Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), Joel Simpson on Friday bashed the Government for the slothful manner in which it is handling the amendment of certain laws which will entitle them their rights.
“When we started in 2017 we wanted to do this around Independence to make a political point that Guyana’s Independence project is not yet complete if we don’t have liberation of LGBTQ (Lesbians, Gays, Trans-genders and questioning or queers) Guyanese. If we still have colonial era laws which criminalize same sex intimacy…loitering, vagrancy…all these kinds of colonial era laws which were meant to control the then ex-slaves and indentured immigrants and we are saying that this independence that we are celebrating, 53 years and so on is really incomplete if we still have these shackles,” Simpson related.
The activist reminded that any form of intimacy such as kissing, touching and petting among others between two people of the same sex are not allowed in public and private places.
When it comes to the support of the Government, Simpson said he was not pleased at all. In fact he called for changes to be made to existing laws to benefit the LGBTQ community.
He informed that back in 2017, Attorney General, Basil Williams had requested that the community create a draft legislation which will be considered. However, fast forward to 2019 no changes have been made to the law.
“For us the low hanging fruit when it comes to legislative reform is not that discriminatory law which criminalizes same sex intimacy, we think that should be reformed and that should go and the Government has also promised to appoint commissioners to the law reform commission and we think that’s the site where that could be dealt with,” Simpson pointed out.
Furthermore he told the media that, “What we think the Government needs to do is amend the Prevention of Discrimination Act 1997 to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression”.
He pointed out that the bill has already been drafted by the community and are awaiting some calm in Parliament before it is tabled. Simpson noted that he would like to see the bill deliberated on by both the Opposition and Government.