Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
GEORGETOWN, GUYANA: June 26, 2009— As the United Nations launches the 2009 this week, more than 40 international groups and experts worldwide today issued a call to action that presses governments to adopt a humane approach to drug policy.
The Call to Action, signed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and , former president of Brazil Fernando Cardoso, and others, urges governments to enact policies that are based on scientific and medical research rather than politics. The Call has been signed by a total of 46 people from a range of professional backgrounds, including economists, drug policy/harm reduction experts, AIDS and human rights activists, and professors of medicine, representing 14 international organizations and 32 national organizations from 21 different countries.
“We need a more humane approach to drug use based on harm reduction principles and respect for human rights to eliminate the negative impact of the drug trade here in Guyana,” said Donna Snagg, President of Juncata Juvant Friendly Society. “Old methods are not working so we must turn to more evidence-based approaches,” she continued.
Rather than receiving treatment, millions of nonviolent drug users are languishing in prisons as a result of current drug policies. The drug trade continues to grow while families are torn apart by the global war on drugs. As the HIV and AIDS crisis spreads, policies that drive away drug users are creating public health disasters.
“Laws and policies that drive drug users underground, keep people away from life-saving HIV services and allows AIDS to spread,” said Joel Simpson, Co-Chair of (SASOD). “These are very similar dynamics of exclusion which we see against sexual and gender minorities, and other marginalized groups,” he added.
Instead of continuing with these ineffective and harmful policies, today’s call to action urges governments to focus on reducing the harms of drug trade and use. It is time for governments to support needle exchange, substitution therapy, and decriminalization of possession for personal use. Drug control measures must respect human rights with penalties that are proportional and humane, and recognize that drug cultivation is primarily a development issue—not simply a security threat.
Juncata Juvant Friendly Society (JJFS) is a non-governmental, charitable, non-profit organization, providing services to persons who have been deported for resettlement into the Guyanese society.
Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) is a local, non-governmental, advocacy organisation working on issues related to homophobia, human rights and health promotion in Guyana.
For JJFS, email
For SASOD, email
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Painting the Spectrum 5 : Schedule of Films
Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from Monday 1 June to Tuesday 30 June, 2009
Venue : Sidewalk Cafe, Middle Street, Georgetown Guyana
Programme starts at 7pm each night
Admission is FREE. All films are intended for mature audiences unless otherwise indicated
Special Event : Discussion on Spirituality and Sexuality - Wednesday 10 June, 6pm at Sidewalk Cafe.
Monday 1 June Brother Outsider : The Life of Bayard Rustin (2003)
A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence.
Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. Five years in the making and the winner of numerous awards, BROTHER OUTSIDER presents a feature-length documentary portrait, focusing on Rustin’s activism for peace, racial equality, economic justice and human rights (85 mins)
Film donated by the Bayard Rustin Film Project
Tuesday 2 June Karmen Geï (2001)
Senegal/ Musical/ French and Wolof with English subtitles
Karmen Gei is the African adaptation of Bizet's popular opera Carmen. The conflicts between conventional morality and sexual freedom, between constraint and liberation, between complacency and passionate self-abandon, which are always present in iterations of the Carmen myth, will here acquire a very African political dimension, as well as a very modern one in terms of its sexual politics. (85 mins)
Donated by California Newsreel
Wednesday 3 June Le fate ignoranti/ His Secret Life (2001)
Italy:Turkey / Drama/ Italian/English subtitles
This beautiful film is another triumph from Director Ferzan Ozpetek in which he explores the sub rosa aspect of the lives of his characters. Antonia is happily married to a handsome Italian man (Massimo) who dies suddenly in an accident, leaving her bereft and lonely. Massimo's friends at work bring Antonia his belongings and in opening the office clutter she discovers a painting ("The Ignorant Fairy") which has an inscription on the back that it is from a lover of seven years. Antonia is convinced that her husband has had another woman and sets out to confront her, only to discover that the lover was a man (106 mins)
Monday 8 June Dreams Deferred : The Sakia Gunn Story (2008)
This documentary tells the little known story of Sakia Gunn, a 15 year old student who was fatally stabbed in a gay hate crime in Newark, New Jersey. Sakia was a homosexual woman of color who dressed in masculine attire but did not necessarily identify as either lesbian or female-to-male transgender. Sakia was stabbed while waiting at the bus stop, after rejecting violent advances from young men. What lessons does her murder have for the way in which we perceive youth violence and violence against girls who reject violent masculine advances? (71 mins)
Film donated by Third World Newsreel
Tuesday 9 June Dostana (2008)
Abhikshek Bachan and John Abraham play Kunal and Sameer, two straight guys who pretend to be a gay couple to secure an posh Miami apartment, but both of them fall for their gorgeous room-mate Neha, hilarity ensures as they strive to convince one and all they are gay! Secretly they are trying to win Neha's heart! (120 minutes)
