Transgender persons have the same right as everyone else to be treated with consideration

Dear Editor,

We condemn without reservation the attack perpetrated on members of the transgender community on the night of Monday, April 7. Two were hit and injured by projectiles.

On April 15, the Indian Supreme Court in recognising the identity and dignity of the transgender persons pointed that the moral failure does not lie with the transgender community but with “society’s unwillingness to contain or embrace different gender identities and expressions, a mindset which we have to change.” The Supreme Court traced the history of transgender persons in India, their contribution to culture and their place in religion.

We have a cross-dressing law, imposed by the British colonial government a long time ago. The British people and their monarchy have moved on; we in Guyana have not. We have kept the cross-dressing law and we enforce it against transgender persons, but not against anyone else. We should repeal this outdated law.

In a civilised society people accept differences, recognizing the right of each individual to live a life free from gratuitous persecution.

We should acknowledge that transgender individuals, like everyone else, should enjoy this right. Transgender persons are human beings and they have dignity as human beings. They have the same rights as everyone else to be treated with consideration.

In 2013 Wesley Holder known as Tiffany was killed in Georgetown, Delon Melville was killed in Moca, Nankumar Punwasi was killed in Tain Village. Martin D’Aguiar died in a fire in Crabwood Creek – the Fire Services investigation pointed to arson.

In a civilised society people do not use violence to express themselves. Violence undermines human dignity. Violence undermines the dignity of the victim and the perpetrator. An unprovoked attack on any other person is cowardly, backward and unacceptable. It is also illegal.

We condemn all violence, including violence directed against transgender persons. We ask everyone in Guyana to join us and to say no to violence.

Yours faithfully,

Melinda Janki

Justice Institute Guyana              

Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB

Roman Catholic Church in Guyana

Mohamed R Ali (Asst Secretary)

Guyana Bar Association

Ralph Ramkarran

Cameron and Shepherd

Josephine Whitehead

Help and Shelter

Denise Dias

Alicea Foundation/ Mothers in Black

Schemel Patrick

Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Quincy McEwan

Guyana Trans United

Karen De Souza

Red Thread

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