“Sex workers rights are human rights”, “Sex work is work,”, “LGBT rights are human rights”, “Anti-man rights are human rights” and “We want to justice,” were among the chants by members of the transgender and sex worker community who marched through sections of Georgetown to demand justice for the number of gays who were killed last year.
The march was held to coincide with the first anniversary of the killing of 19-year old Wesley “Tiffany” Holder on January 11, 2013 and the dumping of his body near the St. Phillip’s Anglican Church. The others were Delon Melville whose body was found aback Mocha in August and 36-year old Nandkumar Purnwassie also known as Vishaul, Champa and Darshinie whose battered body was found on a street at Anchor Ville, Port Mourant, Corentyne in November.
Guyana Trans United (GTU) Director Quincy “Gulliver” Mc Ewan told Demerara Waves Online News at the end of the march near the St. George’s Cathedral that since Holder’s killing there has been an escalation in the number of homosexuals being killed.
“Since then, it has been a trend in it…We are saying in the space of one year, three LGBT (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender) persons have been murdered and nothing has come out of its, nobody has been locked up. We are asking for justice because we believe because we are part of the LGBT community, it has a lot of stigma and sometimes nobody wants to investigate this matter,” said Mc Ewan.
Joel Simpson of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) said the police have showed little enthusiasm in solving those crimes, apparently because they have been committed against homosexuals. “There’s a lack of will to investigate these incidents against transgender people because of trans-phobia and homophobia in the police force,” said Simpson.
Another humbug, he said, was the police lacking the resources to carry out forensic investigations that could lead to successful arrests and prosecutions.
The SASOD official said the sex worker and transgender community planned to seek recourse at the level of the Ombudsman and the constitutional Women and Gender Equality Commission. “This is a murder of a transgender female sex worker so we are hoping that some of these commissions that exist in the face of a failing judicial system, they would be more equipped to take reports, take documentations to help to further some of these causes,” said Simpson.
The estimated 20 persons also carried placards that read “We are citizens, we must be protected,” “Sex work is work,” “Stop the violence,” and “We are not the problem. We are part of the solution.”
Director of the Guyana Sex Worker Coalition, Miriam Edwards expressed solidarity with the plight facing the sex worker and transgender community. “This is a good initiative because after years of being abused the trans community came together and formed their own organisation because it takes a lot of courage to do such a march and also to stand up for your rights because we know the trans community is being highly stigmatized.”