Wednesday 10 June Toul Omry / All my Life (2008)
Egypt/ Drama/ Arabic with English subtitles
For Rami, all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, as long as he keeps to himself. But when his longtime lover leaves him to marry a woman and his best friends drift away, he comes face to face with the harsh realities of life as a gay man in Egypt. Against the backdrop of the choreographed crackdown on gay men and the notorious Queen Boat arrests of 2001, he plunges into a world of loveless friendships and spirals downwards to his ultimate downfall.(120 minutes)
Film Donated by Maraia Films
Monday 15 June Milk (2008)
USA / Drama
Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant directs Academy Award winner Sean Penn as gay-rights icon Harvey Milk. Mr. Milk (1930-1978) was an activist and politician, and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America; in 1977, he was voted to the city supervisors' board of San Francisco. (128 mins)
Read the Stabroek News Editorial
Tuesday 16 June Bi the way (2008)
USA / Documentary
Bi the Way had its World Premiere at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. The film is an enjoyable and entertaining documentary about the changing nature of sexuality and sexual identity in America today and how the next generation is redefining its sexual mores. The directors travel across the country talking mostly to young people about their new definitions of sexual identity. It is an eye-opening film, because it really begins to break down our normative dichotomous definitions of heterosexuality and homosexuality. (85 mins)
Wednesday 17 June The Sum of Us (1994)
Australia / Comedy
Happy Father's Day!!!! A widowed, beer-drinking ferry driver who is looking for Ms Right and his rugby-playing, beer-drinking, gay plumber son both search for love and romance. Starring Russel Crowe, this film tells the story of a father son relationship and the difficulties they encounter as they try to intervene in each other's lives (100 mins)
Monday 22 June
Spectrum Celebration - An evening of poetry, prose, drama acknowledging the struggle and the achievements.
Featuring a reading from Beautiful Little Lies , a play by Judith Rudakoff
A Cuban cocktail with a twist.
Cuba, February 1998. The Pope’s historic visit raised the spirits of the Cuban people but a few weeks later, nothing has changed. Tourists are still drinking “Cuba Libre” (Free Cuba) cocktails, and bartenders are still calling them “Mentirita” (Little Lie) when no one is listening.
But this is Cuba. Someone is always listening.
Beautiful Little Lies follows the adventures of Juancy, a Cuban transvestite performer, Suzanne, a Canadian woman tourist whose mother has just died, Moffi, a little white Cuban dog with attitude, Bob, a closeted male homosexual tourist, and Maria, a Cuban mother with a passion for all life has to offer. And like Cuba, the world of Beautiful Little Lies is also populated by the ever present Orishas, the iconic and earthy spirit guides of the AfroCuban belief system...
Tuesday 23 June Straightlaiced: How gender's got us all tied up (2008)
With a fearless look at a highly charged subject, Straightlaced unearths how popular pressures around gender and sexuality are confining American teens. Their stories reflect a diversity of experiences, demonstrating how gender role expectations and homophobia are interwoven, and illustrating the different ways that these expectations connect with culture, race and class.
From girls confronting media messages about culture and body image to boys who are sexually active just to prove they aren’t gay, this fascinating array of students opens up with brave, intimate honesty about the toll that deeply held stereotypes and rigid gender policing have on all our lives.
Film donated by Groundspark
Wednesday 24 June The World Unseen (2007)
South Africa / Drama
The film is set in Cape Town, South Africa during apartheid in 1952 and is based on the novel by Samin Sharif. The films stars Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth as two Indian South African women who fall in love in a racist, sexist, and homophobic society. This film has a background of beautiful music from that period. (100mins)
Monday 29 June Three films
Coolie Gyal (2004)
In this coming-out story, an honest and sincere letter is read from a daughter to her parents. A familial montage is incorporated with a heartfelt narrative filled with the expectations and anxieties of a young woman. Renata Mohamed is a Toronto-based Indo-Guyanese filmmaker born in the British Virgin Islands.( 7 mins)
Contributed by Director Renata Mohamed
Blu in you (2008)
Canada/Tobago / Essayist Documentary
Directed by Guyana born Michelle Mohabeer PhD
BLU IN YOU is an essayist rumination mediated through the lens of a female observer (Melanie Smith), who watches the staged conversations between a visual arts curator (Andrea Fatona) and a writer (Nalo Hopkinson). These conversations bridge historical and contemporary representations of the black female body, subjectivity and sexuality exploring various thematics from a cultural history of violence and spectacularization (embodied in the figure of "the Hottentot Venus") to discussions of art, representation and celebrated cultural icons (Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge and the figure of the muse Jeanne Duval), to a contemporary black queer female erotic body and sexuality. (50 mins)
Film donated by Dr Michelle Mohabeer
Flores en el Parque (2006)
Spain / Short / 10 minutes
Ana and Lola arrange to meet in the park. Lola will bring flowers. Ana will bring doubts.
