Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Professor Bain and UniBAM: Clouding an issue in Public Health and Policy






"Who would have ever thought that we would need a witness protection programmed in a case like this."This was Stirm words on Rise and Shine this morning. Really? No one knocked out his teeth, invaded his family property, experienced constant triggered finger. We are under attack, and these individuals will not stop until they take GOD out of our constitution." This is, comes from Jason Andrew Jones. Really? In the entire show on Rise and Shine, Louis Wade never one referred to the University release.


The statement from The University of the West Indies dated May 20th, said," ... it has become increasingly evident that Professor Bain has lost the confidence and support of a significant sector of the community which the CHART programme is expected to reach, including the loss of his leadership status in PANCAP, thereby undermining the ability of this programme to effectively deliver on its mandate. It is for this reason that the University of the West Indies has decided to terminate the contract of Professor Bain.."
 
Dane Lewis, of JFLAGS said in a Gleaner, "The crux of the matter is that his affidavit helped to legitimise the anti-gay movement in Belize, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, and Jamaica that has been actively misusing epidemiological data to compromise the integrity of the regional HIV response. The issues raised in the call from Civil Society is not about L.G.B.T rights per se but about an approach to the regional HIV response based on the evidence available to those working in the field. This is evidenced by the broad range of Civil society groups who are signatories to the call.

Professor Bain supplied a report on behalf of a group of churches who asked the court to be listed as an interested party in the case and who have argued for the retention of the Belize Penal Code. As a result we believe his position as stated and decision to publicly articulate puts him in direct conflict with the University’s own stated position in respect of its role in the regional HIV response.




The above imagery was organized by Belize Action in support of Bain, but failed to recognised that  they had an opportunity to constructively dialogue on our concerns, to engage organizations responsibly, to address the quality of life issues.  Instead they have chosen to ignore our reality as L.G.B.T citizens using prayers. 


Bain has a right to hold a belief at work, church, home, among friends, but we cannot ignore the responsibility that comes with holders of key public positions that impacts public health policy. Bain is not a peer educator, but had a substantial leadership position, as such, is to be held to a higher standard for not upholding basic international human rights principles. 

The organizations supporting the engagement  on Bain was 35, of that 10 were L.G.B.T, most were HIV/AIDS, Feminists groups etc. The Plus TV spoke of " UNIBAM and 32 other homosexual advocacy groups demanded Bain’s termination from that post because of his expert testimony in the Caleb Orozco vs Government of Belize case over Section 53 of Belize’s criminal code.." check the facts Plustv.

The groups concern with Bain asked he be removed,""from any leadership position in the CHART programme and all positions of representation at the university on issues of HIV and AIDS".

Bain skills, experience, right to speech and academic freedoms is not in question, he has benefited from international resources and had access to a substantive role were an opportunity to faciliate the PANCAP Regional Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS objectives of supporting an enabling environment existed. He choose instead  to use that substantial position to misuse research data that was as much as 10 years old. He chose to submit a legal document to a court case that in effect legitimized the anti-gay movement in the region and support the undermining process of human rights of a marginalised group and PANCAP own strategic objective, a mechanism that is endorsed by regional government.



A Professor Trial


UWI Statement on Bain
Source: http://myspot.mona.uwi.edu/marcom/newsroom/entry/5708

Professor in Hot water
http://www.stabroeknews.com/2014/news/regional/05/18/uwi-professor-hot-water-anti-gay-sex-testimony/

Professor Bain poured fuel on anti-gay fire
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140521/cleisure/cleisure5.html

Bain Undermine HIV Fight
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140521/cleisure/cleisure3.html

PlusTV coverage of Bain firing
http://www.plustvbelize.com/professor-fired-professional-opinion-didnt-line-up-with-unibams-agenda/

Protesters Picket UWI
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Protesters-picket-UWI-in-support-of-sacked-professor_16716625

76 crime news
http://76crimes.com/2014/05/22/aids-program-ousts-leader-who-embraces-anti-gay-laws/

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Gender Policy: Will it be thrown under the bus or will it be Rights-base

May 7th, 2014












We have seen the lengths to which our opponents would scheme, fearmonger, use scientific data to to misinform the public, like Regenrus and use professional mental health person like Dr. Debbie Pitts to help legitimize public positions. Appearing here on PlusTV show Rise and Shine.



We have also seen the battles have raged on at the Conference for Population and Development where a Consensus Document was agreed to in Montevideo, but CARICOM as a region, deviated  from using it as a base of negotiations.  We have seen negotiations on the UN Commission on the Status on Women watered down at the last minute as well. We have seen a local media who did not understand the OAS General Assembly system in Guatemala, labeled a Convention as "The Gender Policy Resolution Highly Debated!" More precisely we see bloggers misrepresenting statements made at the UN Commission on the State of Women by Executive Director of the National Women's Commission, further causing confusion and division  that are contrived. 

Today May 7th, 2014, The Belize Association of Evangelicals Churches leadership met with Belize Prime Minister at his Belize City office for 2 hours. The new Executive Team is made up of leaders from each district, plus Belmopan. The Belize Prayer network sight points out that there is a new ProTem Team to govern The Belize Association of Evangelical Churches until elections are held in October 2104. The Pro Tem teams consists of President Eugene Crawford and Treasurer Godfrey Usher plus the chairmen of the BAEC district chapters now in formation.

