First Historic Gay Pride Parade in Guyana!

2018

On the 2nd of June 2018 Guyana hosted its first Gay Pride Parade in its capital Georgetown. This was a result of a coordinated efforts amongst the three LGBT organisations, Guyana Rainbow Foundation, Guyana Trans United and Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD). With an attendance of almost 300 people, this was the first time […]

On the 2nd of June 2018 Guyana hosted its first Gay Pride Parade in its capital Georgetown. This was a result of a coordinated efforts amongst the three LGBT organisations, Guyana Rainbow Foundation, Guyana Trans United and Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD). With an attendance of almost 300 people, this was the first time that LGBTI publicly marched the streets of Georgetown – without any incidents – towards the historic Revolution Square. This year’s Pride Week was the second event of its kind, and the first with a parade along with a Transgender Pageant, LGBT open Mic and an Interfaith Session.
Joel Simpson, the director of SASOD made a powerful statement at the end of the Parade: “We are everywhere, we exist and we have the right to love and live our lives in our own way – without fear of violence and discrimination”. Simpson called on politicians to provide better protection to the LGBTI community in their election campaigns and promises and concluded: “We have met openly here to give a strong signal that we are a small but resilient community.”
As could be expected, tensions were bound to arise around such an event. The leaders of the Evangelical Church tried to restrain the organisers from hosting the parade, however their efforts were in vain. An event such as this one, particularly in a difficult context as Guyana, successfully symbolises the resilience of the movement and hopefully inspired and encouraged others in the country to stand in solidarity with their fellow citizens.
Amongst all South American countries, Guyana remains the only one till date where homosexuality is a punishable offence due to provisions made under an antiquated British colonial law. While visible public violence remains low, LGBTI in Guyana face intimate partner violence, unlawful and random evictions from their homes and widespread discrimination in most domains of their lives. In order to combat these injustices and their disproportionate occurrence among the LGBTI community, COC Netherlands has been supporting the three local LGBTI Guyanese organisations Guyana Rainbow Foundation, Guyana Trans United and Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) as part of the PRIDE programme since 2016.
COC Netherlands will continue to support the three Guyanese organisations in providing safe spaces, improving socio-economic positions and strengthening the LGBTI community, with specific attention to the interests of lesbian and bisexual women and the trans community.