This was supposed to be day three of the Massimadi Film, Art and Performance Event in Port-au-Price, Haiti, but the powers that be have canceled the cultural celebration. We just covered Uganda: Police Stop "Illegal" Gay Pride Parade and now another nation has concluded that an LGBT event should not occur within their borders.
Organizers of a cultural festival in Haiti celebrating the Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ community said Tuesday that it has been called off due to numerous threats of violence and a subsequent prohibition by a government commissioner.
The four-day Massimadi film, art and performance event was supposed to start Tuesday in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but organizers said it had to be postponed after a prominent Haitian cultural institution known as FOKAL and other co-hosts were threatened with arson and other attacks.
"FOKAL has been receiving threats of outrageous violence," said Lorraine Mangones, executive director of the nonprofit Knowledge and Freedom Foundation.
Charlot Jeudy of the gay rights group Kouraj, the main organizer of the event, said he is determined that the arts festival by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Haitians and their supporters will be held at a later date.
"There are very homophobic people who are against it, and the government official who is responsible for the jurisdiction of Port-au-Prince has also taken a decision to prevent the festival for now," said Jeudy. "But we still plan on holding Massimadi in the future." – apnewsarchive.com
We applaud their strength and fortitude. We also applaud the nation looking out for those trying to live, love, and celebrate.
Do you think the festival should have went on as planned? Throw caution and threats to the wind?
But there was another side to the canceling. It was just not threats of violence, but as well the prohibition by the government. In the Sentinel.ht article entitled Commissioner Promises To Arrest Gay Pride Festival 'MassiMadi,' we learn that there's not much love for the new festival.
Government Commissioner of Port-au-Prince, Jean Danton Léger, said Monday morning that he had taken a decision to ban the gay and lesbian festival called MassiMadi but would not officially notify the event organizers, Kouraj of the decision of the prosecution.
“The prosecution did not receive any correspondence announcing the festival and we did not see it fit to warn the organizers of our decision to ban it,” said the chief prosecutor of Port-au-Prince, saying he was ready to arrest in flagrante delicto, the “festival” in any place where the event was to be held.
Léger denounced practices that can undermine social morality and public order, saying there is no law authorizing the “marriage for all”.
The government commissioner, however, said that he recognizes that everyone has the right, in the name of individual freedom, to dispose of his body as he pleases and to choose their sexual orientation, provided he does not harm public morality.
The MassiMadi festival, the first of its kind in Haiti, was being organized in order to promote proclaimed gay rights in Haiti, according to Charlot Jeudy the founder of Kouraj, a gay rights organization.
The announcement of such a festival has given rise to all sorts of rumors, some pus implausible than others, among others, those wanting the festival were preparing to parade scantily clad and to engage in unprecedented exhibitions. – sentinel.ht
I think most of our Prides in the United States and Europe would be in trouble if they banned being scantily clad. Hello Folsom, too. We see you. Do we in our colorful racy Pride celebrations hurt those that are struggling to have their first? Do the images of us celebrating so freely and without abandon, give Prides a bad rap? And if so, should we change?
Haiti's LGBTQ community has long remained largely underground because of social stigma, although there are no laws criminalizing homosexual relations as there are in a number of English-speaking Caribbean islands. A 2015 human rights report on Haiti by the U.S. State Department said that "local attitudes remained hostile to outward" LGBTQ identification and expression, especially in the capital.
The Massimadi festival was first put on in 2009 in Montreal by a group called African Rainbow. It has also been held in Belgium. This was the first year it was scheduled to take place in Haiti.
"Unfortunately the situation is getting more and more dramatic," said Anthony Manuel Plagnes Paya, festival spokesman in Montreal. "Kouraj members are threatened (with) death and are scared to go out." – apnewsarchive.com