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SASOD to conduct further studies on mental health and wellness in LGBT+ youths

SASOD is currently working on total of four studies to raise awareness and examine areas where they can better assist LGBT+ people in Guyana and, where possible, advocate for policy change.

Two of the four reports being put forth for study by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) deal with wellness in LGBT+ youths.

SASOD is currently writing the Ministry of Heath’s Institutional Board for ethics approval to carry out research on how the pandemic impacted mental health in LGBT youths. That report is expected to be launched near the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Managing Director Joel Simpson says they are working on a comprehensive Wellness report which will look at mental health in addition to social and financial wellness, access to education, self-care and access to general healthcare.

“Health in general comprehensively. We want to look at the issue of wellness like what’s needed in terms of access to services. What kind of information does our communities need that they’re not getting from the mainstream health system? Where they’re not getting that we will try to supplement with more targeted information and also advocate with policy makers for services and programmes which address some of these gaps in terms of wellness.”

SASOD hopes to launch this comprehensive wellness report in a few months. The Researcher is currently doing analysis and writing up the first draft.

The polling report, which will be launched late next month, deals with the levels of homophobia, society’s level of tolerance and acceptance as well as views on legislative change that would positively impact the LGBT+ community.

The final report examines colonial era laws surrounding vagrancy and loitering since, Simpson notes, that LGBT+ people are disproportionately affected by this legislation despite it not being specific to any gender or sexuality.

Joel Simpson, Managing Director at SASOD

“But we are seeing them being disproportionately targeted against queer people and gender non-conforming people who often find themselves on the streets because they’re homeless, they’ve been put out, their families don’t accept them so they go home when everybody else is asleep or because they engage in sex work or whatever the case may be. We are gathering evidence that suggest these laws are disproportionately being used against sexual and gender minorities.”

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