Dec 04, 2022 Letters
Three recent articles caught my attention: “Mental health crusader Antoine Craigwell fights to ensure equal access for LGBTQ+ people of colour” (SN, Nov. 27, 2022), “I’m accusing the US embassy of discrimination,” (KN, Dec. 1, 2022), and “LGBTQ community can visit Qatar, but don’t try to change us – minister” (KN, Dec. 2, 2022, Reuters story). In the first article it was stated: “Craigwell does not identify as gay or bisexual.
According to him, sexuality is fluid and he is simply a man; he could be static or fluid at any given time. He has been married twice to women, but he has had relations with both men and women, which started since he was a young man in Guyana.” The photo caption in the article was, “Antoine Craigwell with members from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Desiree Edgill, head of Artiste in Direct Support, and a member of NAPS after a forum that addressed HIV and mental health.”
Issues raised were acceptance of self and by others, the role that religion and churches play in perpetuating homophobia … and about growing old as a gay black man. “My work is now about raising awareness and commitment to ensuring that black people and black gay men and by extension LGBTQ+ people of colour get access to mental health care. That they are aware of what mental health is,” he said.
“Craigwell, who left Guyana some 30 years ago, said as a young man in Georgetown he had several relationships with people of both sexes, but he knew to be discreet because the society and culture here then did not accept someone who was involved in a same sex relationship. He said he was proud that an organisation such as the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) could have been founded in Guyana.” Why was Craigwell addressing the GDF? Does the GDF have a gay problem? Who is paying for someone to tell us he goes with men and women, and that gender is a sliding scale where you can be a man or a woman at choice, regardless of your body parts?
However, in the second article, a popular columnist said: “The US embassy bankrolls an LGBTQ entity named SASOD and no other group in the broad category of rights activism gets money from the embassy. In fact, SASOD was started with funds from the US embassy. SASOD receives its funds from mainly the US embassy with occasional donations from the Canadian and British High Commissions. The EU mission here also donates funds to SASOD. Those funds pay the monthly rent of SASOD’s Charlotte Street office. It is my opinion that SASOD is an anti-Indian outfit and is zealously anti-government; take that to mean anti-PPP. One needs to mention also that there are no term limits for SASOD office holders. Its head… has been there since the empire of Timbuktu disintegrated. My question is – how can the US embassy bankroll such an organization? Interestingly, a competitor to SASOD was formed in 2020. This is a more politically neutral body although one of its founders is close to one of the PPP big names. My point is why SASOD is such a special child of the western embassies? I close with my position on homosexuality. I have no objection to LGBTQ activities. I am not against same sex marriage. I simply want to know why a questionable organization like SASOD gets so much money from the US embassy.”
And finally, the third article said, “Members of the LGBTQ community can go to the World Cup in Qatar but the West cannot ‘dictate’ to Qataris what they should believe, Qatar’s energy minister said.”If they want to visit Qatar, we have no problem with it,” Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, speaking to the Bild newspaper in comments published on Wednesday. But he said the West wants to “dictate what it wants” to Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal. “If you want to change me so that I will say that I believe in LGBTQ, that my family should be LGBTQ, that I accept LGBTQ in my country, that I change my laws and the Islamic laws in order to satisfy the West – then this is not acceptable,” he added.
Guyana needs to beware of those promoting the Sexual Deviant Movement in Guyana and fight to preserve our family values and traditions. To pay for someone to come tell our GDF that he goes with both men and women is reprehensible. Wake up Guyana!
Dr. Jerry Jailall
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