News24

Suriname holds first gay rights march

2011-10-12 12:27

Paramaribo - Suriname's first gay rights march in the capital on Tuesday drew a small peaceful crowd to protest, in part, a legislator's insistence that homosexuality "should be completely eradicated".

Approximately 120 people marched for 15 minutes from Independence Square to a restaurant in this tiny Latin American nation's capital wearing pink shirts and waving rainbow flags.

Gay, bisexual and transgender groups organised the "National Coming Out Day" aimed at outlawing discrimination.

"This is an eye opener for both the government and the people who have not yet come out," said Marciano Zaalman, 29, a member of one of the organising groups.

The march was organised after legislator Ronny Asabina launched a tirade against homosexuality in July, describing it as a "disease and a mental disorder".

Taboo issue

The march ended with speeches, followed by dancing to music blaring from a party bus supplied by the sizable Brazilian community. Men in drag mixed with families and children who participated in the event.

Suriname, with a population of about 500 000, is a former Dutch colony sandwiched between French Guyana and Guyana, with Brazil to the south. It won its independence from the Netherlands in 1975.

"Generally speaking, people are not willing to talk about sexuality, let alone homosexuality," said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch's gay rights programme.

President Desire Bouterse did not participate in the march, which wound its way past his office.

Harish Monorath was one of two members of parliament to take part. "The taboo still exists," he said.

"Too many members of parliament are still having a retarded attitude toward homosexuality."

Dutch politicians have waded into the debate by sending letters to ministers in Suriname asking for comment on Asabina's tirade and whether his views were supported by the governing coalition.

Bouterse has refused to enter the debate. "I believe gay people are nice guys. Everyone has their own preference," he told a news conference on Monday.

Comments
  • j4truth - 2011-10-12 14:18

    Where ever there has been gay marches, CALAMITY follows, like in Jhb after the gay march - ther were at least 3 Tornados, terrible bus/truck/car accidents and destructive storms!! Because its a spiritual opening the door to satan - who kills, steals and destroys!!!

      OnlyaGinger - 2011-10-12 14:51

      wow.... thats all i can say- so god doesnt punish the evil politicians, greedy bankers or environmental rapists for their actions- but have a gay pride march- and god halts everything to throw some lightning bolts around to scare and punish the gays and their supporters. holy crap you need help

      Kent - 2011-10-13 00:41

      You shouldn't even have the right to call yourself a south african. You are a disgrace to all of us, why don't you strap yourself to a missile and target yourself to the nearest celestial object to spare the rest of us the shame of ever having known that pitiful excuses for humans; such as yourself; actually live among us.

  • preshen govender - 2011-10-13 07:41

    When two gay men go out who pays for the bill ?

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