An Advocate.com exclusive posted August 3, 2009
When the Cayman Islands suddenly and famously refused entry of an Atlantis Events cruise to its ports in 1998, Belize let the boat dock. More than a decade later, gays are slowly beginning to find a voice in Belize.
Back in 1998, when the Cayman Islands suddenly and famously refused entry of an Atlantis Events cruise to its ports, the ship moved on to nearby Belize. Despite a smattering of religious protest, the all-gay cruise liner was welcomed to Belize City, if with a fair amount of curiosity: Locals were reportedly so unfamiliar with homosexuals that they were surprised to find them actually “dressed as men.”
Often overshadowed by its bigger neighbors to the north (Mexico) and west (Guatemala), petite Belize is best known to savvy travelers for its gorgeous east, where a lush Caribbean coast is seasoned with hundreds of offshore islands, making it a paradise for nature lovers, eco-tourists, and divers.
A U.K. colony (known as British Honduras) until gaining its independence in 1981, this small land of just over 300,000 people retains remnants of many old British laws, unfortunately including a statute similar to those that still haunt Jamaica and Guyana, among others, with a 10-year prison sentence for sodomy. Though it’s almost never enforced, the law looms over LGBT life in Belize, preventing -- at least thus far -- nearly all forms of organized gay activity. Read complete article and more ADVOCATE.COM