The site speaks of deputies and Scott Stirm has Lance Lewis and Richard Smith as Alternates. The Belize Prayer Network speaks of ensuring, " that each district is represented in future national meetings, leaders are appointing deputies to fill in when they must be absent. For example, Caleb Ortega, Chairman of the close-knit and long-enduring Iglesias Unidas (Churches United) in the Cayo District, sent Felipa Apolonia to the Oct. 21 BAEC meeting which he could not attend. Scott Stirm, Chairman of the Worship Together gatherings of dozens of churches around Belmopan, has designated Richard Smith and Lance Lewis as his alternates. BAEC President Crawford turns to Treasurer Usher to act in his place when he has a scheduling conflict. This kind of delegation, if practiced consistently, will make every meeting count for advancing God’s kingdom in Belize, with no district left out."


The Prime Minister made clear that “remarks reportedly made suggesting the Government proposing to move ahead on the National Gender Policy without the Church are not factual. The remarks, if made, do not reflect the position of the Govt., and Govt. will not move to implement the National Gender Policy without seeking agreement with the Churches.” He stated that “Govt. has now procured the professional advice on the Church’s submission and will soon be in a position to convene a meeting between Govt. and the Churches to reach consensus for the final document. That meeting is anticipated to happen by the end of July to allow time for Cabinet to analyze both submissions.”

Both the Evangelical Association and Council of Churches together submitted a joint report last year expressing concerns and making recommendations on the Gender Policy. Both Church bodies feel strongly about Biblical & Family Values, Constitutional protections of the family, and religious freedoms & convictions.

 While political engagement is part of the democratic process, and its the PM prerogative to prevent interruptions to policy when conflict arises in discussing development and health rights concerns,  the conclusion of the current dialogue will be interesting, as we remain curious to whether there will be a pragmatic approach, a theological-base approach or a rights-base approach that is inclusive. Anything that does not have women and girls at the heart of the decision, will be an injustice that promotes inequity. Anything that ignores the reality of marginalizes groups will be state sanction impunity that put theology over fundamental rights. At this point, we remain patience and await to see, whether we have elected leaders of a state, or bishops and pastors


Gender Policy Resolution Highly Debated
Source: http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/86344

ProTEM Team of BEAC
Source:http://belizeprayernetwork.com/2014/02/new-belize-church-leadership-arising/

Blogger John Goerke on Ann-Marie comments at UNCSW meeting
Source:http://juicyecumenism.com/2014/03/17/csw-58-catholics-and-evangelicals-bypassed-in-belize/

Dr. Debbie Pitts British Citizens
Source: http://amandala.com.bz/news/british-citizen-argues-decriminalizing-homosexuality/


Thursday, May 1, 2014

IDAHOT transmurders in 2014

Transgender Europe: IDAHOT Press Release: May 1st 2014
Alarming figures: Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project unveils interactive map of more than 1,500 reported murders of trans people since January 2008


On May 17th, The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) is being held in more than 120 countries around the world. The IDAHOT is meant to raise awareness regarding the ongoing discrimination and violence committed by states, societies and individuals against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people on various scales, from homo- and transphobic legislations and forms of state repression to hate crimes including insults, attacks and murders. The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to this issue. The 17th of May was chosen to remember the removal of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 17th 1990. The IDAHOT 2014 global focus issue is “Freedom of Expression”.
Trans Murder Monitoring launches an update for IDAHOT 2014. The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project was initiated in April 2009 in order to systematically monitor, collect and analyse reports of homicides of trans and gender variant people worldwide. Updates of the preliminary results are published on the website of the ‘Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide’ (TvT) research project two to three times a year. Every year in May, Transgender Europe provides a special update of the TMM results for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) so as to assist activists worldwide in raising public awareness of hate violence against trans and gender variant people.
The TMM IDAHOT 2014 update has revealed a total of 1,509 cases of reported killings of trans and gender variant people from January 1st 2008 to March 31st 2014. The results are presented in form of tables, name lists, and maps. In addition an interactive map visualises a great portion of the 1,509 reported murders of trans and gender variant people that the TMM has documented since January 2008. These data and advocacy tools can be accessed on the TvT website:

In the first three months of 2014, already 75 reported murders of trans people have been registered.
Sadly, from 1 January 2014 to 31 March 2014, the TMM already registered 75 murders in 13 countries. These are only preliminary results, and the numbers are likely to grow even larger during the course of the year. While often the actual circumstances of the killings remain obscure due to lacking investigation and reports, many of the cases documented involve an extreme extent of aggression, including torture and mutilation. Many cases are not investigated properly by the authorities.
Apart from these 75 reported murders in 2014, the ever-growing TMM archive has registered numerous cases in 61 different countries since 2008, most of which hardly received any public attention at all.
The IDAHOT 2014 update reveals a total of 1,509 reported killings of trans and gender variant people in 61 countries worldwide from January 1st 2008 to March 31st 2014.
Cases have been reported from all major World Regions (Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania), evoking an evermore gruesome picture, especially given the very partial knowledge we are able to gain in many places.
Throughout all six world regions, the highest absolute numbers have been found in countries with strong trans movements and trans and gender variant people’s strong visibility, and/or trans or LGBT organizations that do a professional monitoring:
Brazil (602), Mexico (160), Venezuela (81), Colombia (80), Honduras (65), Guatemala (36), and the Dominican Republic (31) in Central and South America, the USA (94) in North America, Turkey (35) and Italy (27) in Europe, and India (35) and the Philippines (29) in Asia.
The close connection between the existence of strong trans movements and professional monitoring on the one hand, and highest absolute numbers of reports, on the other hand, point to a worrisome question: the question of unreported cases. Beside the need for mechanisms to protect trans and gender variant people, this connection also shows the need for strong trans communities and organizations, which are capable of professional monitoring and reporting of violence against trans and gender variant people. Furthermore this connection results in the fact, that the figures show only the tip of the iceberg of homicides of trans and gender variant people on a worldwide scale.

Almost 1,200 reported murders of trans and gender variant people in Central and South America since 2008
The new result update moreover reveals that since January 2008:
1,188 killings of trans and gender variant people have been reported in Central and South America, which account for 79 % of the globally reported murders of trans people since January 2008. In this region, there has been the strongest increase in reports and with 23 countries Central and South America is the best documented region.
124 killings of trans and gender variant people have been reported in Asia in 16 countries;
98 killings of trans and gender variant people have been reported in North America;
87 killings of trans and gender variant people have been reported in Europe in 12 countries;
8 killings of trans and gender variant people have been reported in Africa in 4 countries;
4 killings of trans and gender variant people have been reported in Oceania in 4 countries.
It is important to note that these cases are those that could be found through Internet research and through cooperation with trans organizations and activists. In most countries, data on murdered trans people are not systematically produced and it is impossible to estimate the numbers of unreported cases.
The alarming figures demonstrate once more that there is an urgent need to react to the violence against trans and gender variant people and to seek mechanisms to protect them. Some international trans activists even started to introduce the term ‘transcide’ to reflect the continuously elevated level of deadly violence against trans and gender variant people on a global scale and a coalition of NGOs from South America and Europe started the “Stop Trans Genocide” campaign.
Attached to this press release you can find tables showing the details and a map, which demonstrates the absolute figures of reports found worldwide since January 2008.
A worrisome result of the TMM IDAHOT 2014 is the significant increase of reported murders of minors. In 2013 25 murdered trans and gender variant persons under 20 years have been reported murdered, half of them have been under 18 years, thus making 2013 the year with the highest number of murdered minors since the start of the Trans Murder Monitoring. This gruesome development continued in the first three months of 2014 in which already 9 trans and gender variant people under 20 years have been reported murdered, six of them have been under 18 years old. Among these 6 murdered minors in 2014 were an 8-year-old trans girl, who was beaten to death on February 18th 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by her father who wanted to teach her to behave like a man, and 14-year-old Vanessa who - after receiving death threats - fled to her grandmother’s house in Angelica, Brazil, where she was found strangled on March 10th 2014. Among the 12 murdered minors in 2013 were a 13-year old trans girl, who has been found strangled in the city of Macaiba in Brazil on June 9th 2013, a 14-year old trans girl, who has been found strangled in the city of Ibipora in Brazil on October 15th 2013, and also 16-year-old „Dwayne“ Jones, who was kicked out of her home with 14, and on July 22nd 2013 attended for the first time a party in female clothing in St. James, Jamaica, where she was chased and brutally murdered by party-goers, who formed a mob, when they realized that she was a trans person. Already in February 2008, at the beginning of the TMM reporting period, 15-year-old Leticia King was shot twice in the head by a 14-year-old classmate in front of the class, in Oxnard, USA.
In total 121 murders of trans and gender variant people under 20 years have been reported in 17 countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and North America since January 2008: 14 in 2008, 19 in 2009, 13 in 2010, 21 in 2011, 20 in 2012, 25 in 2013 and 9 in the first three months of 2014.
While the documentation of killings of trans and gender variant people is indispensable for demonstrating the shocking extent of human rights violations committed against trans and gender variant people on a global scale, there is also a need for in-depth research of various other aspects related to the human rights situation of trans and gender variant people. Therefore, Transgender Europe developed the Trans Murder Monitoring project into the ‘Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide’ research project (TvT). TvT is a comparative, ongoing qualitative-quantitative research project, which provides an overview of the human rights situation of trans and gender variant people in different parts of the world and develops useful data and advocacy tools for international institutions, human rights organizations, the trans movement and the general public. In November 2012 Transgender Europe published the TvT research report “TRANSRESPECT VERSUS TRANSPHOBIA WORLDWIDE - A Comparative Review of the Human-rights Situation of Gender-variant/Trans People”, which discusses and contextualizes the key findings of the TvT project. You can download the research report here:
If you have further questions or if you want to support the research project, please contact the TvT research team:

research[at]transrespect-transphobia.org                           www.transrespect-transphobia.org