Film donated by director Mariel Macia
previously announced as
A domicilio (2008) (programme changed for this film )
Rosa has thought of everything, she’ll treat Flor to a sushi dinner; they’ll drink white wine and listen to music. Both know what they are there for. However, things not always go as planned and some words, some time together can make them reconsider the prejudices they have about themselves and about one another (25 mins)
Film donated by director Mariel Macia
Tuesday 30 June Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom (2008)
USA / Comedy
Noah and Wade invite their friends to Martha's Vineyard (Massachusetts) for their wedding. This feature-length version of the TV show gives the characters a chance to learn more about each other - and themselves - while living in close quarters. Relationships are tested and there are plenty of surprises. (101 mins)
With the support of
For arranging the delivery of films :-
Saturday, June 06, 2009
At its 39th General Assembly convened in San Pedro Sula , Honduras , from June 1 – 3, 2009 , the Organisation of American States (OAS) approved its second resolution on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”.
This resolution is the result of the advocacy and coordination activities realized in the past three years by 24 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Travesti, Transgender, Transsexual and Intersex (LGBTTTI) groups of 17 countries forming a Coalition of Latin America and the Caribbean, that meets every year before the General Assembly to coordinate its advocacy work within the OAS.
During the informal dialogue between the Secretary General of the OAS and the civil society on May 31, 2009 (photograph attached), in San Pedro Sula, José Miguel Insulza highlighted the need that the secretariat realizes a special report focusing in particular on hate crimes and the situation of human rights violations against individuals because of their sexual diversity.
The day after, in the context of the dialogue between the heads of delegations of member states and the civil society, Claudia Sosa Medina, Honduran transgender woman, read a statement (see below) as spokesperson of the coalition in which activists from Honduras, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Suriname, Guyana, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Belize, requested to the ministers of foreign affairs of the OAS member countries to intervene against acts of violence against LGBTTTI persons in the Americas.
The Coalition expressed its concern for the lack of reference to the notion of gender identity and expression in paragraph 5 of the Declaration of San Pedro Sula, which makes reference to violence caused by discrimination: “Gender identity of travestis, transgenders and transsexuals is a fundamental element of our individual freedom and self-construction”.
The representative of the government of the United States reminded the General Assembly of the commitment of President Barack Obama in supporting laws for the development of policies that recognize the rights of LGBT people, highlighted the signature of her country to the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity, and expressed their opposition to the so-called sodomy laws.
Brazil sponsored the draft resolution “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”, while Colombia underlined that the issue is particularly important for the government, and that the parliament has approved instruments to eliminate discriminatory acts against LGBT people. Finally Saint Kitts & Nevis expressed its opposition to any form of violence against any individual, regardless of the orientation of the human being.
On June 4, 2009 , during the fourth plenary session, the Annual Report of the Permanent Council (2008-2009), which contains the resolutions approved by the Permanent Council itself was presented. Among those, the resolution AG/RES. 2504 (XXXIX-O/09) “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” was approved. Its text (also below) not only ratifies what established last year by the resolution AG/RES.2435 (XXX VII I-O/08) also entitled “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”, but also makes reference to the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity presented at the UN General Assembly on December 18, 2008.
The new resolution, sponsored by Brazil, not only condemns acts of violence and human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, but also express its concern for violence against human rights defenders that work on these kinds of violations, calling on the states to ensure their protection and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American system to take action on the topic. Finally, the resolution reiterates its request to the Committee on Legal and Political Affairs to include the issue of “sexual orientation and gender identity” in its agenda during the next ordinary period of sessions.
As a Coalition, we celebrate the approval of this second resolution that we consider one of the tangible and historical results of our advocacy work started in 2006 by Global Rights, Mulabi - Espacio Latinoamericano de Sexualidades y Derechos and IGLHRC – LAC, by coordinating the creation of this coalition that initially focused its work on the advocacy for the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in the draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.
