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Apr 9, 2014

Transgender woman is stoned and beaten by an angry mob

On Tuesday evening, a transgender woman was badly beaten in Belize City. She goes by the name of Vanessa Champagne Paris and was walking on Vernon Street when she was first targeted. Dressed in women’s clothing, Vanessa’s attackers followed her and by the time she got to Mayflower Street, the group morphed into an angry mob. The violence against the gay community came up recently when a long list of complaints was presented in a hearing before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights of the O.A.S. in Washington. The United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) and the Belize Youth Empowerment for Change petitioned the hearing seeking measures by the government to protect the LGBT community. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Discrimination, in various forms, against members of the LGBT community persists in Belizean society.  Despite efforts to raise awareness by promoting civil and human rights, Belizeans are chiefly a homophobic lot.  The recent physical assault of a transgendered woman in Belize City brings into sharp focus, yet again, the plight of this particular social group.  On Tuesday, Vanessa, as she prefers to be called, was walking along Vernon Street when she became the victim of a vicious attack.


Voice of: Vanessa Champagne Paris, Assault Victim

“While walking down Vernon Street [uhm] nearly close to the end dehn have a ball field pan yo right hand side, coming if yo gwein to Central American Boulevard.  When I approach deh, when I reach da specific part, walking on the left hand side of the road dehn mi have a lotta young bwai weh mi di play football and soh.  While passing one ah dehn look pan mi and seh, “You know dat dah wa [bleep] man!”  Soh di otha one seh, “Cho, dat dah wah man?”  Soh ih sehe, “Yes, dah wah [bleep] faggot!” Den he mi deh eena di middle ah di field di play ball, he run fahn eena di field and he come to di [uhm] to di sidewalk and dehn he staat seh, “You [bleep] battyman, you [bleep] punk, [bleep] how you wahn walk dis street and den he staat pick up some broken pieces a cement and staat stone afta me.”


Soon enough Vanessa’s attacker would be joined by several others who began pursuing her down the street, all the way continuing to throw stones and hurl insults at her.  Upon reaching the intersection with Mayflower Street, Ghost Town, as it is colloquially known, the number grew into a mob of riotous men armed with sticks and stones.


Voice of: Vanessa Champagne Paris

“When I nearly reach dehn, I sih dehn come closer like eena di middle a di street fi like look pan me more closely and so when dehn look pan me, I just sih dehn, mussi like three man, four, ‘cause da mi bout fifteen bwai deh deh but four ah dehn get up, pick big rocks up, cement and just start stone afta me.  And so I seh hmm, well I haffi really get outta dis place fi true and so I staat run with all, di fastest I coulda mi run and when dehn sih dat I mi really wahn escape or get weh from dem, one ah di bwai from di same corner ah di street, he mi done deh close to me soh he just staat chase afta me too, and I mi have on wahn long black dress and I couldn’t really run fast enough and soh he ketch up to me, he grab me by di back ah my dress and he pull me back.  When he pull me back I try fight ahn fi get weh but I couldn’t really get weh and he hold me back and he punch me eena my face eena di right corner ah my face.  Di adda rest meet up to me and only four bwai, only four bwai come and dehn staat beat me up.”


Vanessa’s harrowing ordeal, a first for her outside of the southern community she is from, comes on the heels of a recent presentation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous organ of the O.A.S.  The forum saw the participation of the United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, and the Belize Youth Empowerment for Change.  Both parties spoke on the many instances of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment against the gay community.


Steven Diaz

Steven Diaz, Belize Youth Empowerment for Change

“We remain concerned that the state retains legislation criminalizing same-sex sexual conduct, the provision exacerbates discrimination, violence against and general marginalization of sexual minorities in Belizean society.  We remain concerned that the state has not implemented any public policies or legislation that would rectify the extreme public stigma against LGBT individuals in Belizean society or counter the homophobic speech or misinformation spread by proponents of the criminalization of same-sex conduct.”


In this case, Vanessa was simply returning from an appointment at the Vital Statistics Unit, where she had just received her birth certificate and other documents that would afford her to start a new life when she was assailed.


Voice of: Vanessa Champagne Paris

“I came to get my new papers because I have to get mi birth paper fi change mi name, mi social security card and afta I done get that then seeking employment.”


The unsolicited attack underscores recent concerns shared by UNIBAM’s Executive Director Caleb Orozco on the issue of stigma and discrimination against the community.


Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM

Caleb Orozco

“The concerns about perceived stigma found in a 2012 study found that forty percent has suffered some level of discrimination, whether verbal or physical, both being the more common forms.  Concerns about violence is interconnected to hate speech that is further perpetuated in parts of the Belize Media.”


