Thursday, January 28, 2016

LGBT people among most vulnerable, susceptible to suicide and depression

The fifth instalment of ‘Lunch Talk’ was held on Thursday, January 14 at the APC Office. Lunch Talk is facilitated by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) in partnership with Advancing Partners and Communities (APC). This month's Lunch Talk focused on Mental Health Challenges affecting LGBT Guyanese. 
The panel included: Lisa Punch, President of the Prevention of Teenage Suicide (POTS) Organisation and Miss Guyana World; Caitlin Vieira, Psychologist and Addiction Specialist,Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and Abdel Fudadin, Mental Health Researcher, CUSO International. Moderator: John Quelch, Project Coordinator, SASOD.
 Persons who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and/or Transgender (LGBT) are two to three times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual persons, global research shows – this was pointed out by Cuso International’s Mental Health Researcher, Abdel Fudadin on Thursday last,  at a forum on Mental Health Challenges facing LGBT Guyanese.
The discussion forum, facilitated by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) in partnership with USAID’s Advancing Partners and Communities (APC) Project, sought to evaluate with various civil society organisations (CSOs) ways and means the Guyanese society can aid vulnerable communities such as LGBT persons from falling into mental despair and how support can be offered to them.
LGBT persons are often marginalised from society, discriminated against and shunned from accessing health, social and security services; this adding to some already possessing underlying issues such as social anxiety, battling with conservative and religious views and even stemming from impoverished neighbourhoods only weaken their mental health. Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anxiety can develop along with post-traumatic stress which only makes the person more susceptible to substance abuse, risky behaviour, and suicide.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

SASOD calls on President to put words into action

On December 31, 2015 President Granger expressed his support for freedom of choice by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons in Guyana during his weekly media briefing, “The Public Interest”. The President stated that he is prepared to respect the rights of any adult to indulge in any practice, which is not harmful to others. President David Granger was further reported to have said, “I would like to feel that there should be some element, first, of respecting the human rights of individuals, and second, at the Governmental level, free choice; that persons should be able to express their views freely without necessarily sticking to a party line.”

SASOD can only describe the comments made by President Granger as a progressive step in the right directions towards respect for human rights and equality for all, however while noting that the issue has not been discussed at the level of Cabinet, President Granger maintained that human rights are paramount, over party opinions. 

Presently, Guyana is the only country in South America where homosexual acts are still illegal. Under the laws of Guyana, same-sex intimacy between men carries a possible punishment of life imprisonment.

SASOD commends the President’s stance, but needless to say the organisation looks forward to further engagement and legislative amendments which action his position. 

At a media engagement held at SASOD’s Charlotte Street office last Monday, January 11, the organisation issued the following statement: