'Stand Against Transphobia' photo-exhibition at National Library until Saturday

Published: April 3, 2014

 ON Monday last, Guyana Trans United (GTU) and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) launched their ‘Stand Against Transphobia’ photo exhibition in celebration of International Transgender Day of Visibility at the National Library’s conference room. 

Observed globally on March 31, International Transgender Day of Visibility is a day to visibly celebrate being transgender. It’s a day to raise awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender individuals and to highlight accomplishments. It is also an important day for allies and stakeholders to show their support for transgender people. GTU and SASOD joined these global celebrations in an effort to raise awareness of the issues
Trans activist and member of the Guyana Trans United, Twinkle, giving the keynote speech  
Trans activist and member of the Guyana Trans United, Twinkle, giving the keynote speech
and showcase Guyanese transgender people through this photo-exhibition.
 The ‘Stand Against Transphobia’ photo-exhibition is the first of its kind in Guyana. Giving a brief overview of the photo-exhibition, photographer and curator Ulleli Verbeke, SASOD’s Co-Chair, shared that, “each photo portrays a trans-woman and is annotated with a brief quote on their lives and accomplishments. She expressed that, “the women featured in this exhibition are fearless and I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work with each of them on this project.” She thanked them for participating and for allowing her to share their stories.
Openly sharing about her life as a trans-woman, and highlighting some of the many acts of discrimination and human rights abuses meted out to her and many other transgender people, was trans activist and GTU member, Twinkle. She chronicled her life from the time she discovered that she was “a woman trapped in a man’s body” and the discrimination she experienced from family and peers. She spoke about the many acts of stigma and discrimination experienced by other transgender Guyanese from their families, employers, healthcare workers and the general population.
Also speaking at the photo-exhbition was Mr Derek Lambe, who spoke in the capacity of Chargé d’ Affaires for the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and for the Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories. He noted that, “For the European Union, human rights and fundamental freedoms are the ‘silver thread’ running through our actions both at home and in our external relations. The EU’s position is that the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons are protected under existing international human rights law and that transgender, and LGBI persons have the same rights as all other individuals — no new human rights are created for them; but neither should any be denied to them. These rights include: equality before the law, right to privacy, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, right to work and the right to health. The EU, similarly to the United Nations, is committed to the principle of the universality of human rights and reaffirms that cultural, traditional or religious values do not justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against transgender and LGBTI persons.”
The European Union also encourages the Government of Guyana to repeal the laws criminalising same sex intimacy and cross-dressing, Mr. Lambe stated, “We fully support SASOD and Guyana Trans United in their efforts in this area. The EU demonstrates its support for LGBTI issues in relations with the government, in public statements, in international fora, and also in providing funding to assist civil society organisations. The European Union Delegation in Guyana is proud to have been able to provide funding to the Equal Rights Trust and SASOD to support them in their efforts to combat discrimination and to advocate for legal reform, and to address societal prejudice,” he added.
He concluded that “one of the reasons for the international Transgender Day of Visibility is also to focus on all the good things in the trans community. This has been done beautifully in this excellent photographic exhibition, which gives a face to transgender Guyanese persons, both literally and symbolically. I congratulate Guyana Trans United and the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD).”

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