Is there discrimination against homosexuals in Guyana?
Stabroek News
July 10, 2001

Dear Editor,

Ronald V. Alexander's letter captioned "It is time that all forms of bigotry come to an end" (SN, July 8th, 2001) seems to indicate that gays and lesbians in Guyana are being discriminated against, but he did not highlight any specific instance, recorded in the media or dealt with in a court of law, to support his contention of discriminatory practices.

He also opined that sexual orientation will sooner or later be dealt with by Guyana's parliament and nation if there is to be adherence to international laws and conventions.

Again, the questions must be asked: Is there a practice of discrimination against or abuse of gays and lesbians in Guyana? If so, are the existing laws that protect individual rights and freedoms not adequate to cover everyone as humans, regardless of their sexual orientation?

To ask parliament to make laws that would legitimize a behavior or lifestyle is truly making a mockery of the highest decision-making body in the land.

To also ask Guyanese to conform to the so-called international laws and conventions because they are applicable in other countries is to ask Guyanese to openly embrace a way of living not suitable for children to grow up emulating or considering as an option and alternative, whether as young children or young adults.

Supporters of the call for acceptance and recognition of gays and lesbians have to be sure they understand the impact such a lifestyle can have on children, not in secret, but openly.

No religious organisation has the right to condemn a gay or lesbian, but no one has the right to tell religious organisations, which have their own set rules and standards, to acquiesce to behavior previously forbidden among members of such organisations.

Religious organisations have been teaching and guiding people on moral laws which have roots in God's laws. Therefore, such organisations have the right to continue speaking out against such behavior. If, however, any such organisation has a change of heart, it is their prerogative. God does not change.

If by discrimination, one refers to keeping out gays and lesbians from membership of religious bodies, then gays and lesbians simply have to form their own religious bodies and not cry 'discrimination' against established and long serving organisations in the communities.

If by discrimination, one refers to keeping gays and lesbians out of government and private sector jobs, then one has to prove by verifiable facts, and not assumptions, that denial of employment or promotion was based on a person's sexual orientation.

Then there are reverse discrimination and reverse harassment, in which gays and lesbians, knowing the 'rights' they have, may favor one of their own for employment and promotion, or harass a 'straight' person on the job who they may be attracted to. Any refusal or complaint by 'straight' persons could be met with retaliatory steps, including dismissal or demotion, or reversed accusations. Will there not be laws to protect 'straight' persons against gays and lesbians?

Yours faithfully,
Emile Mervin,
Brooklyn, New York