The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) has officially launched its Virtual pride festivities with a bang, the launched was streamed virtually on a Facebook and Instagram live on June 17.
Head of SASOD, Joel Simpson, during brief remarks on the social media live event highlighted that the organisation has come a long way in celebration of SASOD’s 17th Anniversary and Pride Month in Guyana.
Simpson noted that the organisation was eager to celebrate all its achievements and the inaugural pride month, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the traditional colourful road festival was cancelled hence a virtual celebration with various activities will held from June 17 to July 7.
“On June 7, SASOD Guyana started celebrating our 17th anniversary. We were really disappointed that we first had to postpone the pride festival, [so] we decided that we are going to have a virtual pride [after] coming to recognise that we may not be able to have pride 2020. We decided that virtual pride is the perfect modus opperandi [given] the current situation,” he stated.
Additionally, Simpson added that over the past 17th years SASOD Guyana has managed to be a voice for members of the LGTBTQ community, “When we started doing this work in 2003, the LGBTQ people in Guyana were afraid to come forward and identify they were very few people who would come out and share their stories of discrimination, triumph, resilience , of achieving despite the circumstances.”
Simpson also disclosed to the Buzz that despite not being able to have the usual colourful festivities the virtual activities have managed to engage and reach many more persons, especially those in the diaspora.
He added that virtual pride has also seen several new activities added to the celebration, one of them being a yoga sensation which was held last week.
Simpson related that due to the tremendous turn out to the yoga sensation, SASOD will be soon be adding the activity as a weekend regular to promote self-care.
Nevertheless, during the downtime with the pandemic, Simpson noted that aside from virtual pride, SASOD has been taking the time to do a lot of the behind scenes work and changes that will see a more mature organisation and execution of programmes along with several collaborations with other similar organisations regionally and internationally.
Additionally, he stated that the pride activities had seen an overall high turnout of an approximate 75 percent which shows that more and more youths are getting comfortable with being themselves and sharing their experiences.
“With all the work we have done at the community level and the people we have done build self-confidence and self-esteem over the years we have a lot of people who have become more comfortable with themselves,” he stated.
This evening, June 26, virtual pride will see a cultural night and bonfire, while tomorrow there will be a Global Pride event and on Sunday, SASOD will be live streaming its Pride Parade on the organization’s YouTube page at 10:00hrs.