Showing posts from February, 2013

Belize Youth Policy: An Young LGBT Prospective

Posted 28th February, 2013

The Launch of the National Youth Policy was 27th February, 2013 at the Bliss, but the approval by cabinet was done on 8th January, 2013. This is important progress that should be credited to the Minister of Education Patrick Faber and his Minister of State Herman Longsworth. Both seen here in speeches.

The policy itself recognises that base on the 2010 census,young people ages 15-24 represented  just over 20% of the population with additional data revealing that 20-29 year old individuals had a 13.6% accounted for of HIV/AIDS in 2008. The policy revealed that 50% reported already having had a sexual experience and 18.4% first sexual intercourse as less than 15 years old. In 2009, 15-24 year old individuals accounted for 18.6% of the new infections for HIV/AIDS. Yet the UNGASS report of 2010 pointed out to weak sexual and reproductive health programs resulting from the lack of clear standards in the entitlement of delivery of service. The legal requirement is…

The History of UniBAM

Posted 22nd, February, 2013

UniBAM is the oldest and only L.G.B.T led policy and advocacy non-governmental Organization in Belize. Its broad theme of focus is health and human rights. Its mission is to be an Advocacy Organization that uses rights-base approaches to reduce stigma and discrimination.

The United Belize Advocacy Movement development was inspired by the implementation of the Multi-Centric Study in 2005 for sex workers and men who have sex with men. Paul Edwards, then, epidemiologists for the Ministry of Health brought down Dr. Chad Martin from the CDC to explain the concept of an (MSM) or men who have sex with men organization. As a result, discussions started between persons like Alex Avalos and Fernando Novelo to develop concepts of names, but it was Alex Avalos who developed and strengthen the letterhead and other many nameless persons that led the development of name UNIDAD 96 as a group in Orange Walk. With analysis, work proceeded to develop objectives of the group, …

AIDS,Women and Gay Movement-The intersection!

Posted 23rd February, 2012

I have to say, until Susan Wilkinson started pointed out the need to learnt historical lessons,it did not cross my mind. While not official, she has fallen into th role of  institutional memory documentor for the United Belize Advocacy Movement. What she has made me realized is that our presentwork has intersections. So what is the interection between Belize AIDS, Women's and Gay Movement? In simple terms it is a social justice frame work.

AIDS came to Belize in 1986, but during the early parts of the epidemic I was reminded by Joan Burke of BFLA that there were efforts to do prevention educations at homes. I was reminded that gay men helped to clean and fed their friends dying of AIDS in the early days. I was reminded as well that when Alliance Against AIDS started that it was the support of a woman who helped to facilitate its development from PAHO. I was also reminded that AAA originally had an all gay Board, but over time the composition of AAA Board…

SRH Legislation-to negotiated our Rights away

Posted 19th February, 2013

The meeting is occurring at the George Price Center. We are talking about a draft legislation for Sexual and Reproductive Health Legislation for adolescence.  I shared that it interesting to see that we are still talking about sexual and reproductive health of adolescence after three decades of independence.We seem to be willing to negotiate away the rights of individuals , especially for women based on moral and  cultural position. Antoinette Moore shared that the right to life is about survival and development and means quality of life but when asked  it was acknowledged that  male age of consent for males is blurred and not equal to the age of consent for females which is 16.

The present Bill triggered concerns around the age of consent being raised to the age of 18,  but there was no consensus on the issue. The current bill will remain gender-neutral and modification to address emergency contraceptives were added. Discussions taking place include ensurin…

LGBT Movement Building in Belize: an internal look

Posted 16th, February, 2013

Political Movement building did not start with the United Belize Advocacy Movement , the concept can be trace back to George Price time after the British colonial government  sought to devalue the local currency. Assad Shoman, History of Belize pointed out that the primary motivator for social change was people thinking critically about what colonialism had done for Belize when there were so many living in poor social and economic conditions of the 1950's . He wrote:

The working class suffered from unemployment, low wages, bad housing, severe malnutrition, and poor health care. In early 1950, a British reporter complained that "the Colony has always been run exclusively for what could be got out of it . . . of the 35,000 employable from a total population of 60,000, 8,000 or nearly a quarter are without work or working part-time, earning less than twelve shillings per week. Belize City, with its 22,000 people, is about the most shockingly depr…

Harrassment by neighbor

Posted 15th February, 2013

It seems my neighborhood around Zericote street is changing, as the older folks die off and new ones enter , the community spirit of caring has been lost. Imagine having a cold, and the neighbor saying thinking that coughing out the phlegm was an indication that you did not like them. True its a nasty habit to spit cold on the street, but the idea that I was spiting being interpreted as a sign of disrespect that news to me. It seems I am not allowed to spit as part of a body function.

