Guyana, South America

English-speaking Guyana is one of the four non-Spanish-speaking territories on the continent, along with the countries of Brazil (Portuguese), Suriname (Dutch) and the French overseas region of French Guiana (French). Culturally, Guyana associates primarily with the English-speaking Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago. According to the penal code of Guyana "indecent behavior" committed by men, either in a public or private sphere, will be punished with imprisonment for up to 2 years. For attempted anal sex the punishment is 10 years and for anal sex life imprisonment is possible.


News & Reports:


New NGO launched to aid in human rights advocacy

A new Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) was recently launched in the interest of advocating for human rights issues. Through advocacy and partnership, Justice Corps Inc. (Guyana) (JCG)will conduct research, evaluate, generate and initiate actions using tested and/or other methods, provisions, and programming to end human rights violation. This includes focus in the areas of Civil and… Read more »

LGBTQ Coalition launches third Guyana Pride Festival

– eight days of events slated The Guyana LGBTQ Coalition officially launched its third annual Guyana Pride Festival on Friday. The launching of the Festival was held at the Secretariat of the Society against Sexual Orientaion Discrimination (SASOD) on Duncan Street, Lamaha Gardens and was hosted by Joel Simpson, Valini Leitch and Shabaki Singh. According… Read more »

Police uses discriminatory laws to extort LGBT persons- SASOD

Discriminatory clauses in the Laws of Guyana contribute to extortion of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons by law enforcement authorities. Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), Joel Simpson told the News Room that over the years, many such cases were recorded where LGBT persons were made to pay bribes… Read more »

SASOD Observes 15 Years As Human Rights Organization

SASOD at the weekend celebrated its 15th anniversary as a non-governmental organization representing the rights and provided services to the LGBT community locally. Among the moves of the organization this year was discussions with the government of Guyana to modify local human rights legislation to include members of the LGBT community. Delivering remarks on behalf… Read more »

Court strikes down Guyana law banning trans people dressing according to their gender

Previously it was illegal for people to dress ‘in clothing of the opposite sex’ The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled against a law in Guyana banning men and women from going into public places ‘dressed in clothing of the opposite sex for an “improper purpose”‘. In their ruling, the CCJ deemed the law unconstitutional.… Read more »

Activists take to streets for Guyana’s first LGBT Pride parade

LGBT activists in Guyana peacefully held the country’s first ever Pride parade over the weekend. Guyana is the only country in South America to criminalise homosexuality, under Colonial-era laws, and LGBT people still often face discrimination. ? But campaigners in the country risked arrest on Saturday (June 2) when they took to the streets for… Read more »

Guyana, Jamaica differ on putting LGBT rights to a vote

In Guyana, officials have backed away from the idea of holding a referendum on whether to recognize the human rights of LGBT people, but Jamaican officials are now discussing just such a plan as the only way they would allow a repeal of Jamaica’s “buggery law.” LGBT activists hate the idea of putting human rights… Read more »

Guyana will not hold a referendum to decriminalise homosexuality, despite widespread reports

Guyana, the only South American country which still bans same-sex sexual activity, will not hold a referendum to give voters the choice to decriminalise homosexuality – despite media organisations claiming the opposite. The news published by several Guyanese local media organisations was a result of a misunderstanding of the government’s official position on the matter.… Read more »

Guyana to hold referendum on decriminalizing homosexuality

The South American country has been under pressure for years to change its anti-sodomy laws The people of Guyana will head to the polls to decide if homosexuality should remain illegal in their country. Located in South America’s north Atlantic corner, Guyana is home to about 770,00 people. It is the only country in South… Read more »

Guyana plans referendum on its anti-gay law

Guyana, the only country in South American with anti-LGBT laws, plans to put the issue of decriminalizing homosexuality to the voters. In general, LGBT rights activists discourage such moves, because human rights should be guaranteed by law, not dependent on a referendum of often ill-informed and homophobic voters. Guyana has an unenforced law that calls… Read more »

Guyana’s transgender activists fight archaic law

As a transgender woman living in Guyana, Petronella Trotman has grown accustomed to violence and daily abuse on the streets. But when she was physically attacked in January, while walking in Georgetown, the South American country’s capital, she decided to seek justice. “The young man came up to me and asked if it was me… Read more »

Transgender assault victim barred from entering court as Magistrate dismisses case

City Magistrate Dylon Bess, this morning, dismissed a physical assault case where transgender woman, Ronnel Trotman known as Petronella, was the victim. Bess, before handing down his decision, asked the public to leave the courtroom. Just as the assault victim, Petronella, was entering the court, she was barred by the court’s officers. The decision was… Read more »

