Published: July 2003
Letter From Belize: Homophobia is Alive and Well
Letter >From Belize: Homophobia is Alive and Well
(Distributed with permission from Caleb Orozco)
Note: Belize is a tiny nation of 270,000 people situated between Mexico and Guatemala with an extensive Caribbean Coast and beautiful islands with lovely beaches. In recent years, Belize has become a well known destination for tourists from the US and Europe. Presumably many gay tourists visit Belize, and are allowed to spend their dollars, but if you are from Belize, the situation is different as this exchange of letters (below) indicates. Something as basic as a radio interview to discuss the topic of homophobia is still censored and prohibited in Belize.
I write to share an interesting piece of e-mail message coming from our the radio station LOVE FM. We have been attempting for weeks to get a date scheduled to talk about homophobia as it relates to the issues of prevention, care and treatment and we have been getting the run around for weeks. Accidentally, though not surprisingly, the message was received loud and clear that there was some resistance to the discussion and the below e-mail was sent to me about the stations concerns. This is not the first time this has happened to us as the Amandala, our local news paper have proceeded to published the most homophobic comments without regard for balance. If not enough, Krem Radio got on the bandwagon as well.
We often talk about stigma and discrimination affecting the care and treatment process, well Unibam is wallowing in it as we persue our work on discussing homophobia. Private conversations, workshops and inaction is not progress in care and treatment or prevention. Waiting for us to fall flat on our face is not progress. Being afraid to take a stand publicly is not progress. YES, this is very personal as recently, A SAID PERSON TRIED TO get me from the west three times, but died last night because he was afraid to be stigmatized by freinds in the west and by his superviser.
When institutional indifference on the subject matter of homophobia is ignored or brushed aside it cost lives. What we are looking for is action that is proactive and sincere. The e-mail speaks volume about how comfortable the system is on sex and sexuality.
We are urging anyone with some common sense to help us reach some understanding with the role the media plays.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Caleb Orozco <email@example.com>
Date: Apr 2, 2007 5:42 PM
Subject: FW: FRom Julia-on Love Fm review
From: "Julia Jones" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: FRom Julia
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 18:50:05 +0000
>The young man using my computer told me you im me about when you
>guys can come on the mshow.
>I still don't have an answer. I would love to have you on the show
>but unfortunately some members in my management have mixed feelings
>because they do not feel that the word, "Gay" and anything involved
>with it is one that should be discussed on the radio.
>I am trying to find a way around it but have not been lucky so far.
>There are some who feel this is a topic that should be discussed at
>public forums but not on the radio because it is something that
>affects the "pshyche" of the people.
>When I accepted it was because as the producer I felt I had the
>authority to deal with any issue and I felt that it was a topic that
>needs to be discussed. Unfortunately I cannot go against the
>decision of my management. However, if you feel there is another way
>to get the information out maybe using a different approach,maybe I
>can take it to them again.
>I look forward to hearing from you.
>PLease accept my apologies.
>Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today it's
Mr. Caleb Orozco