Monday, May 17, 2021

SASOD Guyana Announces Second Virtual Pride on IDAHOTB 2021


May 17, 2021

SASOD Guyana Announces Second Virtual Pride on IDAHOTB 2021

SASOD Guyana joins civil society and state actors around the world in observance of  the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), under the theme: “Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing!” As the world continues to grapple  with COVID-19, now more than ever the need for solidarity is  a matter of life and death. We all must do our part to ensure the survival of the most vulnerable groups among us.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in  Guyana in March 2021, SASOD Guyana recognized that this global health crisis could  have had a disproportionate impact on sexual and gender minorities. Alongside the University of the West Indies and other partners in the Eastern Caribbean, SASOD Guyana therefore conducted a study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among LGBT people. The June 2020 survey found, unsurprisingly, that over 70% of participants  had lost their job or experienced reduced working hours due to COVID-19 pandemic and national containment measures; most of these persons reported having had very little savings. The analysis also revealed moderate levels of psychological distress among the target population. Most participants  were unable to meet their basic nutritional needs  and are in need of supporting services to cope with the emotional distress brought on by the pandemic.

 As the response against this global health crisis  wages on, SASOD Guyana reiterates its previous calls to the Government of Guyana to provide tangible support to LGBTQ+ persons and other vulnerable groups across  the country.

As in most other parts of the world, there are no public gatherings for IDAHOTB and Pride celebrations this year. SASOD Guyana is therefore pleased to launch its second 592 Virtual Pride 2021, under the theme: #LiveOutProud. The one-week online festival will commence on June 7, marking SASOD Guyana’s 18th anniversary, and run until June 13. LGBTQ+ persons and allies alike can look forward to the Live Launch on June 7, Pride Yoga on June 8, Queer Film Night on June 9, "Global Guyanese Gaffing" on June 10, Pride Games Night on June 11, Caribbean Inferno Pride Party on June 12 and a final Pride Inter-Faith Forum on June 13, which brings the curtains down on  the week of virtual activities. Persons can follow SASOD Guyana on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more details on the upcoming 592 Virtual Pride celebrations.  

Friday, March 26, 2021

SASOD Guyana Mourns the Loss of Former Trustee and Co-Chair, Namela Henry

 

The Board of Directors, Management, Team, Members and Volunteers of SASOD Guyana are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of early member and former Trustee, Namela Henry. Namela joined SASOD not long after its formation in 2003. Affectionately called “Aunt Nams” by the young people in SASOD, Namela was always a proud and vocal ally, demanding that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people be treated equally to their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts. Given her passion, empathy and activism for LGBTQ+ human rights, Namela joined the SASOD Board of Trustees in 2009 and served as a Trustee, and later as Co-Chairperson, until 2014.

 

Namela participated actively in the projects and work of SASOD Guyana. One of her many invaluable and tangible contributions which live on today is her role as a community researcher in the “Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights” Project led by York University in Canada. Namela diligently applied her skills in communications and journalism to document the experiences of violence and discrimination against LGBT people in Guyana. As part of the project, she also produced short documentary videos in 2014 which SASOD Guyana still uses today in its awareness and education efforts.

She also co-authored a chapter with Pere DeRoy titled “Violence and LGBT Human Rights in Guyana” in the project book, “Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights: (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope” published by the University of London Press, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, in 2018. Namela was empathetic and always willing to lend a helping hand to support the LGBTQ+ movement. Before resources became available for office space, Namela opened her home in Charlotte Street as a venue to host Board meetings and gatherings for members of SASOD. In fact, when Namela joined the Board of Trustees in 2009, it was her home address that was registered as SASOD’s official address. Her contributions to SASOD are too numerous to mention all.

Namela was also active in many other civil society groups, including the HIV-focused Comforting Hearts group in Berbice where she was an early member. Namela later went on to found Rainbow House – a now defunct organization which provided short-term housing for homeless LGBTQ+ youth while its benefactor resided in Guyana between 2015 and 2017. Her selfless efforts have saved many lives.