Growing up gay in the Caribbean, I was in constant survival mode

On an island where everything from pop music to the church demonises your sexuality, you police your every move It is a strange thing growing up in an island called “Little England”. You inherit the legal system, the educational system and even the old English mannerisms and words. But you also inherit something far more… Read more »

Discrimination Of LGBT Abound In Guyana

The reported suicide of a Guyanese Trans gender in Suriname has brought to the fore the burning issue of stigma/discrimination and its adverse ripple effects on the Local LGBT community. Mondale Smith spoke with head of an NGO that advocates for minority groups. Source – YouTube

Activist Roundtable by Question

The Bahamas – Erin Greene I joined CAFRA (Caribbean Association for Feminist Research in Action) in The Bahamas in 2000 and became the Bahamas’ National Representative for CAFRA in 2002. I am now the interim deputy chairperson of CAFRA. I was a member of CRAFFT (Constitutional Rights Reform and Facilitation Team) that conducted a six-month… Read more »

7 battlefields: The fight for LGBTI rights in the Caribbean

A recap of recent gains, losses and ongoing battles over LGBTI rights in seven Caribbean nations (Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad, Belize, Barbados, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands), with help from coverage in the Caribbean IRN Blog of the International Resource Network: Areas With Anti-Gay Laws Guyana U.N. action: During Guyana’s recent Universal Periodic Review before the… Read more »

Felix educates LGBT on their rights

The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) on Wednesday hosted a workshop to educate the lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Community of their rights under the laws of Guyana. The occasion was held under the theme “Know your rights: Citizens rights vis-a-viz Police powers” at Moray House, Georgetown. The workshop was facilitated by former… Read more »

LGBT Community Continues To Fight For Legislative Protection In Guyana

Guyana, a small South American country hugging Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname, remains adamant in its lack of protection for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. While there have been minor legislative triumphs there, same-sex sexual acts are still very much illegal and punishable by imprisonment. At the end of last year, Guyana’s top judge… Read more »

Equal Rights and Justice for All Guyanese

Tiffany Barry is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and the Women’s Studies Unit, both in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Guyana. She is also Social Change Consultant to the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD). by Tiffany Barry In recent years, Guyana has witnessed an upsurge in violent crimes… Read more »

‘Human Rights Need Your Leadership’ – IACHR tells Guyana Government

Joint Media Release from Red Thread, FACT, A.I.D.S. and SASOD Four Guyanese civil society organisations – Red Thread, Family Action Consciousness Togetherness (FACT), Artistes In Direct Support (A.I.D.S.) and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) – working on intersectional rights issues affecting child across the country, made submissions at a hearing with the state… Read more »

Guyana man will advise World Bank on LGBT poverty

The World Bank wants to know what it can do to alleviate poverty among millions of LGBT people around the world. To help answer that question, the bank invited the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation to select an LGBT representative to attend the annual meetings of the bank and the International Monetary Fund on… Read more »

Guyana: Judge rules that crossdressing is legal unless it’s done for an ‘improper purpose’

A judge in Guyana has stirred controversy among human rights and trans activists by ruling on a 120-year-old law over crossdressing, stating it is only a criminal offence if it is done for an “improper purpose.” Associated Press reports that on Sunday, a group called the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination said the court’s decision… Read more »

Guyanese are largely either tolerant or accepting of homosexuals

According to CADRES survey The survey “Attitudes toward Homosexuals in Guyana” which was launched, last week, in Guyana has demonstrated that Guyanese are largely either tolerant or accepting of homosexuals. However, about 25 per cent of the population could genuinely be described as “homophobic”. On the other hand the survey shows that about 58 per… Read more »

‘Gay’ Guyanese speaks out

In the ongoing discussion about gay rights in Guyana, arrivals and identity, please allow me space to share these thoughts with your readers. What it means to be Guyanese has been a recurrent thought over the past year. That is because this year marks an important milestone – more than half my life has been… Read more »

Guyana: The Children are Our Future

Joel Simpson is a Guyanese Chevening scholar currently pursuing a Master of Laws in Human Rights Law at the University of Nottingham, and Co-Chair of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD). Around the world, governments, civil society groups and international organisations will once again commemorate May 17 as International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia… Read more »

