Guyana scored zero in the areas of Education and Personal Safety and Violence in the latest LGBT Inclusion Index to be done in the country.
In the ranking, zero indicates that there is either no inclusion for LGBT persons or the existing laws have the possibility of harming persons who identify as being from the LGBT community.
According to the report, which was launched today, LGBT inclusion is strongest in the health sector (0.67), followed by the sphere of political and civic participation (0.426).
However, it was found that LGBTI inclusion in the areas of economic empowerment (0.11), education (0) and personal safety and violence (0) is very alarming.
Using a scale that runs from 1 to 0, the LGBT Inclusion Index measures the level of inclusion of LGBT people in five strategic areas – health, education, political and civic participation, economic empowerment and security and violence – base on 51 indicators, which are compatible to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), across the five LGBT populations.
The index was developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the World Bank. It was piloted locally by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD).
SASOD’s Researcher and Attorney, Kesaundra Alves, explained that in the Education Sector, Guyana has no law, constitutional provision or regulation that specifically prohibits discrimination against students in educational settings based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).
However, she said in the area of Health, there are non-discrimination laws and policies for healthcare workers that specifically mention sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.
She said while the country scored 0.426 in the area of political and civic participation there is significant room for improvement.
“In canvasing the landscape, legal and policy landscape, we found that in relation to criminalization, private consensual same sex activities between adults is illegal, and this is because of gross indecency between males is criminalized, attempted buggery is criminalized and buggery is criminalized. We also have no laws, thankfully since the cross dressing law was struck down, we have no laws that criminalize people on the basis of gender expression, so that was a positive thing,” the Attorney explained.
She further explained that the index found that there is no law in Guyana that restricts the freedom of expression, civic participation or association related to SOGIESC, however, in the area of Economic well-being, there are no law that specifically safeguard the rights of LGBTI persons.
“We found that Guyana’s constitution provides overarching protection from discrimination for Guyanese in Article 149 (2), which sets out the grounds on which discrimination is prohibited in Guyana, and these grounds include sex and gender but there is no expressed inclusion of SOGIESC. We found that in relation to employment, we have a Prevention of Discrimination Act that deals with discrimination in employment, and it does not cover sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression,” Alves explained.
According to the Index Report, Guyana has no hate crime legislation or law that prohibits the sexual orientation and gender identity ‘conversion therapy’ in Guyana.
The report has put forward 14 recommendations, including a proposal for the legal framework to be amended to prohibit discrimination against persons including students, and the decriminalization of private consensual same-sex activity between adults.