first_imgUnited States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch on Wednesday reminded that persons from the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community are subjected to equal treatment, while mentioning that justice and protection must be for all.She shared these words during the celebration of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) at the Pegasus Hotel, in the company of Government and Opposition members and other officials from the diplomatic corp.IDAHOTB is celebrated on May 17 and is seen as the day to raise awareness on the violation of LGBT rights. As such, the Ambassador shared that there must be inclusivity with individuals from the LGBT society.“Gay rights are human rights. I cannot emphasise this enough. If we as a community are committed to ensuring that all people are respected and treated equally, then it is imperative to remember that this includes the LGBT community as well. Justice and protection must be for all. LGBT individuals, as well as other marginalised people, are entitled to a full measure of dignity and rights,” Lynch expressed.She called out the Caribbean, where persons have been victimised because of their affiliation with the LGBT community. Others, on the other hand, have been faced with other forms of inequalities.It was mentioned that Guyana has developed this atmosphere for persons to be comfortable but some challenges are still observed.“In the Caribbean, many LGBT youths face social, economic, educational and other disparities. Though Guyana has made a measure of progress in this regard, some issues persist,” the US Ambassador stated.She later added, “We know that the human rights obstacles that people in the LGBT community experience sometimes arise from deeply held personal, political, cultural and religious beliefs. While those personally held beliefs must be respected, so must the basic rights of our brothers, sisters, parents and children who are gay.”Lynch asserted that her Government remains committed towards protecting the rights of all LGBT persons. She mentioned organisations which advocate for gay rights and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) was listed as one of the frontrunners.Founder of SASOD, Joel Simpson, shared that Guyana is making small strides in moving towards a safer place for LGBT individuals. Last year, the first pride parade was held and for this, he explained that small achievements must be celebrated.“This is an occasion to celebrate the small wins and the progress that we have made. We are well aware that there is a far way to go,” he stated.Last November, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled in favour of striking down Guyana’s laws against cross-dressing, saying that the colonial-era law was unconstitutional. After gaining independence from Britain in 1966, Guyana adopted many colonial-era laws, including the 1893 Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act that effectively banned men or women from wearing clothing conventionally worn by the opposite gender for “improper purposes”.This section was never clearly defined leaving the door open for constitutional challenges which appellants Quincy “Gulliver” McEwan, Seon “Angel” Clarke, Joseph “Peaches” Fraser and Seyon “Isabella” Persaud mounted against their February 9, 2009 arrest, detention and conviction in Georgetown. After they appealed the law banning their mode of dress, former acting Chief Justice Ian Chang in September 2013 said that while the act of cross dressing was not a crime in itself, when for an “improper purpose”, it constitutes an offence. That ruling was also appealed at Guyana’s Appeal Court, but their case was similarly dismissed in 2017.This year, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia will be celebrated under the theme “Justice and Protection for All”.US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynchlast_img read more