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Upbeat pre-Christmas news from Guyana, Malaysia

Three upbeat news items involving countries with anti-LGBTI laws, courtesy of UNAIDS Equal Eyes recaps of the world’s LGBTI-related news.

Barring an unexpected event, this post is probably the final pre-Christmas publication on the Erasing 76 Crimes blog. We’ll return after Christmas and hope you will join us here then.

Appeal for change in Guyana

Leslie Ramsammy (Photo courtesy of
Leslie Ramsammy (Photo courtesy of

In Guyana, former health minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy called on the Caribbean community to “demonstrate leadership” and repeal laws that that “stigmatize, discriminate and criminalize” the LGBT community, Stabroek News reported.

Ramsammy said, “Guyana is today one of about five countries in the world that in accordance with the law can sentence a person in the LGBT community .. for simply engaging in same-sex relations in the privacy of their homes.” [Editor’s note: Ramsammy vastly understated the number of countries with such laws; there are about 79 of them.] Under Guyana’s Criminal Law (Offences) Act, same-sex relations between gay men attract a jail term of 10 years to life.

Ramsammy said in a statement, “If we are serious about achieving the goals and targets to end AIDS by 2030 in accordance with the global collective agreements, Guyana signed under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), then we in Guyana and in Caricom must demonstrate leadership.”

$20 million to assist trans people

The US- and UK-based Arcus Foundation and US based NoVo Foundation pledged a combined $20 million to support global transgender issues, including ending violence, expanding economic opportunities, and increasing the inclusion of transgender people in society.

Gay imam in Malaysia: Islam accepts gay relationships

Screen image of a tweet from LGBT imam.
Screen image of a tweet from LGBT imam.

From Malaysia, an imam used Twitter to anonymously speak out about being gay and Muslim. His posts claiming Islam accepts gay relationships as long as they are not consummated — as it forbids sex out of wedlock — sparked debate across the platform.

As the week’s curator for the @twt_LGBT Twitter account, the man, who referred to himself only as “Adik,” described  himself to be a “gay imam” and said that he wanted to share his life story and experiences in being a homosexual Muslim in Malaysia.

“Saya nak kongsi hidup sebagai seorang imam yang gay (I would like to share my life as a gay imam),” he tweeted.

Aside from sharing his experiences, Adik also invoked several arguments and connotations on Islamic teachings in aspects of homosexuality and his opinion on what it was to be a gay Muslim. The social media discussion snowballed into a heated debate with netizens taking on both sides of the matter. Read more via the Rakyat Post.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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