An Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ festival scheduled to occur in Haiti was cancelled this past Tuesday in response to eminent terror threats involving arson and death, as well as a ban by a governmental official.
The Massimadi Haiti festival, organized by LGBTQ activist group Kouraj, intended to celebrate the Afro-Caribbean community through film, art and performance events over the course of four days in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.
The Capital Commissioner responsible for the governmental ban, Jean Danton Leger, explained he issued the ban to uphold the “moral and social” values of Haiti. Ten additional government officials spoke out against the festival.
Even with major adversities, organizers of the LGBTQ festival remain confident that the event will be rescheduled. Juedy Charolot, who is a part of Kouraj, told the Associated Press, “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… But we still plan on holding Massimadi in the future.” This was the first year the festival was scheduled to occur.
While LGBTQ relationships are not impermissible by law in Haiti, the community has historically been shamed and has often felt silenced. The Massimadi festival was to be an exhibition of pride and an environment where the LGBTQ community could celebrate their truest selves.