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Dec 5, 2016

Caleb Orozco Scoops Activist Award After Section 53 Victory

Caleb Orozco

Gay rights activist Caleb Orozco is the 2016 winner of the David Kato Vision and Voice Award.  The achievement acknowledges the continued efforts of the UNIBAM founder in highlighting the struggles of the LGBT community in Belize.  The award is in honor of David Kato, a human rights activist who was murdered in his home in Kampala, Uganda in 2011.  It recognizes the leadership of individuals who strive to uphold the numerous dimensions of sexual rights for LGBTI people.

 

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM

“It’s the first time a Belizean ever got such an award from anywhere. Second, one must understand the David Kato’s life. He was considered the father of the LGBT movement in Uganda. He was part of a group of litigants who sued a particular newspaper, called rolling Stones, to stop them from revealing the name of gay men in a magazine called Condemned. With the title, they had in the magazine…the title in regards to gay men was Hang Them. Because of the violation of privacy, the litigants took the case to court and won. And essentially the decision established that even when the fundamental rights does not clearly state that is the extent of sexual orientation, it is understood that the fundamental rights apply to all citizens and as such sexual orientation is inclusive and explicit to orientation. The effort of David Kato and his visibility essentially led to his death in January 2011 and in between that, it was interesting that he carried his work with similar rumors, jeers and criticism that I have experienced here in Belize, but nevertheless, he marched on regardless and lived life on his terms and that to me I can connect to.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How were you selected for this award? What was the process like and what was the feeling upon learning that you actually won the award?”

 

Caleb Orozco

“First of all, you are assuming I know what the process is. I didn’t apply for myself. In fact I wouldn’t encourage no one to fill out a boring application on my behalf. What I do know was that the lady with the heart who was able to fill out the application lives in San Pedro—I don’t know if she wants me to reveal her name—but she took it one step forward. She took it one step further cause she didn’t have to…she contacted somebody from AIDS Free World and a gentleman by the name of Steven Lewis who used to run the UN or be part of the UN system and together they essentially, collectively, sent in my nomination without me knowing. And to my surprise I heard of the winning in Thailand a few days ago.”

 

Gay Rights Activist Maurice Tomlinson won the award in 2014.

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