A Journey of Discovery

Posted May 21st, 2013

On my journey here to Playa del Carmen I was reminded of my many human frailties that are played out in the media, on facebook and privately. What defined me was not coming, but the decision not to wait for my friend's, next pay day. Too many times, it seems, my life has been about waiting for approval, waiting for the person to change his mind, waiting for the right time. I realized that its part of my natural personality to not wait, to be decisive, to be ahead of the curve, despite the duration of fears of my community and of my self.  What I have discovered as a person looking in, is that my primary function is to build bridges whether good or bad. What has developed over the last two years is a rational healthy debate on facebook between the wirmirs and the bammers regarding not just section 53, that extends to a more basic issues of how we support or respect dignity and rights. At least for the bammers engagement of the wirmirs. I say that I am a bridge because the role can have its consequence and opportunities alike.  We are not there yet, as the wirmirs cannot wrap around their heads that the bible does not have final say in a diverse environment with diverse needs. The road to change, like the ship I was on to Cozumel that had the waves beating on this sides, is a shaky one, clear about the destination, but shaky as in getting get there.

Amazingly, while the waves reminded me of the process of debate, attack ads and section 53, upon my arrival on the island,  it was calm, noisy, but orderly. There was no fear, no insecurity, no worry of who would throw insults my way. This I must say is the complete opposite in Belize, whether on the bus going to another district, driving in the old beat up car I have, or going to shop to buy coke or rice is always a chore. The calm on the island strengthen my resolve that we must work to achieve a safer environment for our L.G.B.T citizens and that the  effort may take several turns, but it will be completely turned to in the right direction, in legislation, internal policy of the police department etc.

When I started this work, it was a road traveled by one who was always in the group, but never of the group, at least symbolically. This has changed with the collaboration of the Women's Issues Network on the national dialogue  on gender and L.G.B.T issues in 2012, engagements at the National AIDS Commission and quiet efforts behind the scenes. The development of closed group Belizeans for the constitutional challenge have demonstrated that the community can build its own infrastructure and e effective. The road, at present is filled, not empty and the hope is that it will get visibly crowded in time.
Nevertheless, I have my own road to walk and my own cross to bear. We shall see how far I get.
In the meantime, I must go on record to say family matters. They are there in sickness, health, death do you part, but they are there. In celebration of why it matters I share the following pictures.

This is my brother Marcel and this is his son. I don't my brother for being sensitive, but here, he has taken the time out to play with his son, in a selfless way and allowed his son to be safe. I admire a couple of things about my brother, he moved from dropping out of school to having a degree in accounting, he has settled into the role of being a father. Many families have sons and daughters, but how many feel safe to be themselves and joy a family moment?

 While not all are my brothers, one is a nephew and have discovered the willingness of one brother to debate the issue of sexual orientation in a rational way on facebook, another after many years still admiring my my intellect even though, years ago, I may not have been able to stand him for too long. Then he throws me a loop and decides to name one of his children Caleb. I say, how can I still be mad with him all these years. He always wanted family, he got it and he made good in becoming an American.
He seem to have a good wife now and I like her very much. So what does this have to do with the work?

Simply, if they weren't supportive, or at the very least, accepting, the work would be twice as hard. They shaped my personality and vision of the world in good times and in bad times. The guy in the red shirt made many sacrifices in hustling his way to help his younger brothers and sisters. It wasn't always right, but the heart and the spirit to care for your fellow man was there. The lesson of self-reliance, gutsy determination, asserting ones voice was there. It was an still is my family. My mom, and sisters have appeared in one TV AD, at the Launch or the We Are One Wristbands and on OYE have shown public support. My mom worries about my safety, but so does my sisters an brother. A brother who recently had brain surgery. Oh how the times have evolved, the younger, now worries about the older.

So now I move from Playa Del Carmen, knowing reality bites, knowing the journey is not over, knowing time will be my biggest teacher, knowing that I need to focus on strengthening of an organization, but knowing that its a balance of personal need that is driven, not by living up to expectations, but simply living to do the right thing, which sometimes is the most difficult thing.


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