When You Say Decriminalize, What Do You Even Mean?

What does decriminalizing same-sex intimacy really mean in Guyana?

The question above is the finish line; let’s begin this conversation at the starter block. What is same-sex intimacy? Intimacy is often described as closeness, attachment, connection between two people; it can also mean sexual relations between two people. Same-sex intimacy is, as the term connotes, intimacy between people of the same sex.

For as long as I can remember, intimacy between couples of them same sex has been frowned upon. Why? Well, we live in an overly religious society and people are quick to whip out biblical verses in opposition, often neglecting to consider the other infractions they themselves commit that are recorded as ‘sins’ in the pages of the same book, some remember conveniently (I am a ‘Christian’, by the way).

Another important reason it’s disapproved of is because awareness and education on the issues are dismal. Conversations about anything remotely related to sex and sexuality are dismissed in society. Sex itself is still taboo and many persons are even comfortable to say the word in public. SEX! SEX! SEX! Sex is seen as an act that you should be ashamed of. Well yes, because many of us who engage, fornicate and well (grab your bibles), fornication is considered a sin!

Same-sex couples are not a new fad; couples have existed forever and will continue to exist until the end of time. Get with it! Understanding that persons’ fall within a spectrum from heterosexual to homosexual with bisexual in the middle is paramount – this is called sexual orientation. Understanding that sexual orientation means who you are attracted to emotionally, romantically or sexually is essential. As an individual you could be attracted to the different sex, the same sex or both. Do you! Sexual orientation is what is in your HEART – feelings and emotions towards another.

So, we’re first and foremost human beings who are attracted to … other human beings. Ask yourself this question, who are you to say that John should not like Mary, or that Greg should not like Jason, or that Lisa should not like Kelly? Would you appreciate someone telling you that you cannot love whomever you want to? You might not understand it, but does your ignorance give you the right to interfere with someone else’s life? Most of these people you know from NOWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Attractions and connections are not always sexual. I might like you, I might be deeply aroused by you, but I might not want to be sexual because of a number of reasons. It’s crazy to assume that everyone in a relationship has sex. It’s also crazy to care or to be vested in anyone’s bedroom stories besides your own. Sexual activities and sexual behaviours are diverse, and range from soft to hardcore. Who does what is the least of our concern. A lookout, however, is to encourage persons to be safe in their encounters. Same-sex, different sex, whatever you do in the bedroom is up to you. Enjoy! Ask yourself this question, would you appreciate someone telling you what activities you should indulge in? Preferences are diverse, so are activities.

In Guyana, Sections 351 to 353 of the Criminal Offences Act prohibits specifically male-to-male same-sex ‘gross indecency,’ and ‘buggery’ and ‘attempted buggery’ in both heterosexual and homosexual intimacy (EVERYBODY!). These laws are archaic colonial laws derived from the British, who themselves have since changed their laws to respect the rights of all citizens.

Approaching the finish line! Now that we’ve discussed intimacy and same-sex intimacy, what does decriminalizing this mean for Guyana?

Firstly, and quite simply, it will mean that male same-sex intimacy between consenting adult men in private is no longer outlawed. It will NOT mean same-sex marriage. It will provide the freedom and peace of mind required to positively live and dwell in your own skin and country.

Secondly, it will begin to erase stigma and discrimination which can eventually lead to protection for LGBT persons in the areas of education, employment, health-care, housing and other areas in which they currently face intensified levels of stigma and discrimination.

Thirdly, it will mean that the world will go on. The Government of Guyana has signed a number of treaties and conventions that speak to respecting and promoting the rights of all its citizens. The Government has gone a step further to include these international laws into its domestic laws, thus reinforcing and amplifying its commitment to protection and equality for all.

What did YOU think it would mean???

Cover photo: SheKnows

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