Belize

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: legal
  • Legal gender recognition: not possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: possible
  • Actions related to SOGi at UN: supported IE SOGI in 2019

 

Overview

Belize has made progress on LGBTIQ issues in the past decade; however, there are still significant barriers to full LGBTIQ equality. In 2016, Belize became the first nation in the Caribbean to shake off Colonial era so-called “buggery laws” as the Supreme Court decriminalized same-sex relations. Moreover, the court ruled that the Constitution protects people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation - both of these rulings were upheld by the Appeals Court in 2019. Nonetheless, LGBTIQ people in Belize are still subjected to harassment, discrimination, and social rejection. Same-sex relationships are not legally recognized. Belize has a law banning “homosexuals” from immigrating. Although this law is not enforced, it contributes to the general antipathy towards LGBTIQ people in Belize.

LGBTIQ organizations have reported police targeting and harassing Belizeans on the basis of perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity. There are no legal gender recognition procedures in Belize, making transgender people particularly vulnerable. The Christian Church plays a strong cultural role in Belize, influencing norms around gender and sexuality, and contributing to the general antipathy towards LGBTIQ people. Evangelical churches have continuously opposed all efforts to advance the human rights of LGBTIQ people.