I spent the weekend in Belize City at a 4-day conference held by COC Netherlands for their partnership with LGBT organizations in Belize. COC is working with 16 countries through their newly-initiated PRIDE program (Partnership for Rights, Inclusivity, Diversity and Equality). I was presenting the research I’ve been doing with PETAL over the past few months about lesbian and bisexual women in Belize. The conference was a lot of work and I was very glad to be there.
It was interesting to be in that environment here in Belize, seasoned and totally in my element. Several people who I first met through this work a year ago told me how cool it was that I’m still here, and the number of familiar faces I’m seeing at LGBT events has grown. It felt really good to be remembered and to be recognized on a professional level. At once I was reminiscing about all the conferences of this kind I’ve attended since I was fifteen, and fully appreciating the present moment for reflecting my journey of living abroad.
Moving here and creating a life has not been easy. Even with all the wonderful connections I’ve made and the opportunities that have been presented to me, it’s been incredibly challenging. Being at the conference and being part of the significant work that’s happening here in Belize around social justice for the LGBT+ community is an affirmation that I am where I’m supposed to be.
The timing of this is perfect. 2016 has been a trying year. As I’m reflecting on all it has been – for better or for worse – I’m grateful to be ending on an inspired and grounded note.