It is time to say “No” to intolerance and hatred disguised as religious beliefs

Dear Editor,

Thank you for publishing the letter from Ms Bernice Walcott (SN 30 May, 2018 – Say no to Gay Pride Parade) who is opposed to equality for LGBT citizens and to the Gay Pride March. It is horrifying to see how far sections of the Christian community would go to support the discrimination against LGBT citizens. It is one thing to state a belief on religious grounds, it is another when those beliefs are supported by sickening falsehoods.

Sections of the Christian community like to claim that the calls for LGBT equality are about encouraging child sexual abuse. These claims by those Christians must be condemned. The 1993 March on Washington by over 800,000 LGBT citizens had a platform of demands. The demands did not include endangering of children. According to the Queer Resource Archive (http://www.qrd.org/qrd/events/mow/mow-full.platform ), the marchers stated their demand as  :-

“1. We demand passage of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender civil rights bill and an end to discrimination by state and federal governments including the military; repeal of all sodomy laws and other laws that criminalize private sexual expression between consenting adults.

2. We demand massive increase in funding for AIDS education, research, and patient care; universal access to health care including alternative therapies; and an end to sexism in medical research and health care.

3. We demand legislation to prevent discrimination against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered people in the areas of family diversity, custody, adoption and foster care and that the definition of family includes the full diversity of all family structures.

4. We demand full and equal inclusion of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered people in the educational system, and inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies in multicultural curricula.

5. We demand the right to reproductive freedom and choice, to control our own bodies, and an end to sexist discrimination.

6. We demand an end to racial and ethnic discrimination in all forms.

7. We demand an end to discrimination and violent oppression based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, identification, race, religion, identity, sex and gender expression, disability, age, class, AIDS/HIV infection.”

The 2015 elections manifestos of APNU+AFC and the PPP/C indicated promises to outlaw discrimination against LGBT citizens. Those promises have not been kept

It is frightening how far some Christians would go to push their homophobic beliefs. In January 2017, 289 prominent Guyanese and Caribbean Christians appealed  to Donald Trump for light instead of the “shadows of ‘LGBT’ coercion and the ‘same-sex agenda’.

(http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00054678/00001 ) . Donald Trump’s presidency has been characterised by racial and sexist behaviours and policies.

There is misinformation which has been fed to many in Guyana to support homophobic agendas. It is unfortunate that homophobic Guyanese Christians are not questioning the claims they are repeating.

It is time in Guyana to say “No” to intolerance and hatred disguised as religious beliefs.  It is time to say “No “to lies to push homophobic agendas. It is time to say yes to acceptance of diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity, to dialogue and understanding.

Yours faithfully,

Vidyaratha Kissoon

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