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#418587 - 10/13/11 01:49 PM Can You Pray Away Gay? UUHHHH NO
Marty Offline
It's been reported in Belize and all over the world: Belize's sodomy laws are being challenged by UNIBAM, the United Belize Advocacy Movement. UNIBAM has taken it to the Supreme Court, and the trial is pending.

At the end of July, 7news Special Correspondent Janelle Chanona examined the many arguments for and against the taking sodomy off the law books in Belize.

That was part one of her story - and part two, which we present tonight, takes a different tack; it takes the argument from the organizations to the individuals.

Janelle spoke with two Belizean women: one who is unapologetically gay, and another who says that - with prayer - she turned away from her life as a lesbian.

Two different perspectives on a very divisive issue - and here's Janelle's report:

Janelle Chanona Reporting

Melissa Mossiah - Prayed Away Gay
"My name is Melissa Mossiah. I don't think I have to say my age right?"

Simone Hill - Not Ashamed of Being a Lesbian
"I am a person, a human being. I'm Simone Hill, born to two parents that loved me."

The two Belizean women you are about to meet have very different stories about their sexual identities.

Melissa Mossiah
"I know how I used to feel, how I used to think. You get me? And that is not like - I can't convince people of anything, but just stating the fact that I am not the same. It's just unique. This was something that happened between me and God."

Melissa Mossiah says she lived as lesbian for much of her teenaged and early adulthood years because of events that occurred in her childhood.

Melissa Mossiah
"I was a little girl that matured very fast, you know. And so, a man took advantage of me, and innocently, he raped me and I couldn't tell anybody. I couldn't say anything, I couldn't even tell my dad. I was always around my dad; we were very close with each other. But I couldn't tell anybody. I couldn't speak any at all, and the only reason why is because this guy threatened me. Right after that, another scenery unfold and that was with my dad who had an affair, and it was right there in the middle of that, I started having a hatred built up towards men. And so this thing, the desires for females started building up now, because I am going to take care of these females. I am going to risk my life that no men do them anything. That was my mind; that's was what I was thinking."

Mossiah says her beliefs in God clashed with her lesbian life and led to anger, depression and even thoughts of suicide. She found comfort in Bible-based counseling after she moved in with her pastor's family. Eight years later, the young woman says she is no longer a lesbian.

Melissa Mossiah
"The transformation in my mind reflects the transformation outside, okay, because I am so comfortable, Janelle. I got to my bed, and I don't have to be thinking of how to gratifying my flesh, how to feed me, because how I used to make this things, how I used to build upon these desires and these feelings, I watched pornography. Pornography was introduced to Burrell Boom, after those couple years. And so that's how I used to feed myself. But the thing is, afterwards it just makes you feel empty, it doesn't satisfy you. But not only that, I used to masturbate as well. So all this, I was trying to help - something- but it didn't work. When the process began it was a struggle because I still had the desires. I still had the thoughts but, like I said, when the word started getting into my mind, and my pastor was really down-to-earth person when it comes to the word, because he is going to nail it in. And so getting that word in, when I go home, I think upon it. I'm in the bathroom and I'm thinking upon it. And so, that word, Janelle, was what transformed my entire mind, that when I look at female, they are beautiful just like myself. And God created them just as how he created me."

Janelle Chanona
"But you are not sexually attracted to her?"

Melissa Mossiah
"No, not anymore. I can't explain to you how God did what He did to me. I don't know how to explain that, but anytime you get connected with Him. That is what I wanted, a wanted a change"

Simone Hill
"We were born into a family; we are just like the next person. If you cut us, we bleed."

We approached several members of the gay and lesbian community to participate in this documentary; all but one declined, saying they were afraid of how their families and friends would react; what their bosses would say or how their businesses would suffer.

Simone Hill shares many of those concerns but felt that by publicly sharing her story, she could put another human face to the public debate.

Simone Hill
"I knew what I was feeling from I was ten years old, but I never explored these things, you understand me? I wanted to do things that would make my parents happy. I wanted to make them happy. So, I did what I believed what would have made them happy. I have a child, and I raised my child with the help of my family and I taught my child to love. I noticed that my friends that were lesbians and gays, their family behaved back in the early 90s, like at them like they could have turned their children, their little nieces and nephews. I was so sad to me, to see this. I thank God that my sisters didn't behave in that way. I babysat my nieces and nephews. I had my daughter and she was nothing like that. People say - I remember getting some ridiculous questions like, 'Aren't you afraid that she becomes like you?' Who is thinking that? You are just raising your child. There were questions that my daughter raised to me about Sodom and Gomorrah, and all those things. And I answered them to the best of my ability."

