Activists take to streets for Guyana’s first LGBT Pride parade

LGBT+ right activists at Guyana Pride holding up signs

LGBT activists in Guyana peacefully held the country’s first ever Pride parade over the weekend.

Guyana is the only country in South America to criminalise homosexuality, under Colonial-era laws, and LGBT people still often face discrimination.

But campaigners in the country risked arrest on Saturday (June 2) when they took to the streets for a Pride celebration.

Hundreds of participants marched through the streets of the country’s capital Georgetown to call for an end to anti-LGBT legal and social discrimination.

Marchers called for legal reform to decriminalise homosexuality, relax restrictions on transgender people, and permit same-sex couples to gain legal recognition.

Groups including Caribbean Equality, the Guyana Rainbow Foundation, Guyana Trans United and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) Guyana took part.

Guyana Pride Parade 2018 #23

Joel Simpson of SASOD said the time had come for politicians to act on the issue.

He told Demerama Waves: “We are saying enough of the rhetoric, enough of the promises. It is time to make good on the legislative changes that we heard about from both parties in the 2015 elections and we want to see action and we want action now.

“Our rights need to be respected like everybody else’s rights so this is a very, very visible way of demanding our rights.”

The parade went off without incident, he confirmed.

Simpson said: “The parade was incident free. There was a lot of chatter on Social Media here and there and so on but Guyana did us well, Guyana did us proud.

“We had a completely incident-free, safe, non-violent, first ever Guyana gay pride parade.”

The British High Commission in Guyana flew a Pride flag in support of the march – a poignant symbol given the Colonial origin of the country’s anti-LGBT laws.

High Commissioner Greg Queen tweeted: “Proud to be showing UK support to today’s pride march in Guyana by flying the rainbow flag at the High Commission.”

In a viral Facebook post during the event, one Guyanan father wrote to his lesbian daughter.

Ric Couchman wrote: “My country is about to have its first ever Gay Pride parade, but sadly it is taking place against the backdrop of bitter and hostile opposition from the leaders in Guyana’s Evangelical community.

“As I reflected on the occurrence of this momentous parade, my thoughts ran on you. I remember attending my first Gay Pride parade with you in New York City, and I remember the emotional pain you endured from the ensuing reactions after you came out of the so-called closet a couple of years before.


“I remember saying to you that if you are going to be consigned to hell because you are gay, that I would return my ticket to heaven (presumably received on account of my born-again status) and, in protest, join you in hell.

“I thought how much I love you in all your beautiful gayness and how I would give my life to protect your right to be who you are and that I would stand up to anyone to defend you, be it God or the Devil.

“My daughter, I want you to know that I am proud of you. There are many things in Nature that I cannot understand, and gayness (for want of a better term) is one such phenomenon in nature that I cannot understand, but I wholeheartedly embrace this seeming paradox as part of Nature’s inscrutable mosaic.

“And you are one of those beautiful natural paradoxes, cherished above all else. I love you, my gay daughter, like it is nobody’s business.”