Saturday, June 27, 2015

SASOD Closes LGBT Pride Month with Fundraising Cabaret Show

The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) is bringing the curtains down on the celebrations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Month in Guyana with its Spectrum Cabaret Night this evening, Saturday, June 27 at the Dutch Bottle Café at 10 North Road, Bourda (between Light and Cummings Streets) in Georgetown, Guyana.
The two-hour stage show will start at 19:00 hrs and is expected to be an edgy, sensational and provocative event. A number of talented Guyanese singers, poets, dancers, designers and musicians are slated to entice the audience with their spectacular performances. These include Gavin Mendonca, LLoyda Nicholas, Keimo Benjamin, Travis Bowen, Royston Glasgow, Elsie Harry-Ross, Ryan Berkeley, Dominic Alleyne, Raphael Marcus and other talented Guyanese entertainers. 
 Destra Saul and Raphael Marcus, two of the talented Guyanese youth slated to perform this evening
Tickets cost $1,000 in advance and are available at That Look Boutique, 235 South Road, Oasis Café, 125 Carmichael Street, and SASOD’s office, 169 Charlotte Street. Admission costs $1,500 at the door. Special cabaret-themed cocktails and mocktails will also be on sale.  All proceeds go directly to SASOD’s LGBT Community Centre Fund. Free, onsite HIV counseling and testing, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Advancing Partnerships and Communities (APC) Project, will also be available to all attendees.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Painting the Spectrum 11 Closes with Films from Uganda, Mexico and Guyana


The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) will bring the curtains down on its eleventh lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) film festival, “Painting the Spectrum 11,” next week with three poignant films exploring homophobia, sexuality diversity and resistance  in the developing world.

The final week begins with a documentary based in Uganda which explores the dangers of imported homophobia.  On Tuesday, June 23, the international award-winning documentary “Call Me Kuchu,” which was donated by the High Commission of Canada to Guyana,  will be screened. In Uganda, the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. The late David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay man, and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo work against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia while combating vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world.

On the final night, Thursday, June 25, “Painting the

Spectrum 11” will feature two films. The first, “Muxes: Authentic, Intrepid Danger-Seekers,” provided by the Embassy of Mexico in Guyana, is a documentary examining sexuality diversity set in Mexico. The documentary is the living and surprising portrait of a gay men’s group who defend their sexual diversity while preserving their indigenous Zapoteca identity in the “gay paradise” of Juchitan, Mexico. Muxes examines the pressures on the borders within the indigenous culture which has historically embraced this “third gender.”  Muxes from Juchitan feel proud of their identity, enjoy their lives, laugh on themselves and on heterosexual society, and freely accept their own weaknesses. They call themselves “authentic, intrepid danger-seekers” and they have united to advance beyond convention.

Following Muxes, there will be the premiere of “Painting the Spectrum: A Commemorative Documentary” about the only annual LGBT Film Festival in the English-speaking Caribbean. Festival organisers from SASOD and attendees share what the LGBT film festival ‘Painting the Spectrum’ means to them, LGBT people, and the Guyanese population as a whole.

As customary, the final night of screen ends with the traditional ‘painting the spectrum’ where attendees are invited to paint a huge, cloth banner with their personal messages and signs of love, acceptance, support and solidarity for LGBT Guyanese.

Showtime is 6 pm in the evenings at SASOD’s office located at 169 Charlotte Street in Lacytown, Georgetown. There is no charge for admission to attend the film festival. Drinks and snacks will be on sale. All proceeds go to SASOD’s LGBT Community Centre Fund. All firms are intended for mature audiences. Person must be 18 years and over to attend. Free, onsite HIV counseling and testing, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Advancing Partnerships and Communities (APC) Project, is also be available to all attendees.

SASOD’s LGBT Pride Month celebrations conclude on Saturday, June 27, with Spectrum Cabaret Night at the Dutch Bottle Café, 10 North Road, Bourda (between Light and Cummings Streets) in Georgetown commencing at 7 pm. Tickets cost $1,000 in advance and are available at SASOD, That Look Boutique and Oasis café. Admission at the door is $1,500.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Love and Passion Permeate Painting the Spectrum 11 This Week

