By Richard Ammon GlobalGayz.com December 1, 2011 A November 16, 2011 Guardian newspaper report announced a new challenge in Belize to its anti-gay laws. The legal suit is the first contest by a new human rights organization that intends to overturn all post-UK former colonies that have laws criminalizing homosexuality. “The Human Dignity Trust (HDT),
Belize, formerly British Honduras, became an independent on September 21, 1981. Belizean human rights statutes prohibit discrimination based on “sexuality,” which is sometimes interpreted as including sexual orientation. However, not only are same-gender sex acts treated as illegal, but immigration by “homosexual males or females” (as well as those making money from homosexual behaviour) is prohibited. Comments from a lesbian Peace Corps worker: “The few gay and lesbian Belizeans that I know are very closeted and very discreet about their sexuality. Due to the laws of this country, the only place for people to meet with one another is at private parties. There are no openly gay bars or discos. There are no support groups or organizations for lesbigay people. There is no such thing as Gay Pride Month in Belize… It seems that most lesbigay people in Belize somehow find others like them through word of mouth, which isn’t always the most reliable. Many move to the States to enjoy more freedom and more opportunities to be open and honest about who they are. As everyone knows, Belize has a small population, once you are discovered as either a lesbian or gay man life can become rather difficult. In some cases, people are guilty by association.”
This story starts in Belize City, the largest and former capital city of Belize where I spoke to a leading activist, Caleb Oroczo, about LGBT and HIV organizations in Belize. From there I went to San Pedro, a small town on the island cay of Ambergris off the east coast of Belize to talk with
Intro: In a conservative corner of the Caribbean/Central American lies quiet Belize, passed up by most of the world. But for some wise expats and knowing natives, this patch of earth offers a mellow life not found elsewhere. Despite some poverty and violence of Belize City–40 kms across the bay– the modest town of San Pedro offers a place of calm and natural beauty for a community of LGBT residents.