International Day Against Homophobia
SASOD joined with organisations in a number of countries around the world to commemorate International Day against Homophobia 2006.
On Monday 15 May, Stabroek News printed the press release which was issued to all media houses. None of the other newspapers issued the press release of activities.
On Tuesday 16 May, we screened the film Bent at Sidewalk Cafe. There were about 30 persons there for the screening. We wanted to make the point of the original Nazi persecution of homosexuals, linked to Archbishop Desmond Tutu's comparison of homophobia and apartheid. Some persons liked the film, others thought that it was too deep.
On Wednesday 17 May, SASOD and GUYBOW members participated in a live radio programme 'Let's Talk' from 10pm to 11:30pm. An important presentation was made by Ronnel Trotman who was arrested and fined for cross dressing and vagrancy. GuyBow members also noted that they witnessed the harassment by police/soldier patrols of persons perceived to be male sex workers. There were some key points in that crime ridden Guyana, the police priorities seemed misplaced. There were a couple of call ins to the programme - some which supported our views, while others opposed the views, one caller saying homophobia is a lot of hype and that gender confused people could change if they want to once they get the demons out.
Saturday May 20 - Interactive forum/exhibition at the National Library, Georgetown, Guyana from 10am to 3pm.
This exhibition was set up with GuyBow and SASOD at the National Library. The first participant who arrived, said he had heard the radio programme. He lives about 40 miles from Georgetown, and had left his home at 6am so he could be on time. Another older participant who also heard the radio programme came a little later.
Some of the persons who viewed the exhibition were students who were using the library.
We also aired the recordings prepared by Reverend Jide Macaulay from the Metropolitan Community Church in UK, and Imam Muhsin Hendricks from the Inner Circle in South Africa. We also read a statement from a Hindu worker of Guyanese origins who wanted to remain anonymous since he was still in touch with Guyana, the extract of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's foreword to the Amnesty Report on Homophobia, and the Dalai Lama's message to ILGA.
During the rights gaff, SASOD and GuyBOW agreed to do the following :-
1) to meet with the Guyana Police Force to discuss the harassment of cross dressers, and acknowledging that the HIV workers felt under threat by the police actions
2) To write to the Director of the National Blood Transfusion Service protesting the continued portrayal of HIV as a gay disease.. even going so far as to listing women who have sex with women as a higher risk than women who have sex with men
3.) To follow up on the application to the Ethnic Relations Commission on the homophobic lyrics.
4) to prepare and distribute flyers to people who are targetted by the police which would explain their rights, the powers of arrest and the remedies for complaints on improper police conduct
SASOD will also add the 'cross dressing' offence to the list of homophobic laws which need removing from the law books.
The evening activity at Oasis was well attended and enjoyed by those who stayed for the entire performance. There were recitations of Alan Moore's Mirror of Love and other poems; songs, and tango dances done by two men in the traditional Argentine fashion.
Funding for all activities was done from contributions from members and individuals. Special thanks to Sidewalk Cafe and Oasis Cafe for supporting these activities.