Janelle Chanona
"What did you answer?"

Simone Hill
"What did I answer? So long ago, Janelle, but nonetheless, my daughter is here. I believe that I raised her well. She's a good person and one wouldn't - because people put labels - If you look, and she was walking on the street, who would know that she has a mother that is a lesbian? Coming back to tie it all together, we are human beings. We are all just like you pops being the camera, walking the streets and other things. We come in all shapes, forms and other things. Some of us are extreme; some of us are more conservative. But, we are human beings at the end of the day. Some people won't like us because some of us are open, and we are true to ourselves."

Simone Hill hopes that one day she will be able to live as a lesbian without harassment and threats of violence, which is why she supports changing local laws to decriminalize sodomy.

Maria Roches - March 31st 2004
"Well I am fighting for my fundamental rights which were violated and abused and I want my job back."

The decriminalization of sodomy is not the first time that differences in religious beliefs and Constitutional rights have resulted in a court case. In 2004, school teacher Maria Roches was "released" from her post at a Roman Catholic institution after she became a single mother. The court later upheld legal arguments that Roches' dismissal was unconstitutional because it violated her right against discrimination based on sex.

Dean Barrow - Maria Roches' Attorney, March 31st 2004
"All of us have to respect the church and especially the Catholic Church but the Constitution our country is supreme. And whenever anything that is done is in conflict with the constitution, then citizens have a right to go to court and to have this declared to be so. In my view that is what is happening here."

Florence Goldson - Human Rights Advocate
"You have the right to your beliefs and there are so many different spiritual beliefs. So, but there are only one set of human rights, and human rights are guaranteed to every single person just by virtue of being born."

Human rights advocate Florence Goldson says all Belizeans should support efforts to change laws that discriminate, including those that decriminalize sodomy.

Florence Goldson
"This is a law that has the potentiality to affect all of us, because all of us - any person that's going to engage any sexual intercourse, and wants the right and freedom to decide on how they will be intimate, can be affected by this law. So then it saddens and angers me that we decide to isolate one group of people, and decide that it's okay to violate their rights, that we all have the right to protection, except for those people, and whoever else we decide are not worthy of protection. The silence, the fear, the intolerance are indicative of the law and what discriminating laws can bring about. So, as a nation, we should ensure that laws like this one, and other laws, because there are laws that discriminate against women, the laws that don't protect children. There are lots of laws that force us into silence, push people to live hidden lives."



Melissa Mossiah
"My greatest desire right now is to be able to share the truth. That if God can set me free, He can set you free. It doesn't matter what, how deep you are in it. He can set you free."

Simone Hill
"I pray that the law gets change, and so that we can all live in harmony. That's what I pray for. So in the long term, I would like to see us whereby we have laws that protect not only homosexuals, but everybody. I hope that everybody's rights get protected and the laws respect that, and that people can respect these things."

In the end, this case is not just about arguing what's in the law books. This case is about Belizeans and their beliefs. If the laws stay the same, homosexuals will continue to feel discriminated against. If the laws are changed, the religious community will feel that Belize is on a slippery slope to damnation. Belizeans will have to determine whether we want to be a society that protects individual lifestyle choices or a society that clings strictly to religious ideals.

The trial has tentatively been set for December.

We'll keep following the story as it draws closer to a trial date...

Channel 7


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#419483 - 10/22/11 01:48 PM Re: Can You Pray Away Gay? UUHHHH NO [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Ideas and Opinions - Unibam vs People of Belize

Amandala

The legal documents filed in the lawsuit being brought by the homosexual community, henceforth to be referred to as HMSC, say differently but, in reality it is HMSC against the people of Belize. If their suit succeeds, the people lose; and if it fails, the people win. It is suggested that HMSC comprises 5% of the population. So. A victory for HMSC would be like a small minority of our population prevailing against the will of the vast majority.

It is a kind of paradox because, HMSC is not “an island; they are part of the main.” So, how can their winning a lawsuit against the people, of which they are a small part, be accounted a victory? This can only be, if the people are wrong and Unibam is right; but, in our democracy, the people are never wrong and, it is the people who support the law which makes homosexual acts criminal.

