Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LGBT, Gender-base Violence National Dialogue

Dialog On LBGT Issues
Tue, July 24, 2012

The public awareness of the issues related to gay men has probably never been so prominent in the national discourse. But, UNIBAM wants to push it further along and it joined with other advocate organizations in a Dialog to increase the visibility of homophobia, discrimination and understanding of gender based violence while also framing a background document for the development of an Anti-Discrimination Legislation. Caleb Orozco told us more:
Caleb Orozco
"What's happening here is that we are looking at the issue of gender base violence, homophobia and LBGT human rights. Because we recognize that it's little discuss, little understood and so our work around this issue is about understanding and consciousness that it does exist and there is a link between the 3 issues."
"Whether its sexual abuse, physical abuse and discrimination - all those persons who experience it belong to a family and that family has a mother and a father. When you look at the issues from a family perspective it's a son or a daughter being impacted. More precisely discrimination in our mind happens differently for males versus females. For males the issue might be direct insults, threats and ridicule. For women in the LBGT community it might be intense sexual harassment and mixed around the idea that if they have sex with a straight man their lesbianism would go away. These issues which not only impact psyche of the individual but it impact psyche of the family because then families are between whether to support a love one or to argue against the individual they claim they love, life and forgetting the love and the dignity of that person is the most important thing of all."
"We are hoping to start a conversation not only with our supporters but we start a conversation with an organization about the intensity of their position. At the end of the day I believe religion speaks the love but that love somehow has been lost along the way with the intensification of homophobic remarks that are being made using the bible. Beyond that we are hoping that people recognize that discrimination isn't just a LBGT issue, it's a family issue, it's an everyone issue. We experience it different and what we are looking is to broaden that understanding and seeks the legislative framework necessary for that recognition to occur."
Over 40 persons attended this morning's seminar that was held at the Radisson.

 Jul 24, 2012

Channel 5 Coverage

UNIBAM discusses sexual orientation; is it a choice?

The President of United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), Caleb Orosco, is taking the government to court, challenging Section Fifty-Three of the criminal code on the grounds that it criminalizes homosexuality. This morning the organization held a meeting at the Radisson to dialogue with various human rights agencies. It discussed a myriad of issues including sexual discrimination and ways to increase the understanding of gender based violence, homophobia and LGBT human rights issues. According to Orosco, the LGBT movement is raising consciousness on sexual orientation across demographic lines. Clinical Psychologist, Asa DeMatteo, presented scientific findings on the origins of sexual orientation and Orosco says it is not a choice.

Caleb Orosco, President, UNIBAM
Caleb Orosco
“I am proud to say that the one thousand or so people that we have in our close group in Belize for the Constitutional Challenge have not only raised awareness, but they have engaged the Christian right and their position. I am most proud of the fact that we’ve taken sexuality out of the closet—and not just LGBT sexuality; I mean sexuality as a whole. Nobody in this country can ever say that they do not or have not had a discussion on sexual orientation. Nobody can ever say that they don’t know what discrimination is like or they cannot say that there isn’t a face to the issue of discrimination. We had invited a clinical psychologist to try to build new research around epigenics and basically it is scientific research that talks about the origins of sexual orientation. For us, his presence here has value because he brings not only a professional perspective but a scientific background in explaining what things are. His value is also to break up some of the myths that have been projected out there in the media; that sexual orientation is a choice, that sexual orientation you can pray the gay away. These are fundamental issues which have hardly begun to be address within the media or the education system. So his presence is about increasing the awareness of the other scientific research.”

According to Orosco, no individual should endure abuse because of their sexual orientation. According to Clinical Psychologist, Asa DeMatteo, the court challenge is the beginning of a long process which will inevitably lead to the tolerance of differences on sexual orientations.

Asa DeMatteo
Asa DeMatteo, Clinical Psychologist
“Gay people say I’m a citizen, I pay my taxes, I live a life in this country or my country and I want to be equal under the law.  Belize is like the United States in the 1970s or England in the 1980s; this is moved faster in some places than others. A lot of people, particularly here in Belize talk about it as a gay agenda or as a conspiracy. I don’t know how you call it a conspiracy for someone to say I wanna be equal. I want to be treated equally under the law.  The biggest opposition—but not all the opposition—comes from the religious community and that’s just a segment of the religious community. I don’t think they should be asked to accept it. What they have to be asked to do is keep the laws out of discrimination. No church has to accept that homosexuality is not a sin; no church has to accept gay marriage or anything like that. Religion like sexuality is a private matter that each person gets to choose. And so what they need to do is tolerate differences. This issue is for me and for gay people; this is our life. This is our everyday twenty-four seven life that we have to cope with; this insult kind of insult to our dignity and our civil rights. For the church it is a side issue. It’s an important to them, but it is not central. Central to their belief is their love of god and their adherence to biblical principles; that is their central focus. And why they are going to accept it is that they are just gonna give up. That’s what happen all across the world. They’re gonna say all right already we understand the equality and how that happens so far—and I can only look at history to predict how it happens in the future—is that gay people say I’m gay. Caleb Orosco started this thing but that’s not gonna change. What’s gonna change people is when they find out; oh my butcher is gay; oh my nephew is gay; oh my son is gay; my daughter is in love with a woman. When you know that someone is gay, you can’t hate them anymore because they’re your community; they’re your brothers and sisters and friends and neighbors and business men and stuff like that. And that’s how it happens all over the world. And Belize isn’t different from the rest of the world. And it will come. This is the beginning of a long process.”

UNIBAM, as an organization has been struck off from the case by the court, but Caleb Orosco, its president is continuing with the legal challenge.


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