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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in GUYANA...
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(user currently living in UNITED STATES) posted for gay readers on 26/02/2010 tagged with hate crime and violence prevention, human rights, sexual orientation, illegality of male to male relationships +5
Besides feeling that my antidepressant is robbing me of the immediacy of the fear I am running from, I am also wondering whether my claim has failed to be substantiated with the body of evidence I have. I recently had a discussion with my lawyer about what is acceptable as evidence of persecution against gay men in Guyana.

I've recently scoured the local online newspapers for evidence of gay persecution. What I found were many articles of men being shot, bludgeoned, or stabbed. I reviewed the local news upon suggestion by someone who lives there. He stated that there are many gay men being murdered, continually, that are not reported in the local media as gay crimes. They aren't reported as such for a number of reasons. One is that the men were in the closet, having gay relations in secret. Another is that their families don't want the shame of this being made public. Still, another is that the local media has ignored these as gay crimes. The culmination of this lack of reporting is that the anti-gay beatings and murders are never reported. Human rights take a backseat to shame and willful obstructionism. It also gives me insight to the amazingly ignorant rationalizations, by my mother, of the murders. She insisted that all the gay deaths that the local population hear about, but fail to report as gay crimes are not due to bigotry or hate. They are only lovers' spats.

This means I have no way of substantiating that these murders were against gay men. In December 2008, there were two reported murders of gay men that I became aware of. One murder was reported in the local media. The other wasn't. The only reason I became aware that the man was gay, was that a blog, that has since been shut down, discussed that he was well known in the underground gay community. The entry also discussed he was murdered by women in his community to protect their men. In an unrelated but important discussion, it reported there was a 'credible' call to arms against all gay men in the country. The call to arms is to cleanse the country of a moral and biological disease.

Such threats are important and dangerous. They should be well-known, however, they aren't. The fact that the local media refuses to expose the hysteria and violence against gay men means that I have little evidence to prove this in my case. Even though I managed to capture these claims on the blog, it is still technically gossip. So in both the case where I have speculative evidence that a murder was a gay crime, and the others where I have no claim that the crimes were homophobic, I have no way of substantiating their validity. In neither case is there an independent and trustworthy source validating these murders for what they were - a product of homophobia. It is a cyclic and unproductive argument, but one that is important to my cause.

In speaking to Wallaby, I discussed why there is no evidence. I suggested it is because the local population of gay people are still in the closet, living on the fringes of society, with no tourism industry and foreign media to highlight their silent plight. All the countries that are well-known to be homophobic and violent, only came to light after international media stumbled upon it. Foreign tourists, I believe are an important mode of emboldening a local oppressed population. When gay tourists bring both expectations of freedom to have sex, and the money to help the local economy, it is a strong incentive for the local gay population to inherit a sense of entitlement that they too should be treated with dignity. They are more likely to fight for it with a open-minded foreign population to buffer them from the local populace. My country has no tourism industry, economic incentive to be more liberal, or foreign media oversight.

Such countries may also seem to experience a flare-up of anti-gay crimes in proportional magnitude to the aggressiveness of the gay population's fight for legitimacy. I would argue, that what would seem like increased intensity in bigotry, to quash the confidence of the gay population, is mostly an unmasking of the problem already prevalent. So in my country, there is a hidden epidemic of homophobia that the local and international media ignore and I have no way of reporting it to save my life.
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