Sunday, July 15, 2007

Gay Rights, Haiti

If homosexuality is getting more and more acceptance in many countries in the world, in Haiti, the question is still controversial. The subject has been and continues to be a hot point in Haitian people’s conversations where, it is rare that a Haitian man openly declares his gay-oriented sexual preferences. Such hesitance can be explained and justified by many reasons as stated in the following items.

Law protecting gay people
So far, laws protecting the right of the homosexual population are inexistent. If that population is protected by texts of law, they are only those that ordinarily watch the rights of all Haitian citizens, without specifically targeting gay rights. In addition, the homosexual population of Haiti is covered by the Human Rights as defined by the United Nations. As a matter of fact, if there is any legal issued where a person’s sexual orientation is at stake, those laws mentioned formerly are the only ones on which advocacy will be based to defend the victim’s rights.

Common believes around the cause of homosexuality
On a broad approach, Haitian people’s belief about the root of homosexuality is shared. Many individuals in Haiti strongly have in mind that someone’s sexual orientation is guided and influenced by ancestors’ spirits. It is important to highlight that Haiti’s culture is deeply based on Voodoo which, although Christian religions has gained more and more in popularity, continues to shape the population’s attitude and behavior. As a matter of fact, it is believed that adepts of spirits like “Erzulie Freda”, “Dantor”, and other female spirits will automatically have a homosexual behavior. Even when some gay people are followers of other religions, their homosexual behavior is often associated to their ancestor’s spirits that claim them.
Many Haitian people believe that homosexuality is genetic. Often, people tend to trace the root cause of someone’s sexual orientation in his or her parents or grand-parents. If they cannot find any proof in immediate family members, they look for the tendency in cousins or grand-cousins. It is obvious that in Haiti, there is always a cause for gay-oriented people.

In Haiti, like in many other countries, homosexuality is not accepted and strongly banished by the Christian religions. Since, those religions have the majority of the religious adepts, the civil society is strongly influenced by their code of conducts and follow their trends. Voodoo seems to be the only religion that demonstrates tolerance toward gay people. Such attitude is explained above, as followers believe that the person’s behavior is guided by a spirit – a loa.
However, the professional sector seems to be very careful about pronouncing on the matter. Many people in high position have and discretely lead a bisexual life. Hence, one has to be very careful in his or her opinion in organizations as this may be the indirect cause for someone to get fired or to never receive any promotion during years of career. In sum, the Haitian society in whole is very hypocritical about the subject. The only sector that does not really hide the homosexual trend is the cultural and artistic one. Many Haitian artists are known to have a bisexual life. They do not publicly claim their sexual preferences, but they do not make a big deal with it either. As such, nowadays, it is getting more known that people organize gay parties; they even have special places where gay people can meet and have fun, like “hotel Ollofson”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HGLA, Haitian Gays and Lesbians Alliance Inc. is the first leading community based organization which empowers the Haitian, born or identified, LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transsexual) by providing educational, social, supportive, cultural services and resources to the community. We support the Haitian LGBT in the various stages of the coming out process, in the creation and affirmation of positive self-identities, and the promotion of human and civil rights.

We are dedicated to the eradication of heterosexism, and homophobia, and provide an inclusive environment where all are safe, thriving and enjoying our advocacy services and resources.

This new group will meet and work with a counselor facilitator in a relaxed setting to help those in attendance deal with their feelings and ideas about being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning.

The location, time and attendees of these meetings are completely confidential. To obtain more information please contact us at