A respected columnist in another newspaper wrote that the attitudes of society change as they become more knowledgeable and enlightened. She draws a parallel between societies’ attitude to left handedness, which was based on superstition, and that toward homosexuality, which is based on a Commandment; not an apt comparison. She is right that attitudes change with the increase of knowledge. What is there to learn about homosexuality that we don’t already know? We know that it was prevalent amongst the ruling classes of Rome and Greece. It was a mark of their superiority over the common people, who were lacking in imagination and adventure. The Greeks and Romans are regarded as enlightened, to the extent that they had a pantheon of gods whom they worshipped, but their understanding of nature and the world around them was very limited. The first light came to them when Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, was able, through the exercise of pure reason, to discover that there must have been a First Cause. Should we be looking at the Greeks and Romans as models of enlightened behaviour, when, in matters of the spirit, they were a little more advanced than pagans?

The first cause of action of the Unibam’s lawsuit is that the HMSC is denied, by the law which criminalizes homosexual acts, the right to privacy. It is not so. Under the law, the act is criminal wherever it is performed; however, if the act takes place in someone’s home, where his right to privacy is inviolable, it is a non-happening. It is like the tree that fell in the middle of the forest at midnight. There is no evidence of the occurrence. So, it did not occur.

The second cause of action is that the law which says that it is a crime for two male persons to engage in acts against the order of mature, is unconstitutional, because they are denied the right of freedom of sexual expression. Is it an invasion of your privacy if the law forbids you from performing an act which is always done in private? That is absurd. Should the law, therefore, be revoked because it seems to serve no useful purpose, or be amended so that it does? Perhaps. Perhaps.

Before trying to bring this matter to a conclusion, let us consider how the cause of HMSC has been advanced over the last fifty years. It started with a public relations “coup de grace” when one of their advocates came up with a new name for the community. Actually, it began when they organized themselves into a community. Before that, they were individual deviants. Coming together made them a band of homosexuals; then they were transformed by a single word into the Gay Community. The word “gay”, which no longer means lighthearted or joyful, has been appropriated and no longer means what it used to. That was like a great leap forward. Now the individual homosexual could feel that he belonged.

An opportunity came in America for HMSC to get national recognition when they joined the civil rights movement as a body with a common cause, to protest against discrimination. The colored people were protesting against racial discrimination, and HMSC against discrimination because of sexual preference, which later became sexual orientation.

The next big step was for HMSC to join the Democratic Party in America and make their objectives a part of that party’s platform. They would not have been allowed to join the Republican Party as a voting bloc, because of the influence of the Evangelicals on the leadership of that party.

Since then, developments in the fortunes of HMSC in America, and the attitudes of the populace towards homosexuality have changed to the point where in some states the legislature has approved same sex marriages. In effect, the people of a few states in America have changed the status quo to make homosexuals feel that their behavior is normal and their lifestyle is acceptable.

Observe that in America, the people decided what was in their best interest, not a court. A court should not have the power to change the status quo. The law against the practice of homosexuality in Belize is in the spirit of the Constitution, our social mores, our moral values and, the attitude of 95% of our society, which disapproves of homosexuality.

This is not a matter to be decided by a court but, to be determined by the will of the people expressed through Parliament.

Let the question be put to the people on the ballot paper in the municipal elections and our elected representatives decide what is in the National Interest and will sub-serve the Common Good.

I contend that what is in the National Interest and will sub-serve the Common Good is for a political decision and not the judgment of a tribunal.

Amandala


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#419492 - 10/22/11 02:11 PM Re: Can You Pray Away Gay? UUHHHH NO [Re: Marty]
SimonB Offline
"The first cause of action of the Unibam’s lawsuit is that the HMSC is denied, by the law which criminalizes homosexual acts, the right to privacy. It is not so. Under the law, the act is criminal wherever it is performed; however, if the act takes place in someone’s home, where his right to privacy is inviolable, it is a non-happening. It is like the tree that fell in the middle of the forest at midnight. There is no evidence of the occurrence. So, it did not occur."

That's great to hear! That means that in the privacy of your home you can kill someone, partake of any kind of illegal drugs, participate in prostitution and none of it happened...

Does this guy even think before he writes?

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