For Vanessa, the vitriol, as well as the physical abuse, began during her childhood.


Voice of: Vanessa Champagne Paris

“My own cousins dehn gaan eena my house and they personally took me out of the house, brought a knife, machete and even beat me up fi mek I come outta di house and my father allowed it.  He personally tek a knife and stabbed me and tell me mek I come out.”


Nestor Mendez

While there is a charge being made that government isn’t doing much to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the gay community, Belize’s ambassador to the O.A.S., Nestor Mendez, in addressing the gathering, says that the Barrow administration remains committed to upholding the tenets of the constitution, despite raging cultural and legal war.


Ambassador Nestor Mendez, O.A.S.

“Belize is a constitutional democracy in which the constitution is the supreme law and it is the sovereign and democratic state of Central America in the Caribbean region.  It is a state that respects the fundamental rights of all Belizean nationals.  This general principle was buttressed by the Honorable Prime Minister of Belize when he delivered his 2013 Independence Day speech and declared, I open quotes, “Recently however, a most unsettling phenomenon has arisen, a version of wars has come to our country and it is souring the harmony and disrupting the rhythm of Belizean life.  The golden knot that ties us all together is in danger of coming loose.”


Regrettably, that golden knot has long since become a hangman’s noose which is being used at will to lynch members of the LGBT community.  It is a sad reality that, like others, Vanessa and Caleb are forced to live with.


Caleb Orozco

“I didn’t imagine the impact it would have on me psychologically and you only realize the impact after you’re in your room quiet, with nobody around, that’s when your anxieties roll up inside of you.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


To protect her from further violence, Vanessa asked that her identity be kept unknown. 

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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35 Responses for “Transgender woman is stoned and beaten by an angry mob”

  1. Gerald Underwood says:

    Stay home with your dress nobody wanna know that you are a Gay we are in smal Belize not united states of all assman

  2. Lord LOL says:

    Hmmmm something isn’t right about this event. I an very sure this is staged. I guess the international reporters in Belize will have a great story to write and report back home and now UNIBAM can have “evidence” to continue to gain support for their cause and existence.

  3. Ali BaBarrow protects his 40 & the Nina says:

    The fact that a Belizean would lift a stone to kill another who has no defense,
    But does nothing to stop government corruption, says why this country is failing.

    Let me guess… They call themselves pious Christians! Doing God’s work!

    Same ones who cheat on and beat their wives. They think they know right from wrong, and are ok with Ali and the thieves raping the country.

  4. Rod says:

    The us the OAS need to mind their own business that’s why the us is going to hell and down hill because they promote battyman and lesbians actions and they will punish for this so don’t bring your nastiness here to push on us belizeans.

  5. Lowjack says:

    To beat up a gay, it doesn’t turn it in his 5 senses my friends
    but to give them freedom to be gay it doesn’t helo to
    what you need to do is promote sexual orientation in all
    tbe country, schools, and most important HOME, to be a gay
    is nothing good as well lesbian, the same Bible talks abou it
    read it and you will see that God created man and women
    and He doesn’t created gay or lesbian that’s a sin, but is sib
    to stone them or what you people did, try ti get a better sexual
    orientation to all our kids and you will see the difference
    use your head Belize

  6. sickntired says:

    While i no support caleb and i just feel like da him di cause all this friction in belize, i feel really sad for this transgender person. Belize always had transgender and gay people and we never did them harm before caleb come and create all the rucktion. Caleb need fi stop try change belize into america and instead mek we focus on caring and sharing within we community like we used to in the past. Allcrime and poverty bad and if we come together to help each other like before then we no will have time to bother about sexual differences. Caleb if you want to be american then go there to live but in the time being stop stirring up trouble for the gay community.

  7. Uncle Benji says:

    It is a sad day in Belize. Like black African barbarians that kill and cannibalize their victims, we have allowed our ignorance, hatred, confused minds and “nigga” souls to shine. What a sad for all Belizeans.

    We talk about being educated, we pride ourselves in being bilingual but this hate crime has brought out the “nigga” in all of us.

    A mother’s baby was killed today. A sister was denied her brother. Belize we have beome animalistic.

    For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

  8. MOSES x says:

    Ahem! Who was it that destroyed (bun down) Sodom and Gomorrah.

  9. Elgin Martinez says:

    The Constitution of Belize was made before UNIBAM came into existence as a result it is absurd that Diaz is assuming that our laws is the cause of the LGBT problem in Belize.Furthermore statistics would show that more heterosexuals has being assaulted and murdered in Belize than Gays.

  10. Gustavo says:

    Good Belizeans. Do not let this pass. We cannot entertain this.