SASOD Guyana extends sincere condolences to the family and friends of Namela Henry in this time of bereavement.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Photo-Release: SASOD Guyana Discusses Recent Research with Health Minister

 

On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, SASOD Guyana’s Managing Director Joel Simpson (centre) met with and discussed the findings and recommendations of two recent research reports published by his organization to the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, M.P. The reports are titled “Desires for Care and Access to Services among Transgender Persons in Guyana (March 2020) and “Qualitative Assessment of HIV Services for Key Populations in Guyana during the COVID-19 Pandemic (January 2021). 


Simpson was accompanied by SASOD Guyana’s Human Rights Coordinator, Kobe Smith (second from right) and Community Representative on the Guyana Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism, Christopher France (right). Programme Manager of the National AIDS Programme Secretariat, Dr. Tariq Jagnarine (left) also participated in the meeting at the Minister’s Secretariat.

 

Photo Credit: Aubrey Odle for Ministry of Health

 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Sex-Positive Youth Groups Call on New Government to Improve Sexual Health

 

World Sexual Health Day, observed on September 4 annually, provides the opportunity to galvanize action for the promotion of sexual health for all, irrespective of age, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, health status, national origin or any other human characteristics.

The reality, though, is that every day should be Sexual Health Day. Every day, people are faced with the issues of early sexual debut, unsafe sex practices, the contraction of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and the lack of access to sexual health information and services. Young women, girls, youth, sex workers and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer (LGBTQ+) people are most affected. 

According to “The Situation Analysis of Adolescent Pregnancy in Guyana” Report (UNICEF, 2018), Guyana recorded the second highest rate of adolescent pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 19 to 22% of girls becoming pregnant before the age of 18.

In 2014 alone, UNICEF found that 15% of adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 began childbearing and that 62% of adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 have an unmet contraception need. Additionally, Guyana has noticed an increase in HIV and other STIs among the youth demographic.

Further to this, discrimination, stigma, fear, and violence prevent many people from accessing basic sexual health services.

The Government must do more to realize our legal right to the highest attainable standard of health. Article 24 of the Constitution of Guyana provides that every citizen has the right to free medical attention.

Let us be clear: Guyana must do more for vulnerable groups and their sexual health. And therefore, ASPIRE Youth Network - Guyana, Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association’s Youth Advocacy Movement, SASOD Guyana and SRHR Adventures call on the new PPP/C Government to:

·        Invest in training for healthcare workers to deliver confidential, youth-friendly, and non-discriminatory services;

·        Invest in mobile clinics and tele-medicine to deliver sexual health services and care during the COVID-19 pandemic;

·        Provide PrEP for those at substantial risk of HIV infection in accordance with WHO guidelines;

·        Promote sexual health information on all media platforms;

·        Conduct age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education in schools; and

·        Support civil society organisations as partners in addressing sexual health issues in Guyana.

Because sexual health matters; today and always.

ASPIRE Youth Network – Guyana            

Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association’s Youth Advocacy Movement

SASOD Guyana

SRHR Adventurers

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Call to Action to the New PPP/C Government on Priority Issues for the First Year in Office on International Youth Day

 

International Youth Day (IYD) provides the opportunity to recognize the power of all youth, including those often left behind with unmet needs. The theme for IYD 2020 as prescribed by the United Nations, “Youth Engagement for Global Action,” highlights the importance of placing young people at the center of social justice and advocacy, especially when human rights and dignity of people are threatened and restricted.

For over 17 years, SASOD Guyana has been defending and promoting the rights of vulnerable groups in Guyana, including LGBTQ+ persons and marginalized youth who are subject to discrimination, violence, and persecution, for simply being who they are.

