The International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia was commemorated in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with a series of film projections, conferences, debates and testimonies. A new database system which enables confidential information sharing of the rights violations of LGBT people, was also unveiled. Local activists reported that they mobilised this year around the theme of ‘how action and reflection can benefit the fight against verbal and physical abuses based on sexual orientation’. On the evening of May 17 there was a projection of the Haitian documentary film Of Men and Gods at the US embassy, which deals with questions of faith, religious diversity and homosexuality. Community leaders also organised a debate-style working group at the Hotel Montana, attended by around 200 LGBT people, straight allies, and various representatives of organizations working for the rights of sexual minorities in Haiti, as well as various high-level guest speakers.
Report from the organisation Serovie, caring for HIV positive Men who have Sex with Men in Haiti:
The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia whose goal revolved around how action and reflection can benefit the fight against verbal and physical abuses based on sexual orientation, was commemorated in Port-au-Prince, Haiti with a series of film projections, conferences and debates, testimonies, as well as the unveiling of an effective and reliable database for the confidential information sharing about violations to the rights of LGBTs.
In order to have a meaningful commemoration of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, Fondation SEROvie held a series of activities with various partners such as American Embassy, Housing Works, FACSDIS,Kouraj… At the end of the day, along the same theme, there was a projection of the Haitian documentary film titled « Of Men and Gods » at the American embassy. This film highlights the place that homosexual men occupy in Haitian Vodou; it’s known that Vodou is the only religious worldview that embraces homosexuality without discrimination. It’s the only place where they can express themselves freely without feeling excluded. Some male homosexual Vodou initiates believe that the spirits have turned them gay, because even when they’re not effeminate in daily life, they are when the spirits mounts them. Other initiates hold the contrary opinions that they are born homosexual but those with the opposing view are finding an excuse to explain their homosexuality.
Friday May 17, 2013 we organized a debate-style working group at the Hotel Montana. The attendance were approximately 200 LGBT heterosexuals and various representatives of organizations working with for the rights of sexual minorities in Haiti. This initiative supported, in one way or another, by Housing works, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNHCR, and Fondation POZ, gathered notable guest speakers such as Mrs. Florence Elie, Chief of Citizen Protection, Mr. Carl Alexandre, Deputy Special Representative for the General Secretary of the United Nations, Mrs. Ehmer Renate of UNAIDS.
The Radio station RFI, which is one of the most listened to in the country, aired a special programme on the issue, no doubt contributing greatly to fighting stigma and prejudice.