  11. Belizean says:

    I don’t support violence, none at all. However, this is a clear sign that Belize on a whole will not accept this type of immoral garbage. This particular news piece will be used by the gay agenda people and by the UN to victimize God fearing people, false flagging it to force their stuff down our throats.
    As soon as Belize will put aside the part of the Constitution that says that God is our supreme figure, and that we take Him as our leader, this country will go down. Look at the US. They have been fighting for “gay rights”. Ever since that started, the country started failing. The further they win with their agenda, the worse their economy gets. Its a simple but true gauge.

  12. Phillipa says:

    I agree with what u are saying Belizean I dont even know know why the new refer to him as a she for he isa a man it does not matter how much time he change his name bottom line is he is a man and he is a HE not a SHE

  13. Elgin Martinez says:

    @Steven Diaz.So should Belize’s Constitution change to accommodate everyone’s agenda?

  14. J says:

    why do they insist on calling it a woman? it is male. the fact that it thinks it is a woman does not change the fact that biologically it is still male

  15. Grigagial72 says:

    To each his own! if he chooses to be a she, that’s his choice. We all choose to be what we want to be. Most of us know the scriptures of the bible. But can we quote them and relate them with our own wrong doing? Or do we think that what we are doing is right? Yet we are quick to judge others.
    (If you had a choice, would you force yourself to live in a chicken’s coop instead of a house?) That’s the same for gays, lesbians, and straight people. Do we have freedom of choice in Belize?
    We should never belittle anybody no matter whet race, class, color, or creed they are.
    Stop the ignorance Belize. It shows how much illiteracy we still have.

  16. J.Gomez says:

    I look at all this comments and I see why the gays think they need help. So much hating and for a man wearing dresses. Why we don’t beat murderers and rapists? This person was not doing anything just walking. We let politicans be corupt murder everywere and rapists and nobody gos to jail. All you people show hate. Where is love Belize?

  17. Miss says:

    no matter what he/she is no matter what no matter what that is a human being just like anyone of us …this is a hate crime.. I have nothing against gays/lesbian but the only thing I want is for them to keep their romance or pleasure inside their houses no bring it out in public so our young children minds no get confuse..even us who are not gay nor lesbian cannot be doing incident behavior on the street so same way I ask them..God bless the person and hope this hate crime stops

  18. Stage says:

    I agree that this was staged. We may have a few individuals that might want to hurt people of such Transgender behavior, and they may be incidents here and there. And no doubt it should not happen. But to say that an incident like this happen is just wrong. I don’t think no right minded Belizean would see and incident like this happening and just decide to join in too. And the crowd just grew. We as a people are not like this. I could not see someone being beaten up and just join in too. Someone I don’t know or even why they are beating on them. I believe UNIBAM just wanted some media coverage and they got it.

    I do believe that if we are gay or not we do all deserve protection from the state. It was reported too that despite being a mob he had minor injuries. I don’t see how a mob would leave you wit minor injuries. If one person wanted to hurt him, they would have. Stage.

  19. the voice says:

    We need to educate our children better. Every person is deferent. Most latinos guys deep inside them have gay in them. Thats why they like temerarios,mana,pasteles verdes,grupo primavera e.t.c.
    And they cry with the music! Just go to any bar in Belize dont drink and look around you. After12 they start turning. It is scary. Men with wifes and kids do it. Another think that we need to educate our children is about kids that are born with downsindrome dont call them pin pin or tease them worst trow rocks at them.( I witness a few of those) and got in trouble defending them . All Belizean men. sorry about the latinos. I know a lot of people wont like this but it is true.

  20. jungle says:

    what is wrong with that man, when you are born with your pinnies how the hell you can remove it and call your self a woman, only because he is lazy to work like a man thats why he want to be a woman, caleb and the rest need a green plantain in their az——————–hol

  21. CEO says:

    Many, if not most, Belizeans are still pretty ‘ignorant’ when it comes to these issues of society. My people our real problem as a nation is not who wears a dress or a pants or who’s biology is not quite like the most of us; our real problem are the crooked and corrupt politicians who are running the country.

    We are so anti two adult males consent in being together as a couple but we say nothing about priests who through out the history of the church have and still are violating children. There is never any public outcry or any mob action against elected officials who violate our trust…

  22. alley cat says:

    I was once a member of such mobs, I regret the violence and pain I caused. It is so easy to get caught up in a pack mentality…

    Live and Let Live.

  23. Belizean says:

    FALSE FLAG!!! Staged!!!!! Conspiring, and creating illegal evidence in order to prove their case!! Sick to the last drop.

    Thou shalt not kill, amen and amen. However the punishment for homosexuality is just as big as for murder, by God it is. Doesnt our Constitution state that this country respects God is our final and ultimate being?

