At a reception hosted by Guyana’s Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD Guyana) and the British High Commission in Guyana to mark Spirit Day, Director of Childcare and Protection Agency (CCPA), Ann Greene highlighted that there needs to be laws against bullying towards youths of the LGBTQ+ community.
This event, the third of its kind, was held at the British High Commissioner’s residence on Thursday last to raise awareness of anti-LGBTQ+ bullying in schools.
However, Greene stated that LGBTQ+ people in Guyana are oppressed and marginalised because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and suffer discrimination in accessing their civil rights.
She lamented that LGBTQ+ persons need what every other person needs, regardless of their human characteristics.
“It is love and acceptance. Every human being born into this world has a right to be here, being placed here by the Superior being of the Universe with their own purpose,” Greene said.
The CCPA Director emphasised that Spirit Day is a day to stand up and give support to persons who suffer infringement of their human rights.
She further pledged to use her role “to contribute towards bringing about the needed social change – the right to social inclusion for all persons. All groups of people must be respected for who they are, without prejudice”.
In addition to laws against bullying, she called for specific interventions to address the unique challenges facing LGBTQ+ youths in Guyana.
Greene said these include targeted social programmes; safe schools, care centres, neighbourhoods and housing; safe access to recreational facilities and activities; access to adequate health services and supportive workplace policies.
In closing, she stated: “the beauty of standing up for your rights is so that others can see you standing and stand up as well.”
HE UK Ambassador to Guyana, Greg Quinn in his brief remarks reiterated that “LGBTQ+ persons are not asking for special rights; they are seeking to be afforded the same rights as any other Guyanese citizen.” The High Commissioner further called for persons to promote diversity and tolerance for LGBTQ+ persons.
In closing, SASOD Guyana’s Homophobia(s) Education Coordinator, Valini Leitch commented that taking a stand against LGBTQ+ bullying is not a one-day affair, but requires collective, daily action.
Also in attendance were Wendy Quinn, other representatives of the diplomatic corps, civil society representatives, youth advocates and Private Sector officials.