LGBT rights in Haiti

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LGBT rights in Haiti
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1986
Gender identity/expression -
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption -
Military service -
Discrimination protections None (see below)

Haiti has experienced a high degree of political instability and most Haitians affiliate with the Catholic Church. These two issues, combined with widespread poverty, tend to govern most issues relating to LGBT people. While there are few criminal laws used against LGBT people specifically, there remains little visible support for LGBT rights.

Legal status

Homosexual activity between consenting adults in private has been legal since 1986. The age of consent is eighteen[1]. It is unclear what the official legal status is for the Haitian military.

As of 2009, the Constitution of 1987 is still valid, while it does not explicitly mention sexual orientation or gender identity, it does contain certain legal provisions that may impact the human rights of this minority [2].;

  • Article 18 - provides a general equal protection under the law clause.
  • Article 19 - provides a right to health care.
  • Article 22 - provides a right to housing, education, food and social security.
  • Article 28 - provides a right to freedom of opinion.
  • Article 31 - provides a right to create political parties or interest groups.
  • Article 35 - provides a right to treated fairly in the workplace.
  • Article 259 - provides protection for the family.


No evidence exists as to whether or not LGBT were specifically targeted during the Duvaliers dictatorships. There are unconfirmed rumors, possible politically motivated accusations, of male bisexuality among government officials or Duvalier family members, but nothing has been confirmed. Noted artist, Richard Brisson was executed by the dictatorship, although its not clear if it was because of his sexual orientation.

Modern Haiti

Since 1986, the political leadership and organizations to have arisen, are largely hostile to LGBT rights due to their strong ties to the Catholic Church or fudamentalist Protestant sects. For example, Jean-Bertrand Aristede use to be a Roman Catholic priest before entering politics.

More recently, Prime Minister nominee Michele Pierre-Louis was rumored to be a lesbian, thus promoting public condemnation by legislators that she was immoral and thus unfit to hold public office. She was allowed to hold the post, only after reading a public statement declaring the rumors to be false and an insult to her good character [3].

In 2007, the New York City based Haitian Lesbian and Gay Alliance was created to provide social services to the Haitian LGBT-minority as well as to campaign for their human rights [10].

In 2008, about a dozen Haitians took part in the nation's first gay rights protest[4].

In 2010 about a dozen Haitians were killed by the earthquake, while attending a support group for gay and bisexual men[5].

As of 2010, no national legislation exists or has been proposed to prohibit discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. None of the major or minor political parties have endorsed LGBT rights.

Marriage and family

Haiti does not recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions or similar institutions. It is unclear if LGBT people may adopt or have custody of children. Homosexuality and cross-dressing are seen as taboo, if not also immoral by the largely Catholic Haitians [6].


  • See Also HIV/AIDS in Haiti

In 2005, As many as sixty percent of Haitians live in poverty, with roughly two percent of the population infected with HIV [7][8]. Today, the number of persons infected has risen to 4–6%, with rates increasing to 13% in certain rural neighborhoods [9].

In 1997, Grasadis was created as an organization that specializes in preventing the spread of AIDS-HIV among the LGBT minority as well as working to educate the general public about this minority. Former first lady Mildred Aristide openly expressed support for Grasadis' work.

Society and culture

Most Haitians affiliate with the Catholic Church or some evangelical Protestant sect. Hence, homosexuality and cross-dressing are widely seen as signs of immorality. This impacts the social status and visibility of LGBT Haitians.

Noel Coward and his lover, Graham Payn, often stayed in Port-au-Prince's more lavish areas when they were on vacation from the British Isles. Today, no visible LGBT social life exists. The LGBT minority, as a result of income disparities in the country, is divided by economic class.

The educated, upper middle class LGBT Haitians (who work in the civil service, NGO or UN aid workers) tend to live in who live in such areas as Petionville and have private social gatherings. Where as many LGBT Haitians are much poorer and live in rural communities or urban slums.

LGBT Haitians of every class are generally in the closet, for fear of being targeted for discrimination or harassment. The major social exception is Voodoo which, as a spirituality, possesses little discrimination against gays.

In 2002 a documentary about gay Haitians was released titled, "Of Men and Gods". The film looks at the lives of several Haitian men who are openly gay and the discrimination that they face [10].

See also


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  5. [4]
  6. [5]
  7. [6]
  8. [7]
  9. [8]
  10. [9]

Further reading

  • Haitian Bisexuality: It's My Life by Teejay LeCapois

External links


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