International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality as a mental illness. On May 17th, 1990 the World Health Organization declared that “Homosexuality was not a disease.” The declaration date is now commemorated as the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Homophobia and Transphobia is about an extreme and irrational aversion to gay man and Transgender persons. These issues remains invisible for the society, because it is assumes gay and transgender individuals are not assaulted, abused or arrested indiscriminately as a matter of state policy.
The case of Jose Garcia in 2009 highlights how discrimination can occur. The recent experience of another Belizean, Mia Quetzal, in Trinidad highlights, how symbols of the state can abuse their authority. Preliminary results from a transgender study in Belize done by The Caribbean Trans in Action (CRTA), tells us that 78% of trans people do not believe the laws protect them and close to 90% of men who have sex with men population from a field data report collected by UNIBAM in 2010-11, did not believe they could trust law enforcement to provide equal treatment under the law. State policy does not officially oppress, but in practice, a minority of state symbols has had a history of abusing their authority in the name of the state against LGBT persons knowing that the individual would not formally complaint.
Homophobia and Transphobia, is usually experience more intimately, in verbal abuse among peers, intimidation by neighbors, threats of violence in simply taking a seat on a bus, co-workers and family members isolation, denial of shelter, employment and lost of education. These experiences go unnoticed, because it is not reported.
The pass media editorials and articles have sought to perpetuate fear-mongering, rather than to educate. It is time for a change. As Belizeans we demand equal protection, and fair treatment. This is not controversial as Belizean lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have the same expectations. When a LGBT person cannot get a job, walk on the street and get an education this is not controversial for we all expect the same thing. We are one in human dignity and rights.