My neighbor though can't seem to mind his own business. He was raking his yard this morning, I saw this while locking my door to go buy toiletries, but when I got to closing my gate he was standing outside his gate staring me down as if I did something to him. This is the 2nd time he has made as issue of my presence. I walking with an eye on him to see if he would move. He didnt, thank GOD as he is bigger than I am. When I returned my sister boyfriend said that he was waiti…

Rights of Gay Belizeans to Cultural Expression-

Posted 14th, February, 2013

When group feel stigmatise and discriminated against they will fine their own spaces to assert their existence, pride parties, holloween parties and carnival participation is all part of a uncoordinated effort to assert individual right to human dignity. Here is an example of persons, doing just that at a halloween party this past year.

 When we think of Carnaval we dont think of Orange Walk, but Carnaval in Orange Walk in 2011 is filled with surprises of expression and public tolerance and points out that it depends on the district that will shape your perception of personal safety.

In 2012, Orange Walk was not the same as 2011, as the mood, the energy and the paranoia was intensified. The energy and the welcoming energy changed after my attack, but nevertheless, action speaks louder than words when a person chooses to get up and dance in public, even without a costume and alc0hol. Here is Kenny White engaging the music and creating his own fun.

We  have n…

Transgender Culture in Belize

Posted February, 14th, 2013

Belize isn't known for its Trangender community, but it has and they exist in villages like San Narciso, Corozal and express themselves in simply spaces to exercise their right to expression. This person reflected that expression in this beautiful costume at a small contest.

Belize laws as they currently stand allows individual to change their names to female or anything else they want, but does not allow them to change their sex on documentation. One person Mia Quetzal successfully change her name after being mistreated in Panama on her first trip forcing her to waiting 13 hours in the airport and then was mistreated at Piarco Airport in Port of Spain.

Other pageants follow prior to this. This one was at the Dream Club in Corozal. It was professionally done with judges from Chetumal and had quite a few people in attendance.Take a look at the girls and how proudly their expressed themselves at the event.
Individuals have shown a propensity to be beautif…

Elder Gays-do we reflect on?

Posted 14th, February, 2013

Written 02/07/2013 by Seth Hemmelgarn

Larry Saxxon knows firsthand about the isolation and loneliness that researchers and others say are among the main challenges facing black LGBT elders. February is Black History Month, and in a recent interview, Saxxon spoke of going to the Castro district, the largely gay neighborhood with a reputation for favoring people who are young and white. He said the area is "flowing with the sea of wonderful humanity," but he indicated his time there hasn't always been pleasant.

"People walk past you, and they turn their heads," he said. The reaction appears to be, "What am I going to do with this old black queen?" said Saxxon, 60, who's been with his partner for 33 years and said, "I'm not trying to get laid." "I'm a human being, and I am an LGBT brother who's an elder who has some amazing stories to share," he said.

The experiences that Saxxon has l…

Biblical marriage Unmasked

Posted 14th February, 2013Written: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Those who claim the biblical model for marriage is one man and one woman for life apparently haven’t been reading the Bible.
 By Miguel De La Torre

Many Christians today speak about the traditional biblical marriage, but if truth be known, the traditional marriage is not a biblical concept. In fact, it would be hard to find a modern-day Christian who would actually abide by a truly biblical marriage in practice, as the biblical understanding of marriage meant male ownership of women who existed for sexual pleasure.
Upon marriage, a woman’s property and her body became the possession of her new husband. As the head of the household, men (usually between the ages of 18 and 24) had nearly unlimited rights over wives and children.
A woman became available for men’s possession soon after she reached puberty (usually 11 to 13 years old), that is, when she became physically able to produce children. Today we call such s…

Gay culture in Belize

Posted 13th, 2013

We don't share much about how culture contribute to the advancement of L.G.B.T human rights, but with the advancement of of section 53, the debate of extending legislation to L.G.B.T citizens have had unexpected senefits. Artist Briheda Haylock and Ruhel Trejo show at the Image Factory, Society Killed the Teenage showed just how accidental, but effective art can be. During an interview on channel 5 Jose Sanchez on March 15th, 2012 in the following way. This was said

Jose Sanchez
“But you think Martin Luther King have a dream for people to be equally sexual all depending on their sexuality. Do you think he would agree with what you are doing?’

Ruhiel Trejo
“Actually I think he would agree because at that time when he was fighting for equality, there were a lot of mixed couples in the U.S. that couldn’t get married because the church or religious people did not believe that white and black should mix. So in that sense I think that he was fighting for human righ…

Chronological History of Belize Constitution

Posted 9th February, 2013

The Constitution of Belize has been amended several times, eight to be precise, since it was enacted on Independence Day 1981. The number of amendments reached a record between 2008-2012 under the first term of the United Democratic Party of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. The government at that time enjoyed a super majority in parliament allowing it to enact any amendment it wanted without the concurrence of the Opposition.

 The Constitution of Belize was drafted by a task force appointed by Rt. Hon. George Price and was made up of his most trusted ministers: V.H. Courtenay, Assad Shoman, Said Musa and C.L.B. Rogers. Courtenay, Shoman and Musa are attorneys at law. My recollection from interviews I conducted is that Harry Courtenay  was the head of this task force and widely regarded as the Father Of The Belize Constitution. The constitution of Guyana (formerly British Guyana) and the constitution of Trinidad and Tobago were his working documents in…