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Hundreds attend Pride Parade; LGBTQ community renews call for removal of discriminating laws

The annual Pride Parade kicked off from Parade Ground, Middle & Carmichael Streets on Saturday just after 15:00 hours which saw hundreds of persons from the LGBTQ community and other supporters rocking carnival like costumes and signature rainbow colours.

This event forms part of the Guyana Pride Festival which is organised by the Guyana LGBTQ Coalition. The festival seeks to highlight discrimination and stigma faced by the community.

Managing Director of Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) Joel Simpson told MTV News Update at the conclusion of the event that it is also an attempt to bring more attention to the colonial legislation that discriminates against the LGBTQ Community.

“It is an attempt to draw attention to that, this is why we spoke about this every opportunity that we had today and I also see this issue as being quite bipartisan and I think this is an issue we’re we can see bipartisan support

But all in all Simpson expressed that this was a success and thanked all the stakeholders who were involved in making this event a success.

“I am beyond satisfied, I am elated, because of COVID-19 pandemic, the weather was bad this week, we were nervous, we were tryna put contingencies in place for rain […] we had the full support of LGBTQ communities in Guyana as well as partner organisation, we had the presence of the British High Commission, Canadian High Commission, some of our international partners.”

The team also spoke with John, a participant of the parade who said it was stressful when the annual parade was postponed for two years.

"It was a little bit stressful but because of COVID and COVID came so sudden and we didn't had no control of COVID and it took two years from us. I felt like it was frustrating and then as a LGBTQ organisation fighting a country that does not understand equally part when it comes to LGBTQ persons, it was 100% stressful.”

“Now we have the opportunity […] I feel like that one barrier has been broken and we have like five more to be broken,” John expressed.

Another who only give his name as ‘Stay on’ said he never participated in the event before but he decided to join as he wanted to feel comfortable in his own skin.

37-year-old ‘Stay On’.

But you know as times progress and you advance in age, you wanna be free in life […] personally I think I waited too long, I am 37.”

“I am thankful for everything that Guyana has to offer me as a homosexual but somehow I feel robbed off my childhood. I felt like if I wanted to be myself much earlier other than now but I’m still grateful.”

Stay on made reference to the Netflix series ‘Grace and Frankie’ and said, “I don’t want to wait 72 years to live my life, I want to live now and I wanna do it now even though I would have feel robbed off my childhood.”

According to him, participating in the parade was “personal” to him and it was not just about ‘having fun’ but having the freedom to be his true self.

Karen Kitamon [Dj Kerry] revealed that she was scheduled to travel overseas to visit her family but instead chose to stay and enjoy the “Pride Parade” with her friends and family in the LGBTQ community.

Karen Kitamon [Dj Kerry]

“It was really nice, loving seeing my family and my friends and everybody just come out and sharing their flags, wearing their clothes and doing everything to show that they participate and they wanna be free from all the prosecution and whatever is it that people do to us.”

“It’s not an easy life to live, being gay, we’ve been through a lot of things, a lot of people discriminate a lot of times.”

The Pride Parade event was important for visibility for people in the LGBTQI+ community, Keisha Edwards posited.

Keisha Edwards.

“For many years in Guyana I feel like this community has been neglected and more and more as we develop there are people coming out and I think this year, even though we had Covid a large number came out.”

However, she noted that more needs to be done in terms of acceptance and support towards the community.

“I feel like there’s so much more work to be done in terms of support for the community. Still in Guyana people aren’t supported. Things are still happening to our trans brothers and sisters so for me we have a lot of work to do.”


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