Caribbean: Gay Rights Slowly Coming Out of the Closet

Georgetown, Guyana,(IPS) – Over the past six months, governments in two influential Caribbean trade bloc member states – Jamaica and Guyana – have floated political test balloons on the question of whether colonial-era laws criminalising homosexuality should be amended in keeping with trends in most Western states. The climate for gay people in the two… Read more »

End Sexual-Orientation and Gender-Identity Discrimination in Guyana

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (“CEDAW Committee”), meeting this month at United Nations headquarters in New York City, will review the human-rights record of several countries that are signatory parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In recent years the CEDAW Committee has… Read more »

The Equal Rights Trust

Statement of Interest 1. The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) submits this parallel report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (the Committee) for its forthcoming review of the combined seventh and eighth periodic reports of Guyana under Article 18 of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms… Read more »

Gay Rights Slowly Coming Out of the Closet

Georgetown (IPS) – Over the past six months, governments in two influential Caribbean trade bloc member states – Jamaica and Guyana – have floated political test balloons on the question of whether colonial-era laws criminalising homosexuality should be amended in keeping with trends in most Western states. The climate for gay people in the two… Read more »

Roman Catholic Church urges end to sexual discrimination

The Roman Catholic Church wants an end to sexual discrimination of persons, even as the religious body contemplates the pros and cons of scrapping colonial laws against buggery. President of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau, Bahamas has highlighted “the Catholic Social Tradition which urges us to challenge laws which discriminate… Read more »

Guyanese, resist all calls to discriminate!

On the afternoon of April 22, 2012 more than a hundred men and women came out to the poolside of Duke Lodge.  They were straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual. It was a fantastic celebration of being proud and Guyanese, as they participated in and supported the Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey: CARIMIS We were… Read more »

Guyana: Public consultation on removal of anti-gay laws

Authorities in Guyana are planning a series of public consultations on whether to repeal the country’s anti-gay laws. Guyana remains the only country in mainland South America with laws forbidding homosexuality on its statute books, though they are said not to be enforced. Homophobia and anti-gay laws remain widespread in the Caribbean, however, with which… Read more »

Sex workers call for a more educated police force

The Guyana Coalition of Sex Workers is advocating for a better educated Guyana Police Force capable of handling diverse issues in a mature manner. President of the coalition, Cracey Fernandes in an interview with Guyana Times called for a more professional approach by police officers in the treatment of gays, lesbians, transvestites and commercial sex… Read more »

Collateral Damage : The Social Impact of Laws affecting LGBT in Guyana

This report was authored by Christopher Carrico and published by the Faculty of Law UWI Rights Advocacy Project, Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies. From the Executive Summary This study focused on the social effects of laws that criminalise lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations and transgender identities in Guyana. It was designed to… Read more »

National consultations on scrapping gay laws delayed; SASOD calls it “inexcusable”

Guyana’s two-year old delay in holding national consultations on the decriminalizing of homosexuality is being labeled “inexcusable” by a gay advocacy group. And with time already running out for the next United Nations review, government is yet to say exactly when this work will begin. Scrapping British colonial laws was also one of the agenda… Read more »

SASOD’s war on discrimination far from over

says lack of relevant laws stymieing anti- discrimination efforts The lack of laws to protect homosexuals here proves a deterrent in the fight against discrimination, according to co-founder of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) Vidyaratha Kissoon. He told Guyana Times that while his organisation continues to work to eradicate discrimination against homosexuals, it… Read more »

Public policy must include gender identity – Kissoon

The Society against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) is urging a comprehensive review of a broad range of policy statements and is calling for the development of clear guidelines of policies in the public sector. Social rights activist, Vidyaratha Kissoon, who spoke on behalf of the society, said the education policy has shown signs of discriminatory… Read more »

Gay Guyana News & Reports 2011

1 Gay Bashing in Georgetown Guyana 1/11 2 Gov’t against sexual discrimination, But…3/11 3 Guyana keeps gay sex ban, opposes discrimination 3/11 4 Homosexuals… Dirty Words… and Me 6/11 5 Guyana gets it right criminalising HIV will not work! 9/11 6 Youth rises above rape, HIV+ status to become rights advocate 9/11 7 First hand… Read more »

Gay Guyana News & Reports 2001-10

1 Sexual orientation bill going back to perliament 1/01 2 Guyana debates gay rights bill groups advocate calm discussions 7/03 3 Shooting at gay wedding in Guyana injures one 3/04 4 Foreigners should not have to tell us about unacceptable behaviour 6/08 5 Male cross-dressers convicted 2/09 6 Human rights organisations call for end to… Read more »