LGBT rights in Haiti

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
LGBT rights in Haiti
Haiti
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1986
Gender identity/expression -
Military service No standing military
Discrimination protections None (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption -

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Haiti may face social and legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.

Issues[edit]

Legality of homosexuality[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults in private has been legal since 1986. The age of consent is eighteen.[1]

Legal protections[edit]

As of 2010, no national legislation exists or has been proposed to prohibit discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. None of the major or minor political parties have endorsed LGBT rights.

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Haiti does not recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions or similar institutions.[2]

Social conditions[edit]

Homosexuality and cross-dressing are seen as taboo, if not also immoral by the largely Catholic Haitians.[2] This impacts the social status and visibility of LGBT Haitians.

More than 1,000 people participated in Port-au-Prince in July 2013 to protest homosexuality and a proposal to legalize gay marriage.[3] The protest brought together a mix of religious groups from Protestant to Muslim, who carried anti-gay placards and chanted songs, including one in which they threatened to burn down parliament if its members make same-sex marriage legal. The coalition of religious groups said that it opposed laws in other countries supporting gay marriage.[4]

LGBT culture[edit]

Today, no visible LGBT social life exists. The LGBT minority, as a result of income disparities in the country, is divided by economic class.

LGBT Haitians of every class and religion are generally in the closet, for fear of being targeted for discrimination or harassment. The major social exception is Voodoo which, as a spiritual practice and belief, possesses little discrimination against gays.

In 2002 a documentary about gay Haitians was released titled "Of Men and Gods". The film examines the lives of several openly gay Haitian men and the discrimination that they face.[5]

Treatment by police[edit]

LGBT Haitians are often ignored by police and actively re-victimised by the police themselves.[6] It is thought this revictimization as a result of what may be perceived as inappropriate gender expression by police results in an underreprting of hate crimes by LGBT people.[7]

AIDS/HIV[edit]

Main article: HIV/AIDS in Haiti

As of 2005, as many as sixty percent of Haitians lived in poverty, with roughly two percent of the population infected with HIV.[8][8] Today, the number of persons infected has risen to 4–6%, with rates increasing to 13% in certain rural neighborhoods.[9]

In 1997, Grasadis was created as an organization that specializes in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS among the LGBT minority as well as working to educate the general public about this minority. Former first lady Mildred Aristide openly expressed support for Grasadis' work.

LGBT history[edit]

Duvaliers[edit]

No evidence exists as to whether or not LGBT people were specifically targeted during the Duvalier dictatorships. There are unconfirmed rumors[by whom?] (possible politically motivated) of male bisexuality among government officials or Duvalier family members, but nothing has been confirmed. Noted artist Richard Brisson was executed by the dictatorship, although it remains unclear whether or not his sexual orientation was a factor in his execution.

Post 1980s[edit]

More recently, Prime Minister nominee Michele Pierre-Louis was rumored to be a lesbian, thus promoting public condemnation by legislators that she was immoral and thus unfit to hold public office. She was allowed to hold the post, but only after reading a public statement declaring the rumors to be false and an insult to her good character.[2]

In 2007, the New York City-based Haitian Lesbian and Gay Alliance was created to provide social services to the Haitian LGBT minority as well as to campaign for their human rights [2].

In 2008, about a dozen Haitians took part in the nation's first gay rights demonstration.[10]

2010 earthquake[edit]

Fourteen Haitians were killed by the 2010 earthquake while attending a support group for gay and bisexual men.[11]

In the weeks following the earthquake, many gay men in Haiti heard sermons on the radio and in churches, as well as talk in the streets that blamed the masisi (gay, derogative) and other “sinners” for incurring the wrath of God and causing the earthquake.[12] One gay man reported to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and that an MSM friend was beaten by an angry crowd whose members verbally abused him and accused him of being responsible for the earthquake.[13]

When Paul Emil Ernst, the Director of the AIDS service organization Action Civique Contre le VIH (ACCV) in Port-au-Prince struggled to climb out from under the rubble of his collapsed office, he heard cheers coming from neighbors gathering outside: “Meci Jesus, prezidan an pedo ki mouri.” (“Thank you Jesus, the president of the pedophiles is dead.”) and “Mo an masisi!” (“Death to the masisi!”).[14]

There were also verbal and physical attacks against Vodou practitioners following the earthquake, perpetrated by those who felt that, like homosexuals, Vodouists were immoral and bore some responsibility for the country’s catastrophe.[15] It is common knowledge in Haiti that a significant number of Vodou are masisi, and many LGBT believe that it was easier to be open about one’s sexuality and gender expression within Vodou culture.[16]

After the earthquake hit, gay and bisexual men reported that they had taken on a more masculine demeanor since the earthquake, altering their voice, posture, and gait - “mettre des roches sur nos epaules” (“putting rocks on our shoulders”) - in order to avoid harassment both inside and outside of the camps and to reduce the chances of being denied access to emergency housing, healthcare, and/or enrollment in food-for-work programs.[17]

In the post-earthquake context, many LGBT people expressed a lack of confidence in the capacity and the willingness of the police to assure protection and adherence to the rule of law when it came to protecting LGBT people.[18] As a case study, a man interviewed said he was threatened and physically attacked for supposedly flirting with a man sitting across from him on a taptap (local bus). When he found a nearby policeman, rather than explaining that he was being harassed as a result of his sexuality, he told the policeman that he had been a victim of theft because, he said, “I knew that [the police] would only help me if I told them that I had been robbed. If the police knew I was gay, they would have attacked me instead of the man who beat me.[19]

Another gay man interviewed by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported that “My brother and I were having an argument. I went to the police looking for help. When my brother told them that I was masisi (gay), they slapped me and laughed. They beat me even worse than he did.”[20]

A group of lesbian women interviewed by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported that sexual violence and corrective rape were “definitely a problem” in the refugee camps after the earthquake.[21] The rape of lesbians, gay men and transgender women in or near camps was documented.[22] For example, a 24-year-old lesbian was brutally raped by eight men at the Champs de Mars camp.[23]

Living conditions[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (since 1986)
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military No
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No

See also[edit]

General:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LEGAL AGE OF CONSENT (ageofconsent.com) Age du consentement ŕ l’acte sexuel". ageofconsent.com. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Katz, Jonathan M. (30 November 2008). "Openly gay marchers debut at Haiti AIDS rally". USA Today. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Haiti Anti-Gay Protest Draws More Than 1,000 Demonstrators", The Huffington Post, 07/19/13.
  4. ^ "Haiti Anti-Gay Protest Draws More Than 1,000 Demonstrators", The Huffington Post, 07/19/13.
  5. ^ Duran, Jose D. (26 May 2008). "Haiti & Homosexuality – Miami News – Riptide 2.0". Blogs.miaminewtimes.com. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.5.
  7. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.5.
  8. ^ a b "FRONTLINE: the age of aids: country profile: haiti". PBS. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Gays in Haiti show their Pride during AIDS march". Pink News. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Look Who's Talking! (3 Dec). "14 members of Haitian gay support group die in earthquake". Fridae. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.6.
  13. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.6.
  14. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.6.
  15. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.6.
  16. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.6.
  17. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p. 4.
  18. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.5.
  19. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.5.
  20. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.5.
  21. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.4.
  22. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.4.
  23. ^ "The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery Programs on Haitian LGBT People", Briefing paper produced by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and SEROvie, 2011, p.4.

Further reading[edit]

  • Haitian Bisexuality: It's My Life by Teejay LeCapois

External links[edit]