We thank the OAS, UNDP, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and Global Rights for their support which made our participation at this year’s General Assembly possible.
The participants of the Coalition of LGBTTTI Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean within the OAS were:
AIREANA - Camila Zabala – Paraguay, Colectivo TTT San Pedro Sula- Claudia Sosa - Honduras, COLECTIVA MUJER y SALUD, Julie Betances – Dominican Republic, CORPORACIÓN PROMOCIÓN DE LA MUJER, Soledad Varela - Ecuador, CORPORACION OPCION, Diana Navarro - Colombia, ENTRE-TRANSITOS - Camilo Andrés Rojas - Colombia, GRENCHAP - Kimany Parke - Grenada, HUMANA NACION TRANS-Hazel Gloria Davenport - Mexico, IGL HRC - Marcelo Ferreyra – Argentina, INSTITUTO RUNA-Belissa Andia – Peru, ASOCIACIÓN LIDERES EN ACCION -Germán Rincón - Colombia, SURINAME MEN UNITED - Kenneth Van Endem - Suriname, MULABI, ESPACIO LATINOAMERICANO DE SEXUALIDADES Y DERECHOS- Marina Bernal- México- Colombia, ORGANIZACIÓN DE TRANSEXUALES POR LA DIGNIDAD DE LA DIVERSIDAD Andrés Rivera – Chile, RED AFRO LGBTI - Edmilson Medeiros BRAZIL, J-FLAG - Maurice Tomilson – Jamaica, RED LACTRANS - Marcela Romero- Argentina, RED TRANS Nicaragua - Silvia Martínez – Nicaragua, SOCIETY AGAINST SEXUAL ORIENTATION DIDSCRIMINATION- Namela Baynes Henry - Guyana, UNIBAM - Devon Gabourel - Belize, VELVET UNDERGROUND Angela Francis - Trinidad and Tobago.
As a Coalition partner: Stefano Fabeni-Global Rights
Photograph Caption: OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza (third from left), SASOD Co-Chair, Namela Baynes-Henry (second from right) and other Coalition members at the informal dialogue with representatives of civil society on May 31, 2009 , in San Pedra Sula, Honduras.
AG/RES. 2504 (XXXIX-O/09)
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 4, 2009)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
BEARING IN MIND resolution AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08), entitled “Human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity”;
That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in that Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status; and
That the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes that every human being has the right to life, liberty, and the security of the person;
CONSIDERING that the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) proclaims that the historic mission of America is to offer to man a land of liberty and a favorable environment for the development of his personality and the realization of his just aspirations;
REAFFIRMING the principles of universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of human rights;
TAKING NOTE of the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity presented to the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 2008; and
NOTING WITH CONCERN acts of violence and related human rights violations perpetrated against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity,
1. To condemn acts of violence and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
2. To urge states to ensure that acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals because of sexual orientation and gender identity are investigated and their perpetrators brought to justice.
3. To urge states to ensure adequate protection for human rights defenders who work on the issue of acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals because of sexual orientation and gender identity.
4. To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the other organs of the inter-American system to continue to pay sufficient attention to this issue.
5. To reiterate its request for the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) to include on its agenda, before the fortieth regular session of the General Assembly, the topic of “Human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
6. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its fortieth regular session on the implementation of this resolution, the execution of which shall be subject to the availability of financial resources in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.
SAN PEDRO SULA DECLARATION OF THE COALITION OF LESBIANS, GAYS, BISEXUALS, TRAVESTI, TRANSSEXUALS, TRANSGENDERS AND INTERSEX OF THE AMERICAS.
Mister Secretary General, Ministers, Members of the Official Delegations, Civil Society Representatives,
We, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Travesti, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex organizations, convened in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on May 29, 30 and 31, 2009, in accordance with the directives established by the General Assembly of the OAS in its resolutions AG/RES.2092( XXXV-O/05) ; CP/RES.759(1217/ 99); 840(1361/03) ; AG/RES.1707( XXX-O/00) and AG/RES.1915( XXXIII-O/ 03), which determine a regulatory framework to enhance and strengthen civil society participation in OAS activities and in the Summit of the Americas process, highlighting the importance of the resolution AG/RES. 2435 (XXXVIII-O/08) , express our concern for the omission of the concept of gender identity and expression from paragraph 5 of the draft declaration of San Pedro Sula, which makes reference to violence generated by discrimination. Gender identity and expression of travestis, transgenders and transsexuals are fundamental elements of the exercise of our cultural freedom and self-construction.
