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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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An 18 year old man was set upon and beaten up by an angry mob in Belize City tonight. The incident happened just after 6 pm.

The young man, who identifies himself as transgender, was dressed in women's clothing, namely a long black dress.

As he walked down Vernon Street, the youth who gives his name as Vanesa Champagne Paris says she was verbally harassed by a man who hurled derogatory words at him.

According to Vanesa, when his attacker asked why a "f*king fagot is walking this block," he turned around and responded to the attacker that he did not own the street.

That was when, according to Vanessa, that the man picked up rocks and started to "boom" him.

Vanessa says that he started to walk away but that the verbal assaults continued and that at one point the man shouted to the other young men who were in the area that he was a "f*king battyman" wearing a dress.

The group then set to chase Vanessa, who ran for safety. But before he could escape, Vanesa was caught and he says that a man in a black shirt grabbed him in his dress and punched him in the face.

At least four other men reportedly landed punches on Vanessa before he was able to break free and make another dash for the safety of a drug store on Central American Boulevard, from where help from the police was summoned.

When asked why he would venture out in public dressed as a woman, Vanessa says that "I am a transvestite. So I decide to live my life as a female."

He said that he did not expect that anyone would recognize him as a man or that they would physically attack him.

"I believe I have my rights and that is my way of expressing myself, dressing as a female," he explained, noting that he has been dressing as a female since he was 7 years old.

Vanessa, now 18, says that he has not yet made a report to the police, but plans to do so.

And even though he was beaten up, Vanesa says he plans to continue living as a transvestite, although he does not yet know how that will happen given what transpired today.

He sustained cuts, scrapes and bruises that did not require a trip to the hospital.

He remains adamant that his dressing as a woman was not an invitation to be beaten up.

"Everyone can mind their own business, or at least they should," says Vanesa. "I am a man dressed as a female, I noh think nothing is wrong with that. As long as I noh the interfere with anyone," he explains.

After being rescued by the police and led safely away, Vanesa has since found a "safe" house where he will be staying for the time being until a more permanent arrangement can be worked out.

Patrick Jones

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
As reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center on its report on Belize - "Texas-born Christian missionary Scott Stirm, who has railed against the "unacceptable" gay lifestyle, attacked alleged LGBT efforts to "go into the schools and teach our kids," ..."

One U.S. group, Extreme Prophetic Ministries of Phoenix, lists support for Belize Action as one of its projects. Led by Patricia King, the ministry has been known to pray in mortuaries in an effort to raise the dead. One of its ministers, Caleb Lee Brundridge, reportedly traveled to Uganda in 2009 for an anti-gay conference that helped promote a proposed "kill the gays" law there." Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center on Belize Lest we forget the lessons of history
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me."

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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Street Mob Attacks Transgender Vanessa Paris

And while that killer croc is being hunted – yesterday in a disturbing episode a transgender person was pursued and harassed in a similar fashion on the Belize City streets.  It happened in broad daylight at around 5:00 pm.  The transgender male from Independence who identifies as Vanessa Champagne Paris was coming from the vital statistics office – where she had gone to get a birth certificate.  She was walking back to Vernon Street to catch a bus when, near the Berger Football Field, a group of men seized upon her.  She told Monica Bodden about the frightening chase that followed – for her safety we have blurred her face – and we warn you that the story does have some strong language:

Vanessa Champagne Paris - Was Assaulted By A Mob
"When I got close to the football field, there a lot of boys playing football. One of them saw me, and said, 'That's a man'. The other guys started looking at me, and then one of them ran off the field, grabbed stones and started throwing them at me. They were all calling me 'batty man' and 'faggot'. The others joined him throwing stones at me. I tried to avoid that, and I tried to run. When I got a little distance away, some other boys were on the street, and the boy who was chasing me, shouted to them that I was a man. So, they started to chase me, and I started to run as fast as I could, but I couldn't escape. They grabbed him in my dress - because I had on a black dress. They then pulled off my wig, held me down, and started to punch me in my face. They dragged me to the ground and started to beat me up, 4 boys. I walked to the roadside to Central American Boulevard, and some kids were still following me. They were throwing stones at me. I went to a drug store, stood there hoping somebody would help me, but nobody came to my aid. A boy picked up a stick, and tried to beat me with it. He threw the stick at me.

Monica Bodden
"Has this ever happened to you before?"

Vanessa Champagne Paris
"No, not in this kind of way, so vicious."

Monica Bodden
"At any point, were you afraid that they might kill you?"

Vanessa Champagne Paris
"Yes, as they grabbed me, I was already afraid. I just said, 'Well, this is the end.' In fact, if I didn't run into the drug store that would have been the end."

Caleb Orozco - Executive Director, UNIBAM
"One of the things that affects a person after a mob attack, insults and threats like that is regaining your self-worth or confidence as a human being. It's going to affect her ability to meet her basic need, which is work, food, clothing and shelter. Call it what you may, but we all must live and need food, clothing and shelter. For her, I challenge anybody to have her experience and be able to provide for yourself."

You've heard her story of extreme street harassment and humiliation – but who is Vanessa Paris?  Well she's a Belizean born as a male but says she has always felt herself to be a female.  She explained to Monica:

Vanessa Champagne Paris - Attacked By A Mob
"I feel like a female because the way I walk, the way I dress. I choose to - I just feel feminine."

Monica Bodden
"From ever since, from I was young."

Caleb Orozco - Executive Director, UNIBAM
"In this case, the collateral damage in this violence is the human dignity of the individual. When we speak of mob attacks, or in this case, you know when things have changed when parents are encouraging their young children to hurt another person without any regard that child can be hurt sometime in the future. The challenge here is for the state to respond to the idea that discrimination is an issue, and to respond to how it would invest its time, energy, and resources in the issue of upholding human dignity inclusive of LGBT concerns."

A few notes, Vanessa only received minor injury in the entire debacle and complains of pain to her jaw. Her birth certificate was stolen in the process.
She says police were very helpful to her. Notably, she told police that she was going to the Vital Statistics Office to change her name to Vanessa Paris. That was earlier in the day near the Pound Yard Bridge when she had to run away from another group that wanted to beat her up.  2 weeks ago, we learned of a threat to beat her up at a bus stop on Albert Street – but, in that case, the situation was defused.

Channel 7

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