The penultimate week of Painting the Spectrum 11: SASOD's annual LGBT film festival will screen two attention-grabbing films on about gender, love, family, passion and relationships.
On Tuesday, June 16, Spectrum 11 will screen “Southern Comfort,” a celebrated film, famous for high levels of critical praise and the winner of nearly 20 major film festivals including the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. “Southern Comfort” has fascinated audiences with its remarkable fusion of humour, tragedy and romance. This beautiful love story will take viewers on a journey into the life of Robert Eads, a 52-year-old, wise-cracking cowboy, warm and gregarious, who was born female and later transitioned into living as a man after bearing two sons. The film finds Robert fifteen years later during the extraordinary last year of his life as he falls headlong into a passionate romance with Lola, a vivacious and magnetic woman who was born male. This extraordinary film explores issues surrounding gender, family, love and relationships.
Then on Thursday, June 18, the festival heats up with the screening of “A Perfect Ending.”  This sexy and fun romantic drama stars Jessica Clark (True Blood’s Lilith) and TV icon Barbara Niven. It tells the story of straight and married Rebecca (Niven) who seeks out the sexual services of high-riced call girl Paris (Clark) but she isn’t expecting to fall in love. “A Perfect Ending” is filled to the brink with aching desire, and the sexual chemistry between Niven and Clark is off the charts. This ‘opposites attract,’ edge-of-your-seat lesbian romance is a glossy, sexy and fun romantic drama guaranteed to earn a fresh array of fans for veteran writer-director Nicole Conn.

The film festival continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays in June commencing at 6 pm in the evenings at SASOD’s office located at 169 Charlotte Street in Lacytown, Georgetown. There is no charge for admission to attend the film festival. Drinks and snacks will be on sale. All firms are intended for mature audiences. Person must be 18 years and over to attend. Free, onsite HIV counseling and testing, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Advancing Partnerships and Communities (APC) Project, is also be available to all attendees.

Painting the Spectrum 11 concludes on Saturday, June 27, with Spectrum Cabaret Night at the Dutch Bottle Café, 10 North Road, Bourda (between Light and Cummings Streets) in Georgetown commencing at 7 pm. Tickets cost $1,000 available in advance at SASOD and $1,500 at the door.

Monday, June 08, 2015

“No Easy Walk to Freedom” and “Punks” Screen This Week at Painting the Spectrum 11

Painting the Spectrum 11 continues this week with one documentary and a movie highlighting the struggles lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals face fighting for law reform and the dilemmas in intimate partner relationships.   
On Tuesday, June 9, Spectrum 11 will screen “No Easy Walk to Freedom”. Filmed in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Lucknow and rural India, “No Easy Walk to Freedom”, by Nancy Nicol, tells the story of the struggle to strike down section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes homosexuality. Told through the voices of lawyers, activists and community leaders, “No Easy Walk to Freedom” exposes human rights violations perpetrated under section 377 and documents the growth of queer organizing in India in the context of this historic legal battle to overturn a colonial-era law.
The screening of “No Easy Walk to Freedom” will be followed by a panel discussion of Guyanese professionals and community experts examining the struggles for constitutional and law reform for LGBT Guyanese, with a particular focus on the constitutional challenge to the cross-dressing law and plans of the new coalition government which campaign on platforms of inclusive democracy, national unity and gender equality.
 And then on Thursday, June 11, “Punks”, a romantic comedy exploring the trials and tribulations of black gay men will be screened. “Punks” tell the tale of four gay African-American friends in Los Angeles, USA. - shy, virginal photographer Marcus (Seth Gilliam), outgoing lethario Hill (Dwight Ewell), hot-to-trot rich kid newbie Dante (Renoly Santiago), and fabulous drag diva Crystal (Jazzmun). When the hunky Darby (Rockmond Dunbar) moves in next door to Marcus, the foursome wonder if the seemingly straight music producer might be bendable when Marcus strikes up a close friendship with the new neighbour. Meanwhile, Hill struggles in the aftermath of a breakup with his French husband (Rudolf Martin); young Dante struggles to find himself; and diva Crystal deals with the trials of having a high-profile, closeted celebrity boyfriend. “Punks” is an award-winning and ground-breaking romantic comedy.
The film festival continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays in June commencing at 6 pm in the evenings at SASOD’s office located at 169 Charlotte Street. Lacytown, Georgetown. There is no charge for admission to attend the film festival. Drinks and snacks will be on sale. All firms are intended for mature audiences. Person must be 18 years and over to attend. Free, onsite HIV counseling and testing, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Advancing Partnerships and Communities (APC) Project, will also be available.
Painting the Spectrum 11 concludes on Saturday, June 27, with Spectrum Cabaret Night at the Dutch Bottle Café, 10 North Road, Bourda (between Light and Cummings Streets) in Georgetown commencing at 7 pm. Tickets cost $1,000 in advance and $1,500 at the door.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Painting the Spectrum 11: SASOD's LGBT Film Festival 2015

Painting the Spectrum 11 : 
SASOD's LGBT Film Festival 2015 
Movie Schedule 

Tuesday, June 2
Out on the Tracks – Documentary
Origin: USA | Duration: 79 mins
Out on the Tracks portrays a gay Guyanese soul singer, Nhojj and documents his ground-breaking “Made to Love Him” sessions. Affirming the LGBTQ community through same-sex renditions of classic heterosexual love songs from Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me" to Billy Joel's "She's Got a Way" ("He's Got a Way"), this gentle and human documentary touches upon the themes of love, hope and self-acceptance, and explores the recording process and the power of music.

