First PRIDE week in Belize

2017

Situated on the Caribbean coast of Central America, Belize – formerly British Honduras – borders on both Mexico and Guatemala. The country is still a member of the British Commonwealth, with Queen Elisabeth as its official head of state. Until last year, homosexual acts had been illegal there, but that situation is over thanks to […]

Situated on the Caribbean coast of Central America, Belize – formerly British Honduras – borders on both Mexico and Guatemala. The country is still a member of the British Commonwealth, with Queen Elisabeth as its official head of state. Until last year, homosexual acts had been illegal there, but that situation is over thanks to a recent ruling by the country’s Supreme Court.

Following years of litigation, that ruling was a major victory for the LGBTI community in Belize. The case had been taken to court by Caleb Orozco, director of UNIBAM, the country’s oldest LGBTI organisation (founded in 2006).

“The idea for a Pride Week developed out of discussions carried out on 10 August, in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling,” Orozco explains. “That was a historical day – not only for LGBTI people in Belize, but really for all citizens of our country. That ruling acknowledged the rights of what until then had been a marginalised group in our society. With Pride Week, we commemorate this development and want to continue to build on that.” Orozco emphasises that the goal of Pride Week is reinforce the country’s LGBTI community and to promote an inclusive society on the basis of diversity.

Pride Week is a week full of activities organised for and by the LGBTI community in Belize. All six of the country’s LGBTI organisations are working together to make it happen.

All these organisations are partners in COC International’s PRIDE programme. COC supports a number of components of the programme, including the launch of a guidebook for LGBTI people who would like to establish a family, the opening of an LGBTI centre in Belize City, a Pride Celebration in Belmopan, and an LGBTI photo exhibition in the lobby of the Supreme Court, which opens on Thursday, 10 August 2017. The opening of that exhibition – in that historic place and on that date – is certainly one of the highlights of Belize Pride Week 2017.