Decriminalizing gay: Belize with a 'Z', like Liza
Before today, the only way Belize was ever topical was when I was discussing chic places to escape winter with my nouveau riche fashion friends. Inevitably the eco-resort off its coast where the petit bourgeois, and Tiger Woods, go to getaway from the drama, came up. But now it seems the former British colony is going to be the test case for progressive politics on a global level as its court prepares to hear an argument to decriminalize homosexuality. Belize is poised to be the Tunisia of a Gay Spring. As if there weren’t a cruising scene in that jungle already.
One can only imagine what inspired a group of well-spoken British men with signet rings, on the far side of the pond, to create a new advocacy group called the Human Dignity Trust. But it seems that of the eighty plus countries targeted by the newly minted organization, forty-two are members of the Commonwealth of Nations (former British colonies), that still articulate homosexuality and sodomy—cause straights do it, too—as illegal. Don’t blame the banana republics; this law is leftover from the days of monarchical rule.
And almost a decade after the coalition of the willing freedom fighters, the world’s attention falls back on former attorney general, Lord Peter Goldsmith, who will act as leading counsel on behalf of HDT in the first hearings in Belize. His previous fifteen minutes didn’t end so well, having advised Tony Blair to use force in Iraq after some crafty interpretation of UN law. Maybe he means to make amends for that gaff, or clean up the remnant mess of imperialism? Insert ersatz cause here. Maybe he caught wind of Belize holding its first ever Miss Drag Queen Pageant in 2011.
Whatever the motivation and regardless the color of the horse riding into this geopolitical battle—white, lavender, Trojan—officially decriminalizing homosexuality in so many countries around the world could bring us one step closer to true equality and a new appreciation by mankind towards mankind. Irrational fear and prejudice are at the root of our social problems and impetus for tragedies (see WWII, Bosnia, Darfur). And hiding behind archaic laws that provide a convenient shield does nothing but hurt a percentage of people. Homosexuals still go to jail for being gay in these countries, never mind tortured, abused, driven to depression, or worse.
More than social values being challenged, decriminalizing homosexuality boils down to a spiritual vs. secular conflict where we see social progress pitted against immutable dogma. So it’s only fitting that we look to Mother England, again, to champion a progressive split from the current stodgy politics. Call it an old parlor trick, or pure coincidence, but it’s apropos that we catch wind of Belize and the HDT’s initiative on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Adapt or die ladies and gentlemen, just try to look fabulous while you’re doing it.
An all new season of GIRLS WHO LIKE BOYS WHO LIKE BOYS is just around the corner. Tune into Sundance Channel on for the first two episodes of Season 2 on Friday, November 18th at 9 PM et/pt. Can’t wait? Watch the Premiere RIGHT NOW!