname (October 11th is International Coming Out Day), with social and cultural activities. As part of the Coming Out Week a Pride March is held in the center of Paramaribo. From 2017, the Coming Out Week has grown to a Pride Month, where in the month October, activities are organized, concentrated in the weekends, with the Pride Parade on the last Saturday of October.
Paramaribo no longer has a gay bar, but every Friday there is a gay night in the Bardancing Airport at the Onyxstreet 17.