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Guyana urged to end ban on gay sex

News Room Guyana

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(NEWS ROOM GUYANA) – A host of foreign governments on Wednesday urged Guyana to decriminalise sexual activity between men and urged protection for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

According to the Criminal Offences Act Chapter 8:01, anyone who commits buggery shall be guilty of felony and liable to imprisonment for life.

Further, the law says, “any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission, by any male person, of any act of gross indecency with any other male person shall be guilty of a misdemeanour’s and liable to imprisonment for two years.”

Gross indecency is not defined and so acts such as hugging and kissing by men could be included in this definition. Though on the books, these laws are not directly enforced by the Police.

Guyana is the only country in South America to criminalise gay sex; in fact, the law also makes anal sex between a man and woman illegal.

The statements for Guyana to decriminalise anal sex by consenting adults, including men, were made at the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Australia urged Guyana to repeal all provisions of the law criminalising sexual activity between consenting adults, including those of same-sex and take legislative and other measures to protect survivors of violence based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Argentina urged adopting necessary measures to ensure LGBT persons enjoy all their human rights and to remove laws that criminalise and stigmatise them. Argentina recommended investigation of and punishment of all cases of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.

“We are concerned that Guyana has seen no significant improvement in the positions of the LGBT… community.

“They continue to face discrimination and violence,” the representative from the Netherlands stated.

The Netherlands recommended “decriminalising homosexuality” in Guyana and urged that all forms of discrimination and violence against LGBT be combatted.

Guyana’s Ambassador to the United Nations John Deep Ford did not directly respond to the statements but he did point out that in November 2018, the Caribbean Court of Justice struck down the law banning cross-dressing.

But advocates say the move to strike down the colonialist dress code had nothing to do with the government, rather, this was action taken by transgender persons supported by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD).

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