Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The Associated Press has reported on the first openly gay march in the Caribbean. The event marks a first for Haiti but it kind of makes me wonder, who's putting this thing together?

Didn't some schools just crush some children? Isn't Haiti one of the poorest countries on Earth? Aren't people starving to death there?

While part of the goal was to raise awareness about the prevention of AIDS, that was not the entire point of the march.

According to the article:
"AIDS awareness marches have taken place before in Haiti, but Boucicault and organizers with New York-based AIDS service organization Housing Works called this one the first march to include an openly gay group in Haiti."

It goes on to say:

"...gay men remain at risk because they hide from social programs due to prejudice and harassment, despite making up one-tenth of reported HIV cases in the Caribbean, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS reported.

In socially conservative Haiti, discrimination runs especially deep."

It's that last sentence that really gets me thinking.

Certainly, EVERY SINGLE SOCIAL PROBLEM deserves attention. I'm not slamming the march and am in no way slamming the participants. I just find it odd that in a country with SO MANY OVERWHELMING SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, and POLITICAL PROBLEMS, somehow gay, Haitians would come up with this idea on their own. The entire thing seems foreign to me. It seems foreign to Haiti. I just cannot imagine the scenario wherein several gay men (or women) managed to see their homosexuality as a more reasonable cause for a public march than any of the hundreds of other pressing problems... problems that they too struggle with (like finding enough food).

Who sits there and thinks, "I have no money, not enough food, suffer terrible injustices, lack basic sanitation or clean drinking water, and am gay. I think I'll march about being gay!"

It just seems like an idea that was planted from the outside world, and if that is the case, it bothers me. I hate to see the political correctness of the USA's hot topics suddenly slip into Haiti and devour the spotlight while more pressing matters go ignored.

Developing nations are particularly vulnerable to assuming the voice of other nations, partly as the result of the tremendous media influence from abroad.

Again, it's not really that the march bothers me... it just seems "off" somehow. Any of you folks in Haiti wanna weigh in on this?

By the way, to the credit of those who have worked very hard BEFORE this march ever took place:

"The country has since been a success story, with its HIV infection rate falling from 5.9 percent in 1996 to 2.2 percent today..."

Now there's something to be happy about!


Steve K. said...

The influence of globalization, perhaps? With all the news out of the U.S. about Prop 8 in California, etc. is it possible that it's generating these kinds of responses in other countries (including Haiti)? Just a thought.

T and T Livesay said...

I question the stat at the end. Not what we're seeing or hearing ... but, as you may know ... 78% of statistics are made up.

ba da bum bum

Rebecca said...

That's interesting. I read that article last week and was kind of surprised because I had never read anything before about homosexuality and gay marches in Haiti before. Verrrry interesting...