Together with local and regional partners, SASOD Guyana fought tirelessly to bring an end to the archaic law against cross-dressing, which was struck down by the Caribbean Court of Justice, almost 2 years ago. We have trained hundreds of police officers on issues related to gender and sexuality, and how to interact with LGBTQ+ youth. Notably, SASOD Guyana continuously documents abuses and offers pro-bono legal services to young women, girls, marginalized youth, and LGBTQ+ persons, as they seek to pursue justice against violators of their human rights. But we all must do more for, with and by them.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation of poverty, unemployment, and violence faced by youth further inhibits their potential to lead healthy and promising lives.

While the recently installed PPP/C Government has included some young people in its Cabinet, its sincerity to addressing issues affecting youth will be measured by its actions.

In the spirit of IYD 2020, SASOD Guyana calls on the new PPP/C Government to implement these top 5 actions for marginalized youth in its first year in office:

1.      Repeal sections 351 to 353 of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act which criminalize same-sex intimacy between consenting, adult men in private.

2.     Include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Prevention of Discrimination Act (Section 4).

3.     Introduce Comprehensive Sexuality Education all schools in Guyana to provide young people with the tools they need to make more informed decisions to either delay their sexual debut or prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, if they choose to be sexually active. Comprehensive sexuality education would also inform students about diverse sexualities and genders, and reduce targeted bullying of LGBTQ+ students in Guyana’s public schools.

4.     Provide access to housing for LGBTQ+ people, especially children, who have been temporarily displaced or rendered homeless due to bias violence.

5.     Provide comprehensive and accessible entrepreneurial training programmes for vulnerable groups, especially LGBTQ+ youth, and make capital accessible to start up small businesses through grants and low-interest lending schemes.

SASOD Guyana asserts that these top 5 actions, coupled with supportive programmes, will move the needle for marginalized youth and advance equality for all young people.

 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

STATEMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF MEXICO ON THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE CONAPRED





June 22, 2020

The Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean working within the framework of the OAS, made up of the undersigned organizations, reject the statements made by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (CONAPRED).
The National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination CONAPRED, is the leading institution for promoting policies and measures to contribute to cultural and social development, to advance social inclusion and to guarantee the right to equality, which is the first of the fundamental rights in the Mexican Federal Constitution.
CONAPRED has been a key institution for the advancement and guarantee of the human rights of the most vulnerable populations, including LGBTTTI populations. From this Coalition we have seen its work on different occasions such as:
·    During the 47th General Assembly of the OAS held in Cancun, Quintana Roo, in 2017, ensuring a space free of discrimination for organized civil society.
·    With the preparation of the Survey on  Discrimination  on the Grounds  of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity ENDOSIG 2018.
·    By promoting the signing and ratification of the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance in 2019 and 2020.
Requesting the resignation of its head and affirming the possible disappearance of this institution are actions that represent a very serious setback to the advancement of our rights and it is for this reason that from this Coalition we pronounce ourselves against it and make a strong call to stop the attacks against it, to reinforce its valuable and necessary mission and, above all, to strengthen its work with a greater budgetary allocation.
The National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination deals with around six thousand complaints a year from people who believe they have been discriminated against, promotes dialogue between different sectors of our society, both nationally and internationally, and has been key in generating reliable information that has provided accurate data on discrimination in Mexico.
With a clear agenda and tangible results, despite a small budget and limited staff, CONAPRED, today more than ever, needs to strengthen its independence and capacity for action. We reiterate our commitment to this institution and request that its importance be reassessed.
To disregard the work of the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (CONAPRED) is to disregard the fight for the advancement of human rights and the work of organized civil society, which in 2003 led to the issuance of the Federal Law for the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination, which gave rise to this Council.


