Civil society and human rights activist, Zenita Nicholson was last evening awarded the Woman of Courage Award by the United States Embassy here in recognition of her courageous works.
The event, the local equivalent the US Secretary of State’s International Woman of Courage Award, was held in honour of Nicholson for her embodiment of the principles of women’s leadership on issues of global importance and raising public awareness to protect the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons.
“She is committed to persevering and prevailing in her quest for equal rights for all people whatever their gender or sexual orientation. Zenita’s unwavering commitment to justice and equality has given hope to many both in Guyana and throughout the Caribbean,” said Chargé d’ Affaires, Bryan Hunt in his address at his University Gardens residence.
Nicholson is the Country Coordinator for the Caribbean Vulnerable Com-munities/PANCAP Global Round 9 Vulnerable Groups Project.
She advocates, both locally and internationally, for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender persons and is on the Board of Trustees for the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination.
Hunt said that it is because of her advocacy with government, local politicians and the UN Human Rights Committee that a commitment from the Government of Guyana to initiate a national dialogue on the decriminalization of LGBT activities was secured.
Nicholson dedicated her award to LGBT persons who were killed because of hate and to those living in Guyana where adult same sex intimacy and cross dressing are criminalized and highly stigmatized.
She said that she was also sharing the award with the ordinary people who dare to express their sexual orientation and gender identity and whose lives are filled with violence, rejection abuse and discrimination in many forms.
“I know their struggles and I am very proud to be part of the human rights movement in Guyana calling for the repeal of discriminatory laws and enactment of laws which protect people from discrimination, based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,” she said.
“I dedicate this award to the LGBT Guyanese who fight daily struggles for their very existence, without recognition, reward or recompense,” she added.