Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SWAG   Gifts Night Shelter Women for Mother’s Day

As part of its community service efforts to support vulnerable women, the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination: Women’s Arm Guyana (SWAG) concluded its feminine hygiene and sexual health drive by handing over 30 gift bags to the women of the Night Shelter on Thursday, May 10, 2018, ahead of Mother’s Day celebrations on Sunday.

SWAG representatives distributed the gift bags to both the women residents and staff at the 24-hour homeless shelter. Aimed at promoting body safety, good hygiene and healthy lifestyles, the gift bags contained feminine hygiene products, sexual and reproductive health commodities and informational brochures.

Massy Distribution Guyana Inc., Dr. Nastassia Rambarran, Terianna Bisnauth, and Her Excellency, First Lady of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Mrs. Sandra Granger, donated the gift items. The sexual health commodities and brochures were provided by the National AIDS Programme Secretariat of the Ministry of Public Health.

Established in 2017, SWAG seeks to work towards the equality, safety and protection of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and other vulnerable women.

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SWAG Chairperson, Terianna Bisnauth (left) handing over to a Night Shelter Representative

Thursday, May 17, 2018

LGBT Guyanese Must Press Gov’t to Change Laws – Lincoln Lewis

General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Lincoln Lewis, has charged the Guyanese lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement to continue to fight against laws that hinder their social and economic wellbeing.
GTUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis delivering the keynote address 

He was speaking at an evening reception on May 16, which was organized by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) and hosted by the High Commission of Canada to Guyana, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB).
IDAHOTB, observed on May 17, is a day set aside annually to raise awareness of violence and discrimination against LGBT people and stimulate interest in advancing LGBT human rights worldwide.
Lewis believes that as a collective, LGBT Guyanese could be able to press policymakers to address gaps and aged-old deficiencies in the system:
“As an organized demographic, where you are not only citizens but workers and voters, you’re urged to intensify the use of your power to ensure the structural deficiencies in society are corrected. Those who seek your vote must know support is contingent on moving to eliminate systems that militate against you. Where you are employed or provide your labour as employer or self-employed insist on being treated with dignity and respect for who you are, advocate for change, or lead the change.”
Additionally, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee, says Canada is keen on promoting and protecting the human rights of the LGBT people and has taken many steps towards this principle.

She recalled that, “Last June, for example, the Government of Canada passed legislation amending the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code in order to increase statutory protections for transgender and other gender-diverse persons.  Canadian federal law now explicitly prohibits any discrimination, hate propaganda or hate crime against Canadians that is based on their gender identity or expression.”
Canadian High Commissioner H.E. Lilian Chatterjee delivering closing remarks

Chatterjee said, while she also understands that countries are at different stages of acceptance and engagement on this issue, she also noted that, persons must never forget that the human rights of all persons are universal and indivisible, “and these include the human rights of the LGBT persons.”

She added further that, “Canada believes that, at a minimum, all countries should commit to three things: decriminalize same-sex conduct; combat violence and discrimination that target LGBT persons; and support the work of grassroots LGBT organizations.”
The theme of this year’s IDAHOTB is “Alliances for Solidarity” and it signals the importance of partnerships in the effort to overcome homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.