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Afro, Putagee, or Indian?: An Examination of Race and LGBTQ+ Identity Georgetown, Guyana


This Alternative Break will examine the intersection of race and sexuality in Guyana and more broadly, the West Indies. Program participants will be spending 1 of the 8 days of engagement in Port of Spain, Trinidad which will serve as another case study for LGBTQ+ and race dynamics in the West Indies. Rather than attempting to “fix” these deeply systemic issues, this program attempts to educate participants on an issue in an area of the world that is often left out of social justice discussions. The program also aims to have participants work with grassroots organizations in addressing what needs they identify for the community. While in Guyana, the participants will engage in discussions with scholars, government officials, and non-governmental organizations that serve LGBTQ+ people and racial minorities. 

Saturday, March 10th: Depart from JFK and arrive in Port of Spain, Trinidad During the day we will be engaging with community partners in Trinidad to discuss topics of race and sexuality. We will also be making observations on the infrastructure, keeping in mind that POS is arguably the most economically developed city in the the West Indies. We will be visiting the University of the West Indies-Port of Spain to discuss LGBTQIA+ issues in Trinidad. At 4:15pm we will arrive at Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana. We will then travel by car to Georgetown to check into the Rainforest Bed and Breakfast, where we will be staying for the duration of the program. 

Sunday, March 11th: Visit Kaieteur and discuss suicide awareness and the LGBTQ+ community. 

Monday, March 12th: SASOD Day- service with Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) based on the service needs identified by the organization 

Tuesday, March 13th: We will be visiting The Museum of African Heritage. Debrief on museum. We will have lunch in town before visiting the University of Guyana to speak to a professor in the Department of Sociology and their students about the ethnic conflict in Guyana. Dinner and discussion at Bed and Breakfast. 

Wednesday, March 14th: We will meet with representatives from the Guyana Rainbow Foundation (GuyBow). Lunch with local family at their home (Brandan’s Aunt). We will discuss the perception of ethnic-conflict in Guyana and the ability to access ownership in society based on racial background. Visit Cheddi Jagan’s House (Museum). 

Thursday, March 15th: Visit to the United States Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana to meet with representatives. Discussion of policy and diplomatic relations regarding LGBTQIA+ identity in Guyana. Afternoon discussion with an advisor to Guyanese Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo. 

Friday, March 16th: Ferry Ride to Essequibo. (Breakfast on the go. Food items available for purchase on ferry). Visit RIVAH - discussion about gender- and sex- based violence in Guyana (particularly in rural regions). Lunch with community members. Evening ferry ride back to Georgetown. Group reflection at Bed & Breakfast on topics discussed this day. 

Saturday, March 17th: Visit Stabroek Market. Depart back to the States.

Quick Facts

Destination: Georgetown, Guyana
Dates: Spring Break, March 10-17, 2018
Cost: $1,500
Advisor: TBD
Cost Includes: Airfare, lodging, meals, ground transportation, admission fees, travel insurance, guides and administration fees.
cost does NOT include visas and immunizations if needed.


Meet Your Student Leaders!

Brandan Persaud is a senior studying Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG) and is also getting certificates in Community-Based Research and Advanced Leadership Studies. He is passionate about LGBTQ+ rights and working with others to continue building environments focused on inclusion. 

"After traveling to Guyana to visit family several times in the past, I am beyond excited to lead an alternative break where I we will look at racial conflict and LGBTQ+ status in Guyana, but more broadly in the West Indies." 

Karla Palmer is a junior in the School of Public Affairs studying Political Science with a certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies. She is excited to lead an Alternative Break to Guyana in order to promote greater awareness of racial differences and LGBTQIA+ status in the West Indies. 

 "Being of Jamaican and Thomian descent, I am excited to learn more about how these systems of power and privilege present themselves in other West Indian societies."