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May 17, 2016

US Vice President Speaks on International Day Against Homophobia

International Day Against Homophobia, known as IDAHOT, was celebrated today in many countries. Across the border in Mexico, President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed that same-sex marriage be legalised as part of a progressive move toward marriage equality. The president announced his proposal at an event marking the International Day Against Homophobia. After meeting with LGBT groups, the president said he signed initiatives that would secure marriage equality in the Mexican Constitution.  The U.S. Embassy in Belize also commemorated IDAHO to mark the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases. A statement from  the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden states, “On this day, we acknowledge the occurrence of everyday actions that result in discrimination and acts of violence towards members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered communities in Belize and its allies around the world.  Despite these unfortunate incidents of discrimination, the commemoration of IDAHO should be seen as a great opportunity to highlight the positive aspects of the LGBT community and celebrate the rich diversity, accomplishments, and contributions the LGBT community brings to Belize and the world.” This morning members of a newly local organization PETAL appeared on Open Your Eyes. They spoke about the newly established organization and the efforts to empower women.


Simone Hill

Simone Hill, PETAL

“In 2011 I started off what was called ‘Conversations’.  And these conversations eventually went into the idea of educating women on the Issues and the laws that affect them and do not affect them.  So that is how I started off doing these things for women. I am still the President of UNIBAM but I wanted to look specifically at women issues as you said.  Moving the conversations along to the next level.”


Abigail McKay

Dr. Abigail McKay, PETAL

“I met Simone at a women’s month activity in 2013 or 2012.  Around a table there was a conversation of women who were muttering around the table as the event is going on, saying “They are not dealing with us, they’re not talking about us”, and my attitude always is about women claiming their space. And I am a major subscriber to gender justice, social justice, economic justice, and my attitude has always been: For the people who are not included we have got to make spaces.  So I heard that.  And later on in that same year Simone approached me about getting involved with women of the Lesbian and Bi-Sexual Community.  And my reaction was “Sure, we can start with the issues that women go through in your relationships.  That was one of the first…Petal is looking at empowering women. In the conversations that had formed almost two years before PETAL evolved into an N.G.O., we had found that when you look at the laws of Belize…It’s not just about lesbian and bisexual, it’s all women.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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