Western diplomats encourage Guyana to decriminalise intimate same sex relations
- as Int’l Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia observed
While some strides have been made locally and internationally in reducing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex (LGBTQI+) people, the representatives of the ABCEU countries are encouraging Guyana to decriminalise intimate same sex relations.
This was advanced in the statement issued by Ambassador of the United States of America, Sarah-Ann Lynch; the acting British High Commissioner, Ross Denny; the Canadian High Commissioner, Mark Berman, and the Ambassador of the European Union, Fernando Ponz Canto for the observance of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
This day is observed annually on May 17, commemorating the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
“We are proud to see that countries in the hemisphere have taken concrete steps toward the elimination of discrimination against LGBTQI+) persons in the past year,” the statement from the Western Diplomats stated.
While acknowledging that education, awareness-raising and dialogue have helped to address stereotypes and prejudice against LGBTQI+ people, the diplomats encouraged Guyana to join with its regional partners to continue these efforts. These efforts are particularly important since, the statement highlighted, LGBTQI+ people still face serious challenges in their everyday life.
According to the statement, with 69 countries still criminalising same sex relations, millions of lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people live in fear of being who they are and showing whom they love.
Moreover, it was noted that transgender people are subjected to punishments in at least 37 countries and experience unprecedented levels of violence across the globe.
“We encourage Guyana’s civil society and political leaders to embark on a process of engagement and change in 2021 with the aim of decriminalizing intimate same sex relations,” the Diplomats said in the statement.
They, however, added: “We understand and respect that countries are at different stages of acceptance and engagement on this issue. Nevertheless, human rights of all persons are universal and indivisible, and these include the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons.”
They posited that on this international observation, all people can come together and continue dialogue efforts and collaboration with partner states and civil society organisations with the aim of ending discrimination and violence against the vulnerable LGBTQI+ population.
The Diplomats added, “On this day, let’s raise our voices and recommit our efforts to put human dignity at the heart of all that we do to build more just and more inclusive societies.”
This year, the theme for the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is: “Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!”, and it celebrates the power of communities to promote social cohesion.