LGBT rights in Guyana
|LGBT rights in Guyana|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Male illegal. Female "indecent acts" illegal.|
|2 years in prison for gross indecency between men, 10 years in prison for attempted buggery, life in prison for buggery|
|Military service||Yes, according to the Army Chief of Staff Commodore|
|Same-sex marriage illegal|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Guyana face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Male and female same-sex sexual acts in Guyana are illegal and are punishable with life imprisonment.
Laws about same-sex sexual activity
According to the Criminal Law (Offences) Act of Guyana:
Section 352. Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission, or procures or attempts to procure the commission, by any male person, of any act of gross indecency with any other male person shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and liable to imprisonment for two years.
Section 353. Everyone who-
(a) attempts to commit buggery; or
(b) assaults any person with intent to commmit buggery; or
(c) being a male, indecently assaults any other male person,
shall be guilty of felony and liable to imprisonment for ten years.
Section 354. Everyone who commits buggery ... shall be guilty of felony and liable to imprisonment for life.
Section 355. Everyone who-
(a) does any indecent act in any place to which the public have or are permitted to have access; or
(b) does any indecent act in any place, intending thereby to insult or offend any person,
shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and liable to imprisonment for two years.
The law does not specifically define "buggery", "gross indecency", or "indecent".
Following a call from Dr. Edward Greene, the United Nations Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS to the Caribbean, to decriminalize homosexuality, the Guyana government announced in April 2012 that it was launching a national debate on whether to overhaul the country's laws that discriminate against LGBT people. Religious groups voiced their opposition to any changes in those laws.
On 2013, the Government created a Parliamentary Commission to decide whether to scrap the country's buggery laws. It will start receiving public submissions in early 2014.
Discrimination against LGBT persons
In December 2000, the National Assembly of Guyana unanimously approved a proposed amendment to the constitution that would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. But the efforts of religious leaders prior to the March 2001 elections caused President Bharrat Jagdeo to deny his assent to the amendment. A new amendment, containing only the sexual orientation clause, was put before the assembly in 2003, although it made no progress and was later withdrawn by the government.
Adoption of children
Army Chief of Staff Commodore Gary Best declared in November 2012 that the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has no problem with same-sex relationships.
No one is discriminated against at the GDF. So, same-sex relationships is not a problem but how persons conduct themselves.
Best's statement came after the GDF sanctioned two female soldiers for engaging in a sex act with each other. A video of the act was leaked to the public. The sanctions caused former Speaker of the National Assembly Ralph Ramkarran to criticize homophobia in the disciplined forces as well as the government's evasive approach on the issue of same-sex relations.
According to a recent poll carried out by CADRES titled 'Attitudes Towards Homosexuals in Guyana', about twenty-five percent of respondents "hate" homosexuals, while thirty-nine percent are "tolerant" and nineteen percent claim they are "accepting". A 2010 Vanderbilt University study found that 7.5% of respondents support same-sex marriage, while a 2013 CADRES study found the figure to be 14%.
- Criminal Law (Offences) Act, Guyana
- "Caribbean plans regional approach to abolish gay laws", Demerara Waves Media, authored by Denis Scott Chabrol, 19 February 2012
- "Guyana seeks public opinion on controversial laws", reported by Bert Wilkinson, The Associated Press, published on the website of The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 April 2012
- Demara Waves. Guyana's gay rights organisation preparing for parliamentary select committee. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- "Constitution (Amendment Number 2) Bill No. 9 of 2003". Government Information Agency. 2003-07-18. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
- "Guyana: Treatment of homosexuals and state protection available to them (2004 - September 2006)", Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 20 October 2006
- "Intercountry Adoption: Guyana", Bureau of Consular Affairs, United States Department of State, September 2010
- "Army won't discriminate against its gay soldiers", The Daily Herald, 21 November 2012