Haiti’s first LGBT film festival postponed

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People in Haiti
People in Haiti

Haiti’s first-ever LGBT film festival has been postponed after threats to burn down a building it was to be held in and an order by Port-au-Prince Police to ban it, organisers said.

The death and arson threats came by phone and in social media, members of leading Haitian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender group Kouraj said.

Kouraj also said it would close its offices for a week for security reasons.

A senator added to the pressure to cancel the Massimadi festival, saying it would promote homosexuality and that impoverished Haiti had other priorities.

Charlot Jeudy, the President of Kouraj said: “we are very worried about the security of the members of the (LGBT) community who live in this country”.

“It is a blow of intolerance,” he added.

Kouraj announced the festival had been postponed.

Accrding to Jeudy, a new date has not been set, after Police Commissioner Jean Danton Leger ordered the festival be called off on moral grounds.

The art and film festival, which had also been held in Brussels and Montreal, was intended to raise awareness against homophobia in African and Caribbean communities.

Sen. Jean Renel Senatus said the festival posed “great danger” to Haitian families and congratulated one of the hosts of the festival for pulling out.

He added that the money saved from the host that backed out should be spent on school education.

Human rights organisations said physical and verbal attacks against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual community regularly go unpunished and that politicians make homophobic comments during electoral campaigns.

One threat on Facebook said Jeudy and his staff should “commit suicide’’.

A Kouraj staffer who wanted to remain anonymous said the group feared violence after the cancellation. “We know the Haitian reality,” she said.

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