The  following  organizations  signed  on  as  part  of  the  LGBTTTI  Coalition of Latin American and Caribbean organizations working within the framework of the OAS:

 1.  Argentina AKAHATÁ Equipo de Trabajo en Sexualidades y Género
2.  Argentina ATTTA (RedLACTrans)
3.  Belize TIA Belize (RedLACTrans)
4.  Belize United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM)
5.  Bolivia Red Nacional de Mujeres Trans en Bolivia (REDTREBOL) (RedLACTrans)
6.  Bolivia Fundación Diversencia
7.  Brasil Articulação Política das Juventudes Negras
8.  Brasil Grupo Ativista de Travestis, Transexuais e Amig@s (GATTA)
9.  Brasil Grupo Esperança
10. Brasil Liga Brasileira de Lesbicas (LBL)
   11.  Brasil Rede Nacional de Negr@s e Afros LGBTTT (Rede‐Afros‐LGBTTT)
   12.  Canada*  *The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network Canada (*Associate Member*)
   13.  Chile Asociación OTD Organizando Trans Diversidades
   14.  Chile Corporación Chilena de Personas Trans Amanda Jofré (RedLACTrans)
   15.  Colombia Asociación Lideres en Acción
   16.  Colombia Caribe Afirmativo
   17.  Colombia Colombia Diversa
   18.  Colombia Fundación Santamaría
   19.  Colombia Red Comunitaria Trans (RedLACTrans)
20.  Costa Rica Mulabi Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos
21.  Costa Rica TRANSVIDA (RedLACTrans)
22.  Costa Rica Asociación Ciudadana Acceder
23.  Dominica Dominica Chapter of the Caribbean HIV and AIDS Partnership (DomCHAP)
24.  Ecuador Asociación Alfil (RedLACTrans)
25.  Ecuador Taller de Comunicación Mujer
26.  El Salvador Asociación Aspidh Arcoiris (RedLACTrans)
27.  Grenada Grenada Chapter of the Caribbean HIV and AIDS Partnership (GrenCHAP)
28.  Guatemala Organización Trans Reinas de la Noche (OTRANS) (RedLACTrans)
29.  Guyana Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD)
30.  Honduras Asociación para una Vida Mejor (APUVIMEH)
31.  Honduras Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa (RedLACTrans)
32.  Jamaica  Equality for All Foundation (J‐FLAG)
33.  México Letra S SIDA, Cultura y Vida Cotidiana
34.  México Red Mexicana de Mujeres Trans (RedLACTrans)
35.  México Fundación Arcoíris por el Respeto a la Diversidad Sexual A.C.
36.  México Las Reinas Chulas, Cabaret y Derechos Humanos, A.C
37.  Nicaragua Red Nicaragüense de Activistas Trans (REDTRANS)
38.  Nicaragua ODETRANS (RedLACTrans)
39.  Panamá Asociación Panameña de Personas Trans (RedLACTrans)
40.  Panamá Fundación Iguales
41.  Paraguay Aireana Grupo por los Derechos de las Lesbianas
42.  Paraguay Asociación Panambi (RedLACTrans)
43.  Paraguay Asociación Escalando
44.  Perú Centro de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos (PROMSEX)
45.  Perú Instituto Runa de Desarrollo y Estudios sobre Género
46.  Perú Trans Organización Feminista por los Derechos Humanos (RedLACTrans)
47.  Regional Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CARIFLAGS)
48.  Regional Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Personas Trans (REDLACTRANS)
49.  Red de Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinoamérica y el Caribe (RedTraSex) 
50.  Regional Synergía Iniciativas por los Derechos Humanos
51.  República Dominicana Comunidad de Trans Travesti y Trabajadoras Sexuales Dominicana COTRAVETD (RedLACTrans)
52.  República Dominicana Diversidad Dominicana
53.  St. Lucia United & Strong Inc.
54.  Sub-Regional Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE)
55.  Suriname Women's Way
56.  The Bahamas The D’ Marco Organization (RedLACTrans)
57.  Trinidad and Tobago CAISO
58.  Uruguay Asociación Trans del Uruguay (ATRU)
59.  Uruguay Colectivo Ovejas Negras
60.  Venezuela Venezuela Diversa Asociación Civil
61.  Venezuela Diversidad e Igualdad a Través de la Ley (DIVERLEX)