In the American hemisphere the atrocities committed have been documented over a decade. Several reports mostly drafted by non governmental organizations highlight the existence of countless extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, tortures and killings as a consequence of the so-called “social cleansing” campaigns or by extermination groups, such as in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador.
However, it should be noted that these identified forms of discriminatory acts and violence are the most evident and extreme kinds of rights violations, those which essentially affect the rights to life and personal integrity.
These are not only limited to physical attacks, police mistreatment, abuse by authorities and hate crimes. Within families and the community, practices of private violence, like forced marriages, submission to stereotypes and gender roles that limit the free development of the personality and sexuality, forced segregation and torture in “rehabilitation” clinics, that often end with suicide. Violence within the judicial system, manifested by the legal process for sex and name change, implies humiliating clinical exams, forced surgery and mutilation.
Being Afro-descendant, woman, indigenous, youth, migrant, elderly, or living with disability, among other reasons for marginalization, are factors that aggravate violence against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
We believe it is fundamental that discrimination is combated with appropriate and effective legal instruments that moreover promote a culture of non violence.
In this context we should draw attention to the situation in the eight English-speaking Caribbean countries that still keep in force the so-called “sodomy laws” which are used by the state, security forces and private actors to harass, intimidate and persecute us. These laws which have been consistently classified as human rights violations, create a climate of violence which has been identified by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during their recent visit to Jamaica.
The countless cases of killings, tortures, sexual violence, arbitrary detentions, public humiliations to which travesti, trangender, transsexual, lesbianas, gay, bisexuals and intersex people, as well as sex workers, are daily subjected in Central America and the Caribbean, and particularly in Honduras, perpetuate a context of hate and impunity with complete indifference by the state.
For these reasons, we demand that States, and particularly the government of Honduras, to develop transparent and serious investigations that should take place with full respect for the law, as well as to severely punish those actors that commit felonies covered by impunity and moral values that feed and justify hate and prejudices.
Therefore, we demand:
That the OAS includes gender identity in its program on the right to identity in order to give States the possibility to develop the necessary legal framework to eliminate social exclusion through the legal recognition of trans persons.
That member states of the English-speaking Caribbean repeal laws that criminalize sexual intercourse between consenting adults of the same sex and all other laws that limit the free development of personality or incite to social violence.
That Member states commit to defining national comprehensive policies aimed at implementing good practices in all social, educational and professional contexts and the creation of bodies that monitor the existing situation on human rights violations.
That the General Assembly approves the draft Resolution AG/doc. 4962/09 “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” presented by the Brazilian Delegation, whose initiative we fully endorse.
That the General Assembly approves the draft Resolution AG/doc. 4959/09 “Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance” and that Member States commit themselves to finalize the negotiation of the draft accepting the substantive progress achieved during the past years.
Given this situation of war against our desire, our bodies and our identities, we advocate for a culture of peace.
AIREANA - Camila Zabala – Paraguay, C TTT- Claudia Sosa - Honduras, COLECTIVA MUJER y SALUD, Julie Betances – República Dominicana, COMUNICACIÓN MUJER, Soledad Varela - Ecuador, CORPORACION OPCION, Diana Navarro - Colombia, ENTRE-TRANSITOS - Camilo Andrés Rojas - Colombia, GREEN CHOP - Kimany Parke - Grenada, HUMANA NACION TRANS-Hazel Gloria Davenport - México, IGLHRC-LAC - Marcelo Ferreyra – Argentina, INSTITUTO RUNA-Belissa Andia – Perú, LIDERES EN ACCION-Germán Rincón - Colombia, MEN UNITED - Keneth Van Emdem - Suriname, MULABI, ESPACIO LATINOAMERICANO EN SEXUALIDADES Y DERECHOS, Marina Bernal, México-Colombia, ORGANIZACIÓN DE TRANSEXUALES POR LA DIGNIDAD Andrés Rivera –Chile, RED AFRO LGBTI - Edmilson Medeiros BRASIL, RED J-FLAG - Maurice Tomilson – Jamaica, RED LACTRANS - Marcela Romero- Argentina, RED TRANS Nicaragua - Silvia Martínez – Nicaragua, SASOD- Namela Baynes Henry - Guyana,UNIBAM - Devon Gabourel - Belize, VELVET UNDERGROUND Angela Francis - Trinidad and Tobago.
As a Coalition partner: Stefano Fabeni-Global Rights