Posted: Monday, December 5, 2016. 9:44 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: Belizean LGBT Activist, Caleb Orozco will be honored with this year’s David Kato Vision and Voice Award in recognition of his successful battle to overturn Belize’s anti-gay laws.
The award is presented every year in memory of murdered Ugandan LGBT campaigner David Kato. He was a sexual minorities activist in Uganda. He was murdered in 2011 after a local newspaper published his photo in a feature calling for gay men to be executed.
The award this year will be presented in a ceremony at the annual fundraising gala dinner of the Kaleidoscope Trust. The trust campaigns for equality for LGBT people around the world. The event takes place on January 26.
Orozco won from a shortlist of five activists from Iraq, Nigeria, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan.
Orozco co- founded Belize’s only LGBT-led campaign group in 2006, the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), which brought legal action to challenge Belize’s anti-gay sodomy law.
Earlier this year, the law was finally struck down after a ruling from the Supreme court and after UNIBAM’s battle ranging over several years.
“The award is not about me, but about the aspirations of my community and the sacrifices and support they have shown in overcoming bigotry and taking on our opponents. I am hopeful awareness of the award will inspire more of my community to be publicly visible and to be proud about who they are. We hope we can inspire other LGBT activists that change is possible especially in a difficult political environment,” Orozco stated.
Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Kaleidoscope Trust, John Fingleton stated: “Despite great personal hardship and threats to his safety, Caleb has never faltered. He has remained courageous, strong, out and proud throughout his battle for justice and equality. Hosting the David Kato Voice and Vision Award Secretariat is one of the concrete ways in which the Kaleidoscope Trust can recognise and support LGBT activists around the world, many of whom are campaigning at great personal risk.”
The Supreme Court case, which established a precedent that may help activists fighting sodomy laws in other countries, had the support of the University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project, the International Commission of Jurists, the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association and the Human Dignity Trust.
The government has accepted the majority of the ruling, however, an alliance of religious groups has filed an appeal against the judgement.
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