SASOD hosts 6th AIDS Candlelight Memorial under the theme ‘Supporting the Future’

On Sunday May 24, 2015, the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) supported the initiative of the the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GN+) and hosted the 6th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial in Guyana on the steps of the St. George’s Cathedral. 
Chelauna Providence, Organiser of the event and Social Change Coordinator, SASOD and John Quelch, chairperson of the event and Project Coordinator, SASOD addressing the audience. 
The theme for this year’s 32nd annual observance, ‘Supporting the Future,’ challenges people from various communities around the world to unite and demand a sustainable AIDS response - one that is fully inclusive. The event reinforced the need for access to treatment, care and support, as many persons living with HIV (PLHIV) are still facing discrimination and criminalization in various contexts. 
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is not just a memorial, but an opportunity for communities to mobilize and raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. It is about fostering global solidarity, and breaking down the barriers of stigma and discrimination, and restoring hope for the future.
Delivering the feature address was Ms. Folami Harris, Chief of Party of the USAID Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) Project. In her address she challenged those present to apply a simple ABC model as they support the future. She spoke to Acceptance of those living with HIV, calling for a sense of Belongingness within our respective communities and groups, and being a part of the Collective response to HIV.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Marginalised Groups Prepare to Engage Next Government on Rights Policy Issues


The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, on Thursday April 16, 2015 hosted the Civil Society Stakeholders Consultation for the Guyanese Vulnerable Communities Capacities Strengthening Project, funded by the delegation of the European Union to Guyana, which aims to build civil society capacity to better engage policy decision-makers at all levels of government. The two-day conference, held at the Grand Coastal Hotel at Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara, marked the end of the first phase of the project. Chaired by SASOD’s Social Change Coordinator, Chelauna Providence, the conference’s opening was attended by representatives of civil society groups working with marginalised communities, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the United Nations and other special invitees.
John Quelch, Project Coordinator, opened the ceremony highlighting the objectives of the project and the intended outcomes that will benefit the work and advocacy of civil society organisations (CSOs) representing marginalised communities. Quelch outlined the three phases of the project and the relevance of each to its eventual success. The first phase concludes with this consultation with members of civil society, on the findings of Baseline and Mapping Studies, conducted by the three consultants drawn from the Commonwealth, Gordon Floyd; Caribbean, Deborah Nurse; and Guyana, Kesaundra Alves. The Baseline Study measures the current level of capacity among Guyanese civil society to engage in public policy advocacy on behalf of vulnerable groups. The Mapping Study describes the processes by which policy decisions are made in the Guyanese context and highlights key opportunities for civil society to intervene and participate. Quelch related that the project is timely in light of upcoming elections. “Guyanese civil society will now be more equipped to engage the engage the next government and twelfth parliament on behalf of the marginalized groups we serve. We are preparing to take collective and pro-active action to have human rights issues addressed now – both during the campaign and when the next government and parliament takes office after the May 11 polls. We are no longer waiting. Our issues must be addressed now,” Quelch said.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Local Civil Society Groups Raise Discrimination with OAS Human Rights Body

A delegation of four organizations representing the Guyana Equality Forum (GEF) presented on “Discrimination in the enjoyment of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Guyana” at a thematic hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) at its 154th session of hearings in Washington, DC, last Friday, March 20, 2015. The IACHR is a principal and autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere. The Commissioners present at the hearing were Prof. Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Chair of the Commission, James Cavallaro, Rapporteur for Guyana, and Felipe Gonzalez.
The petitioners representing the GEF were the Sisterhood of Support, Services and Sustainability (S4) Foundation, Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), Deaf Association of Guyana (DAG) and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD). The GEF is a network of local civil society groups working for equal rights in Guyana.
Petitioners representing the Guyana Equality Forum (GEF):, SASOD’s Joel Simpson, DAG’s Sabine McIntosh, GOIP’s Colin Klautky, S4’s Imarah Radix and SASOD’s Schemel Patrick