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US embassy saddened at the passing of Human Rights advocate Zenita Nicholson

Zenita Nicholson

The U.S. Embassy says is very saddened to learn about the passing of our friend, Zenita Nicholson.

In March of 2014, the U.S. Embassy awarded Zenita with our first ever International Woman of Courage Award in recognition of her exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for the protection of the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) persons.

Nicholson died at the St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital, Georgetown after ingesting several carbon tablets, a rodenticide. A friend and executive member of the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, Jpel Simpson said she had been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of her Mauritian partner who is a medical student at one of the offshore universities here.

The embassy went on to say that Zenita worked tirelessly in her quest for equal rights for all people regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Zenita’s advocacy with the government, local politicians, and the UN Human Rights Committee was vital in advancing the national dialogue.  As a member of the Board of Trustees for the Society against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD), Zenita successfully lobbied for resolutions on human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity at the OAS General Assembly. As an active lead member of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), Zenita worked closely with bilateral and multilateral donors to help Guyana reach its national goal of sustainable HIV epidemic control.

The American embassy adds that Zenita’s work reflected her unwavering commitment to justice and equality for all people.  Her passion has inspired many, both in Guyana and throughout the Caribbean to continue this struggle.  While Zenita’s life has been tragically cut short, it is our hope that her legacy will endure and that Guyana and the Caribbean will build societies free from the homophobia and transphobia against which she so effectively fought.

The U.S. Embassy conveys our sincerest condolences to Zenita’s family and friends.  Her infectious smile, captivating personality, and wise counsel will be sorely missed.