June Pride Festival to push for tolerance, LGBTQ Coalition urges lawmakers to ‘do their part’


Anticipated to be incident free, the Guyana LGBTQ Coalition and the British High Commission on Wednesday launched the Guyana Pride Festival which kicks off on June 01, 2023.

This year’s festival, which is being observed under the theme “Decriminalise Sex Guyana!”, runs until June 11 with daily events including the highly anticipated Pride Parade, Drag Fest and Pride Symposium.

At a simple launch at her Bel Air, Georgetown residence, British High Commissioner Jane Miller pledged her country’s continued support towards work that will encourage tolerance, non-discrimination and changes in policies, guidelines and legislation.

Her support extends to the fight against misinformation, violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

“The UK seeks to find a world where everyone is free to play a full, active and equal parts in society without fear, discrimination or stigma regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, their expression or their sex characteristics.

“In our view everyone should be free to love who to love and express themselves without fear, discrimination or violence,” she said.

“Pride events matter. It’s the time to celebrate that diversity. It’s a time to recognize that discrimination damages society and hold back economies. It’s a time to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community,” Miller added.

British High Commissioner, Jane Miller (right) and SASOD Managing Director of SASOD, Joel Simpson at the launch of Guyana Pride Festival 2023 on Wednesday. (Photo: News Room/ May 17, 2023)

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) Joel Simpson called on the relevant authorities to do their part in repealing laws that seeks to criminalise same sex intimacy.

“It’s really now time for the lawmakers, for the government to act. To stop all the fancy rhetoric… and actually do something meaningful in the National Assembly,” he said.

According to Simpson, with the exception of two events, all activities will be held in person this year. He said in light of the rainy season, effort have been made to ensure majority of the events are held indoors.

It is also anticipated that all activities will be incident free.

“The festival feature several events typically in June annually where LGBTIQ people and their alias supporters participate in visibility, campaigning and entertainment activities to raise awareness to the struggles and resilience of LGBTIQ people in Guyana and the Caribbean region generally,” Simpson shared.

Over the years, Simpson said Pride has been a major contributor to improving social attitudes and tolerance.

“The activities themselves are a celebration of that kind of resilience that people have had to combat discrimination in their daily lives,” he said.

The calendar of events and details of all activities for the Guyana Pride Festival 2023 will be available on the social media pages of the members of the Guyana LGBTQ Coalition- Guyana Rainbow Foundation (GuyBow), Guyana Trans United (GTU) and SASOD Guyana.

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