Oct 27, 2015 News
– after allegedly being abused by her partner
By Romila Boodram
The sudden passing of human rights and LGBT activist, Zenita Nicholson, by way of an alleged suicide, has shown that even the toughest and strongest persons can give in to pressure at times.
The mother of two died around 03:15 yesterday at a private hospital after she reportedly ingested 10 carbide tablets.
It is believed that the woman, after being constantly abused, both mentally and physically by her partner, decided to end her life.
Nicholson’s death has sent shockwaves throughout the country as she was known as someone who fought against discrimination and human rights abuses and domestic violence for years.
She was a former Secretary to the Board of SASOD – Society against Sexual Orientation Discrimination.
Co-Chairman of SASOD, Joel Simpson, told this newspaper that at around 04:00 hrs yesterday, he received a call from a mutual friend who informed him that Nicholson had passed way.
“I immediately went to the hospital and my friend said that at a little after midnight (12:10 hrs) she (Zenita) called him and asked that he take her to the hospital since he (the friend) would reach her home faster than a taxi,” Simpson recalled.
He added that his friend further related that when he reached at the woman’s D’Aguiar Park, East Bank Demerara (EBD) home, she and her boyfriend reportedly entered his vehicle.
According to Simpson, his friend said that while in the car, Nicholson confessed to ingesting 10 carbide tablets.
The police have since launched an investigation after receiving reports that the woman had suffered months of physical abuse at the hands of her partner.
Simpson said that last Monday, the woman had told him that her partner of one year had been beating her and that she was making arrangements to move out of their home.
However, she later informed him that her boyfriend had moved into a friend’s house and that she would be staying at the D’Aguiar property until renovation on her house in South Ruimveldt was finished.
“I was out of the country and on Thursday, I heard that she and her boyfriend were getting back together and that they would be trying to work things out,” Simpson said.
According to SASOD Co-Chairman, members from the organization were shocked when they received the news of the woman’s death. “It has taken everyone by surprise.”
“She recently confided about the changes she was going through and we were supporting her but our support wasn’t enough. She was such a strong and confident person but she too gave into the situation,” Simpson noted.
In March 2014, Zenita was featured by Kaieteur News as a Special Person and described as a Woman of Courage.
In a statement, the US embassy said, “The US Embassy is very saddened to learn about the passing of our friend, Zenita Nicholson.”
In March 2015, the Embassy presented Zenita with the embassy’s 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.
According to the statement, Nicholson worked tirelessly in her quest for equal rights for all people regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Her advocacy with the government, local politicians, and the UN Human Rights Committee was vital in advancing the national dialogue.
The release added that 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.
“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 Embassy said in a statement.
The Embassy conveyed its condolences to Zenita’s family and friends.
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