Haiti Cancelled Its First LGBT Film Festival Following Death Threats And Police Intimidation
The festival was intended to raise awareness about homophobia in African and Caribbean communities.
Haiti is not technically one of the 72 countries in which homosexuality is criminalized, but LGBTQs in Haiti face considerable intimidation and persecution, and have significantly fewer rights than we do here in the USA. Unfortunately, being out and proud in Haiti is rather difficult, as evidenced by the recent cancellation of the country's first LGBTQ film festival after organizers recieved death threats and intimidation from the police.
Members of Kouraj, Haiti’s leading LGBT group, said death and arson threats were made over the phone and through social media. Organizers are “worried about the security of the members of the [LGBT] community who live in this country.” Ultimately, police commissioner Jean Danton Leger ordered the festival be called off on "moral" grounds. Sadly, this festival -- which had previously been held in Brussels and Montreal -- was intended to raise awareness about homophobia in African and Caribbean communities.
The news isn't too surprising considering the government's current war against homosexuality in the media. Towleroad notes that in July, the nation's politicians targeted the TV series Glee: “I want to send a signal to the Haitian families that are in danger today. Fathers and mothers should observe an outstanding vigilance during the holidays. We want to draw their attention to these serials that promote bad manners, to the contrary of morality," said Senator Jean Renel Senatus.
Senatus was also later seen on Facebook saying that the festival posed a "great danger" to Haiti. He also congratulated the hosts for pulling out of the festival and said the money would be better spent on education.
Arguably, this WAS education.