The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) has noted an increase in cybercrime attacks against members of the local LGBT+ community owing to the covid-19 pandemic.
Joel Simpson, Managing Director of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) has noted a number of negative ways the pandemic has affected the local LGBT+ community.
The corona virus pandemic had restricted SASOD to virtual activities in a reduced format.
He noted that the period of quarantine and heavy restrictions from social activity had resulted less face-to-face attacks, whether physical or verbal, towards persons on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.
However, as with everything that became virtual, SASOD discovered a greater amount of cyberbullying towards persons within the LGBTQ+ community.
This lack of social activity, not only for SASOD but across the world, led to attacks becoming cyber in nature.
“I think that’s why we saw that uptick in cybercrimes during the pandemic. And now that things are going back to normal, not to say that cycber crimes are no longer happening, they’re still happening, but they’re not at the height we’d seen then.” Simpson added.
“I think at the same time, within the new normal … people are starting to interact physically again, and with that – conflict is also re-emerging.”
While there are laws safeguarding citizens from attacks, harassment and bullying of severe nature, Simpson notes that these are often not enforced for LGBT+ people.
Simpson said, “They are enshrined in Guyana’s constitution as part of our fundamental rights and freedoms; freedom of expression, rights to non-discrimination, rights to equality before the law. All of these rights are legally enforceable in Guyana. But oftentimes for LGBTQ people, because of prejudice, because of stigma, because of discrimination – we don’t experience and enjoy the freedoms like everyone else, like our cisgender and heterosexual counterparts.”