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OUT in Belize

‘Out in Belize’ documents the lived experiences of sexual and gender minorities in Belize, in partnership with Belize-based LGBTQ+ support organisation Our Circle to map out the lived experiences of sexual and gender minorities  


Despite recent decriminalisation and the emergence of Pride events, our research demonstrates the barriers still faced by LGBTQ+ Belizeans across a range of core rights, including education, healthcare and housing. 

We need to be out there, we need to be visible and we need to be vocal. We need to take our space in society because that is our human right"  (Respondent from OUT in Belize study) 

ReportOUT worked in close partnership with Our Circle, a Belize-based LGBTQ+ support organisation over a period of nearly two years to document the lives of sexual and gender minorities in Belize.  This has been done with the purpose of examining the human rights and development needs for LGBTQ+ Belizeans. 


Challenges and discrimination remain a daily reality for LGBTQI+ Belizeans in housing, healthcare, education, government institutions, stigmatisation which occurs at both the hands of both state officials and close family members. For many, the experience of discrimination on the basis of their gender or sexuality has links with people’s religious beliefs and strong influence of the Church across society. 


There are clear areas for change, both in improving societal attitudes and in ratifying discrimination protections through an equal opportunities bill. Specific development projects may be needed to ensure that LGBTQ+ Belizeans are not at risk of being left behind in efforts to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, such as recognising the need to overcome barriers in access to health care or taking an intersectional approach to climate change prevention.  


However, there have been positive signs of progress, such as the increasing visibility of LGBTQ+ support groups such as Our Circle organising public events such as the first ever Pride Week in 2017 following decriminalisation of same-sex activity the previous year.  These initial steps need to be accompanied by enforcing recently enacted anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ+ Belizeans to achieve genuine equality and for Belize to meet its commitments under the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

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Please read and download this report (opens in PDF) by clicking here

The key findings of our ‘OUT in Belize’ research, found that  


  • 77% of people felt offensive language about LGBTQ+ people are widespread.

  • Discrimination and stigma are experienced across a variety of settings in society, for example from health care staff, landlords giving unfair treatment, teachers and other school children, police and state authorities, and mainstream media editors. There are no sexuality or gender-specific discrimination protections in Belizean law. 

  • Cases of torture and forced conversion therapy were known of and three respondents reported they had personally experienced this. In each instance, this had been perpetrated by religious figures.

  • LGBT-specific healthcare is not easily available or accessible; 92% of those who needed hormone therapy treatment were unable to access it.  

  • SOGIESC Belizeans do not feel safe to be ‘out’ and open about their identity. Less than half (45%) were comfortable sharing their identity with their employer and only 37% would share it with healthcare staff.  

  • 37% of respondents scored their mental health as 6 out of 10 or below, in contrast with only 27% who scored their physical health this poorly.  

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