Gay Belize. Not two words we have ever heard put together.
As for every destination, we do a research to see what the situation is for the LGBTQ+ community in that country, whether this be nightlife, beaches, accommodation, events or just simply being safe.
However, when we looked into ‘gay Belize’, very little came up at all.
We knew there was a community, statistically there must be. We even found a Gay Belize Pride Page on Facebook which has 59k followers.
However to really learn about gay life in Belize we thought it was best to connect with an LGBTQ+ local and let them share their lived experience.
We were lucky enough to find someone willing to answer the questions we had about gay Belize and they provided a very insightful picture.
Read our mini Gay Guide to Belize based on our discussion and responses from local Rob*, a 23-year-old local gay male from the Cayo region of Belize.
Is Belize gay friendly?
Is Belize gay friendly? The answer would be slowly but surely and realistically as a tourist then you are fine. Here is some background.
In 2016, with the removal of the sodomy law (it was not legal to have that kind of ടex for any couple not just homosexual) there was a definite change in the way that Belizeans saw LGBTQ+ people compared to when the law was active.
I personally noticed that many religions weren’t happy about it. Some even stopped sending their children to school. There were also protests outside the Supreme Court on the day that everything was finalized. They couldn’t do anything about it though, which was amazing, I was extremely happy!
However, since then, acceptance is slowly happening. Many gay people are starting to be more open in the community by being themselves in social locations such as in downtown San Ignacio and in tertiary level educations such as the University of Belize. Although many religious people are opposed to the LGBTQ+ community, many non-religious people are more open-minded.
The biggest change that I have definitely seen is acceptance in the younger generation. The older generation still have their ideologies regarding sexuality, but some of the old folks are starting to change their views. They are starting to acknowledge the changes that are happening in the world by seeing it through international news.
They were able to get the first glimpse of such changes when the US legalized same-ടex marriage. After that the first “similar change” here in Belize occurred with the removal of the sodomy law. Personally for me, my father has acknowledged the changes. He doesn’t let the “machismo” come in to play in his life as he did before when I was younger.
Is there a Gay Scene in Belize?
Gay friendly places in Belize would generally be the “tourist locations”.
Since there are many tourists roaming around, these places start to become locations for gay couples, tourists and locals, to visit for dates. However, I am not so sure if local gay couples tend to be comfortable with holding hands if a crowd is present.
Gay Bars in Belize?
I have heard of a gay bar in San Ignacio, Belize and in the north (Corozal) that has become kind of an “unofficial gay bar”. Many gay guys tend to go there to socialize, go on dates and have fun. Gay guys tend to go there so often that many homophobic straight men now avoid these bars. I don’t know where exactly those bars are, there hasn’t been any “official gay bar” that has opened to my knowledge.
Gay Resorts in Belize?
There aren’t any gay resorts as such in Belize, but the people are friendly and will welcome you. If in any doubt then it’s always a safe bet to go with brands you know to be LGBTQ+ friendly.
Booking.com now has a ‘Travel Proud’ accreditation, hotels have to apply to show that they are providing an extra welcoming stay. The following hotels in Belize are ‘Travel Proud’ accredited and you can use the search to find more (search box set to San Ignacio which is a popular spot for LGBTQ tourists):
Umaya Resort & Adventures – May Beach, Belize
Umaya Resort & Adventures is located on the beachfront in Maya Beach, just a 20-minute drive from Placencia. It offers an outdoor pool, an international restaurant and stylish air-conditioned suites with free WiFi.
Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge
Amid the forests of the Blue Hole National Park, this property offers free Wi-Fi access, private parking and free bike rentals to sightsee the area. A tour desk is also available on site.
Gay Pride Belize
When it comes to gay pride, in previous years there were just some small events throughout the week that were promoted by UNIBAM and organised by several LGBTQ+ organizations, such as PETAL, Our Circle, EYBM, BYEC, and so on. In Belize City and in 2015 there were festivities that took place in Caribbean Villas Resort in San Pedro also.
Also there has been social gathering in the welcome centre in San Ignacio where the organizers educated the attendees about the LGBT community in Belize.’
Advice for LGBTQ Travellers in Belize?
The advice I would give would be stay in tourist locations.
If in Belize City and in San Pedro, there are some locations that are not safe. Not because of people being homophobic, but because of viဝlence that occurs where there isn’t enough security. Even I tend to avoid certain locations in Belize City where there aren’t tourists walking about.
This is also the same in other countries. I won’t find myself walking in a dark alley when visiting Cancun or Playa Del Carmen.
But do enjoy and be yourself. There are tourist areas with acceptance towards LGBTQ+ travellers such as Cayes, San Ignacio, Dangriga.
Acceptance is slowly increasing as time goes by and as people start to realize that the world is changing and changing for the best.
Also, do note that you can encounter persons who are homophobic and because of their ignorance and machismo they might feel the need to let you know of their disapproval but as RuPaul has said “People talking since the beginning of time. Unless they paying your bills, pay them bitches no mind”.
I can assure you if such an encounter happens you will have people coming to your aid and showing you support, calling 911 and getting rid of the drunk person who is trying to show his “manliness”.
We can’t thank Rob enough for working with us and telling us all about gay life in Belize. Incredibly insightful and useful to know. We have found Belize to be one the friendliest places we have ever visited so it’s not surprising to hear that there will be people there to support you if you are in trouble.
There seems to be some positive changes happening, albeit slow. There is still a way to go, so we still feel the need to be sensible and cautious. However we hope that when we visit Belize again in the future, things will have moved on for the better.
*name has been changed to remain anonymous