By Aaron Humes: May 17 is recognized as The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia, a day conceived in 2004. It recognizes and raises awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBT communities worldwide, which in turn provides an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society.
In a statement today, the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) led by Caleb Orozco listed five ongoing situations that impact the rights and lives of LGBT Belizeans.
First, UNIBAM claims COVID-19 related regulations are being used to harass or amplify systemic intimidation against LGBTI Belizeans.
Next, it says Cabinet has yet to take a position about applying equal protection under the law in new and previous legislation, with the collapse of the Equal Opportunities Bill under sustained pressure from the religious and particularly evangelical community last year.
Third, the organization says there is little to no economic data for the admittedly small LGBTI population of Belize, who nonetheless contribute to the economy.
Fourth, there is no categorization of crimes against LGBT persons in the Belize Crime Observatory.
And finally, five years after the original Supreme Court ruling and two years after it was modified but upheld by the Court of Appeal, there has been no progress on fully modifying and implementing changes to section 53 of the Criminal Code, which as presently interpreted excludes persons of the same sex from being accused of intercourse “against the order of nature.”
The LGBT community of Belize wants to be protected and wants to be seen and heard as full citizens, the organization asserts. “We call on cabinet to show leadership on LGBTI human rights with specific legislative actions that matter to our livelihoods,” it concludes.