Sunday, December 9, 2012

Do Young LGBT Belizean have Freedom of expression

Posted December 9th, 2012

When a high school student takes a position contrary to a schools position, does the the school have a a right to suppress a student right to freedom of expression to take a position contrary to the school position? Next question, if the school says you can use the name of the school without permission, does that mean it trumps a student right to freedom of expression? This was an issue that was faced by gay student,Amircito Gonzales before he graduate in 2012 from his high school. Amir explained when he placed the video on youtube, his classmates found out and wanted to get back at him. He perceived that someone told the principal and she had him sit down in his office to discuss the issue. He also explained that the school have rules about the use of cell phones as well. but felt even the presence of such rules was was balanced and. The center of the controvery is this video link...

When we speak of freedom of expression, it seems broad for the general public, but when it comes to advocacy, its becomes a structural issues that is amplified by the Christian Right television station PlusTV. Back in October 11,2011, a young group of LGBT individuals worked on creating a mural that had a rainbow in it and it was promoting Peace and Equality Day by the Mayor. There was even a Proclamation signed by Mayo De la Fuente. However, it was reported by PlusTV that the mural was a problem. See link for details at

What was the offending imagery:

This was launch with 33 persons, including US Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally who did the opening remarks ,Peace Corps Director Nina Hernandez,Mayor of Orange Walk Town Phillip de la Fuente,Principal of St Peters Anglican School Ms. Rossana Briceno, President of OW DAVCO Mr. Fidelmar Hernandez,Guests from Ministry of Education,Local teachers,Guests from YFF,Guests from Post Office,Guests from OW DAVCO Board,Peace Corps,equALL Belize Youth Group,CTV3 Media,Guests from Hospital,Guests from Special Olympics,Guests from Co-Op Dept,Guests from Local businesses.

The results of PlusTV coverage led to its covering and then repainting. The only consolation prize was that our name remained on the wall as a sponsor.

 Even thought part two, section twelve speaks to the right of expression, the young LGBT individuals wish to express themselves was institutionally denied, not only by the Mayor, but remain unrecognized by the community as well. It is this context, the we work to get our message out and remain challenged by the atmosphere of a fair space.

 Who were the young people who did the mural as proud of doing something positive for their community. they along with Zach Pullin can be scene below in their T-Shirts along with the Mayor of Orange Walk De La Fuente in Red:

 We were most proud to see that the US Ambassador started the unveiling with opening remarks as seen here.It is clear that the work needs to continue in public education.

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