by Caleb Orozco
We publish this editorial commentary by Caleb Orozco, Executive Director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement. Caleb wrote this on April 8, in the context of discussions within a SOGI, LGBTI online network, hosted by Geneva-based ARC International. Discussions relating to LGBTI human rights, globalization, development and negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement prompted his comment.
If the lessons of the last 40 years have taught us anything, it should be the following:
- That LGBTI human rights are one intersectional issue affected by access to healthcare treatment and services.
- That our concern for violence and discrimination has a gender construct rooted in structural barriers to justice that affects race, gender, women and LGBTI.
- That poverty, education and workplace impact human dignity and that LGBTI people are affected by these issues.
- That gender and sexuality issues are grounded in development decisions that can improve or oppress our quality of life.
I have heard of the TPP for years and what flashed in my mind is access to cheap anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs for LGBTI individuals, women and children, access to hepatitis treatment and cost of living issues that impact income inequality in the developing world that affect LGBTI persons.
And while we speak of pink-washing in the era of globalisation, we truly need to honestly reflect:
- While countries establish special envoys, on the one hand a good thing, and watch as dead civilians are collateral damage, I ask: is there really respect for human rights?
- While we speak of ensuring Civil Society gets access to PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) strategic documents to improve the health of our populations, but discussions are taking place to slowly undermine access to treatment, through copyright/patent processes, I ask: is there really respect for human rights?
- When we speak of violence and a man can die on the streets of America, a boy can be shot for holding a fake gun and a father can be shot in the back by a cop in South Carolina while millions of small arms permeate the borders of developing countries, I ask again: are we really concerned about human rights?
Or are we busy competing for our own rights at any cost in the globalisation process?
The dignity and rights of all citizens matters.
It seems we are struggling to overcome mindset everywhere. This includes our own as to how we balance it all as we continue to learn about the interconnectedness of gender and sexuality as part of the development process.