Guyana’s laws continue to subject its lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LBTI) citizens to discrimination. Consensual same-sex conduct is illegal; Section 353 criminalises attempts to commit “buggery”, with a penalty of ten years imprisonment. There is no legal recognition for same-sex unions and marriages.
In 2015, following its first UPR review, Guyana voluntarily committed itself to consult on 28 recommendations of which seven related to decriminalising consensual same-sex adult sexual relations and discrimination against LGBT persons.
In 2014, Guyana indicated that it would not be able to support the UN Resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity and Expression, stating: â€œseveral of the issues addressed herein are currently the subject of deliberation by a special select committee of the National Assembly”.
In 2018, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that Section 153(1) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, that lists various minor offences, including ‘wearing of female attire by men and wearing of male attire by women in any public way or place, for any improper purpose’, in unconstitutional and must be struck down from the legal code.
Intersex people are subject to many challenges as they are not protected by law.
The last State party report was submitted in 2018 and contained no LGBTI-specific information.
At the 73rd Session, the CEDAW Committee provided Guyana with SOGIESC-focused recommendations. The Committee noted, including through the List of Issues, that the Guyanese constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex and gender, and notes that there are efforts from the State party to review the Prevention of Discrimination Act, 1997 to include sexual orientation and gender identity in its definition of discrimination.
The Committee also recommended that the State party the following:
(a) to adopt legislative and policy measures to protect LBTI people from discrimination, including at work, in healthcare and by law enforcement personnel, and from hate crimes, gender-based violence, and arbitrary arrest;
(b) to investigate, prosecute and adequately punish perpetrators of harm, and to provide safe spaces, support, and reparation, including compensation, to victims.
It also noted the ongoing development of training tools for healthcare workers on stigma and discrimination against LBT people but is concerned that they are not protected by the law in case of physical and sexual violence.
There was also concern at delays in adopting legislation protecting LBTI people from discrimination at work and in health-care facilities, hate crimes, gender-based violence and arbitrary arrest by law enforcement officers. The Committee also expressed its concern about the acts of violence against lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people.