A new initiative has been implemented to assist people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, as queer/questioning their sexuality or transgender (LGBQT). When some members of the LGBQT community make their identity known to their families, sometimes they are kicked out of the family home. A group called Transcolors sought help from UNIBAM and has received funding for a safe house to keep LGBQT persons out of harms way and with a roof over their heads. Caleb Orozco, the Executive Director of UNIBAM told Love News that the funding for the safe house came courtesy of Planet Romeo.
Caleb Orozco, the Executive Director of UNIBAM: “As an organization looking at providing technical support, we supported Belize Trans Colors in regards to reviewing the proposal and in regards to providing material support for their Safehouse for persons who belong to the Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans community in Belize. The whole process started itself months ago and I was pleasantly surprised to see that their proposal was approved, they are making an effort to strengthen the delivery of service these past few months. The funding itself came from Planet Romeo but what I want to reference is that there was a study called the population size estimate and in that study, it pointed out that about one percent of the sample size was homeless. Separately, we know that in our human rights observatory data that we collected, we know that of the four hundred plus cases we have there a various civil rights violations specific to LGBT. We know that 25% of violence and abuse comes from family. In our database we know for example that for those parents who are homophobic and pledge a very religious based position they have no problem making their children expendable. Within the context of the state delivering service, we know that the state does not provide significant or any services that will be housing related for persons who are Trans or for persons who are from the LGBT Community so this is a small way for us to create a structure. At this point in time, it is temporary lodging, it’s a rotating process, it allows people who stay there to develop a life plan with regard to identifying alternative support, finding a job or recommendations for a job. It basically is a temporary space for getting their lives back together and to deal with family rejection or their inability to get the necessary support to maintain a quality way of life that they were forced to abandon. With regards to space, it can hold four people at any one time. The space in my mind is not very big but it is comfortable and it allows people to cook and bathe which are basic hygienic things that are required for persons to at least have some basic sense of safety or some basic sense of health access so that they can take care of themselves.”
Orozco says it’s a historic occasion that a marginalized population has led a self-help initiative leading to tremendous results shortly after implementation.