  24. jay says:

    Couldn’t have said better myself, CEO. The silly selective outrage of Belizeans is just mind boggling. They’re up in arms about a man in a dress, but corrupt politicians get a free pass. How about chasing Penner and Castro down the street with sticks and stones.

  25. sue29 says:

    The actions are not acceptable but I believe that there is another side to this story. And they need to refer to him as a male as his gender not his sexual orientation which he chooses to be a female.

  26. Elly says:

    If we’ll be stoning and beating up on these people, why, then aren’t we doing the same to those ‘preachers/pastors’ who are molesting our young girls and boys; or the women who are having children out of wedlock; or the men who are siring children but not supporting them; or even the men and women who are having affairs outside of their marriage; what about our politicians who are robbing our country blind and the foreigners who come to our country on the pretense of ‘creating jobs’ for our people??????????? Oh, hold on…guess that would leave only the children who would be eligible to throw stones, right?….and the beat goes on…..

  27. Indiana says:

    Backward country. Hope a giant sink hole opens and swallows it up. You people need to educate yourselves if thats at all possible.

  28. Samantha says:

    You people who judge others are cruel. You will never know what your child will grow up to supportive rather than judgemental.. Why dont those cruel ppl lift a rock to the men who rape and molest children or rob people.. ? If someone want s to be gay let them. Everyone is entitled to thier own opinion and decisions.. Hating and hurting people wont get you any closer to the gates of heaven. You should never judge what you dont understand but like what my grandma se if them want be gay left them, for those u cnt help yuh pray fu them.

  29. OMG says:

    I can’t believe what I just read. @The Voice…I am sure u need an education yourself,. So by liking a type of music makes u GAY? LMFAO,. So, just by you looking at them after midnight they start turning,.bahaha, just reading the nonsense u wrote at 12:13pm exact I concluded that U r the GAYEST of all… What u wanted a Latino and he said no to you? Because that’s what I get from what u get out of your closet U ignorant r so effing GAY u know almost all of the Mexican bands,.Oh Lawwwddd!!

  30. Patricio says:

    I’m not gay but I support their rights as general human rights. I don’t know Belize, I thought it’s a Caribbean paradise, but reading this makes me think twice, in fact it’s a savage place, so I wouldn’t spend my holidays there, sorry…

  31. Renee says:

    This is horrible and I am disgusted by the state of Belize. That is so wrong and you take a life because there different that’s f…. up and I will never or want to ever go to Belize or surrounding that was so low class and too much Hate yall can have it smh damn shame. That poor person my heart goes out

  32. Bull says:

    All ah uno whe talk bout confuse or corrput the children when you are the same ones showing them bad examples. Jeez, don’t blame these people for your kids becoming what they are. Take responsibility for them, it’s the way you train and bring them up that will have an effect on them. Typical, point fingers and never take responsibility. What di hell was this guy doing?? NOTHING. Walking down the street. I bet if it was a female and male walking and the male did something wrong, nobody would step in and beat the male huh? Uno worthless and judge others too quickly without looking in the mirror and judging your own lives first

  33. JerryMike says:

    There are two types of People in Belize. One type that sees nothing wrong with LGBTI, and says live and let live, and the other type that does not agree for whatever matter. I don’t support LGBTI, and never will. Not accepting them, or wanting to live among them has nothing to do with who I am, but with what I believe in.

    Jesus came to save those who are lost. Only he can help these LGBTI people who are so sick, confused and drunk with the sweets of SATAN. All the sins of the world are sins, but the private sin of sex, which they now want to publicize, and which is against their own bodies, says tons.

    Showing love for an LGBTI person will prove to be tough, but may, just ,maybe, the miracle of love will help to turn them around, so that they could see the err of their ways.

    If their actions are right, then why do they need rights?
    Rights for what? for making a right wrong?

    Don’t try to change the law’s of a country to reflect your preferences, or to be comparable to other nations. Seek personal help, while it may be found.

    America is like a WHORE draining the blood of innocent victims; don’t let us be her customers!

  34. Pelican says:

    Staged for foreign reporters to take back. Also to give Caleb something to show!! That buay da wan a…….

  35. vanessa paris says:

    VANESSA CHAMPAGNE PARIS…….my self vanessa paris I have absolutely no remorse whatso ever to any of you illiterate fools out there who feels that my appearance as a female or my sexual orientation offends you.i must note also note to all my haterz that they will by no means deter my determination to express my self freely,belizeans must accept the fact and must get to know learn and apply to their daily lives the most basic things of all and that is to love,havent much to say to these fools because they wont learn but they wont get me to do what they want.I WILL CONTINUE TO BE ME AND IF IT COSES ME MY LIFE THEN SO BE IT BUT BE INFORMED THAT IT WONT BE EASY.

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