U.S. notes Guyana’s ‘soft tone’ on gay rights

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The United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch Lynch commended the Government of Guyana for their “soft tone towards LGBT people” by allowing the first Gay Pride Parade in 2018 and its acknowledgement of the recent ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice, which struck off an archaic dress code from the laws.

The American Ambassador made the remarks at a reception held at the Pegasus Hotel Wednesday evening in observance of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

It is an annual observance on May 17 that aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide.

The reception saw in attendance representatives from both the Government and the Opposition along with civil society and LGBT allies.

Ambassador Lynch in her keynote address said she was delighted to see the strong showing by representatives of the Government, the private sector and civil society.

Police Commissioner Leslie James (in yellow shirt) with Mayor of Georgetown Ubraj Narine (first from right) along with other attendees at the reception Wednesday in observance of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia [Photo: Joseph Allen for SASOD]
She added that while matters relating to LGBT rights are a sensitive topic, “Gay rights are human rights.”

“If we as a society are committed to ensuring that all people are respected and treated equally, then it is imperative to remember that this includes the LGBT community as well.

“LGBT Individuals, as well as other marginalized people, are entitled to the full measure of dignity and rights, not because they belong to a distinct group, but because they are people,” the American Ambassador stated.

US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch and Managing Director of Intellect Storm Rowen Willabus (right). [Photo: Joseph Allen for SASOD]
Meanwhile, Joel Simpson, Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) spoke of some of the strides the organization has made over the last year and what is to come.

“SASOD has completed several gender and sexuality trainings and workshops with over 140 police officials this is geared toward the eradication of discrimination and stigma within our justice sector.

“Justice in this regard is particularly important as the Guyanese LGBT movement is actively working towards the amending of the Prevention of Discrimination Act 1997 to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as its top legislative priority,” Simpson stated.

Just this past week human rights groups were calling on the Government of Guyana to fulfil obligations made to United Nations human rights bodies.

With the dates fast approaching for Guyana’s record to be reviewed on its efforts to end discrimination against women and LGBT persons, some of the recommendations coming out of the previous reports are yet to be implemented or even considered for implementation.

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