Transgender Belizean discriminated against at airport

Published: April 12, 2011

Good Day All:

I am Caleb Orozco, Executive President from the United Belize Advocacy Movement. We are an advocacy organization that uses a rights-base approach to reduce stigma and discrimination in Belize. I write to you from the Global Commission on HIV and Law from Port of Spain to express my dismay at how  a Belizean was treated at Piarco International by an immigration officer.

Mia Quetzal, a Belizean and regional coordinator of the Caribbean Regional Tran in Action was invited to a a UNDP meeting in Port Of Spain for a meeting on the 12th and 13th. She arrived at Piarco International Airport at 4:00pm in the evening on COPA airlines 411 in Port of Spain on April 11th, 2011. Upon checking into immigration, the officer, read her passport, saw the "M" and proceeded to ask "Why do your passport say you are male?" Being honest, Mia then said" I am indeed male." The officer proceed to say" Go stand at the corner!" The officer then inform her co-workers and they proceeded to parade up and down staring, laughing, giggling not knowing what was going on. One hour and half later the officer proceeded to say " here is your passport," left it on the counter without an explaination. Already humiliated, took her passport and left to get her baggage. She did not leave the airport till 6:00 pm in the evening.

Upon further investigation with UN represenatative organizing the logistics, I found out that they were calling her to confirm if Mia Quetzal was expected at the meeting here at the hilton. Theira Guzman, logistic coordinator for the meeting confirm that telephone number 669-5895 was from Piarco immigration office. They even lied telling the UNDP representative, "We just called the Hilton they dont have a reservation for her."  To which Theira Guzman replied," Yes she is one of our participant…I saw the reservation this morning." The phone was then handed to Emile Pradichit and she ran to the executive office of the Hilton to double check the reservation number and provided it to the Immigration Officer with the reservation number.

I asked you to do what you can to highlight this story, as know sane human being would put up with such deliberate HUMULIATION. This person had her documents together, She changed her picture to present how she looks in person, she had the correct name. Yet, she was treated like a dog. I note, she did not killed anyone, she did not violate any laws, she was not a drug traffickers,she was following the law, but yet she was treated with the indignity for just being.

 Expected Reponse:

What I am asking for for our Ministry of foreign Affairs to lodge a complaint with the T&T Immigration. 
What I am looking for is for  our own immigration to establish how it would treat transgender person if they are immigrants. 
Will look forward to your questioning on this issue.


Caleb Orozco

Executive President

United Belize Advocacy Movement

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