What We Do
Militantism: KOURAJ is the first and only militant Haitian LGBT organization in Haiti. KOURAJ works primarily in both domestic and international communications and public awareness, first and foremost to furnish a militant spirit at the heart of the LGBT community in Haiti, secondly, to unify all LGBT persons in the struggle for respect of their human rights, and finally, to change the mentality of and fight stereotypes throughout the whole of Haitian civil society.
The Masisi Manifesto: This manifesto constitutes the first document ever written by KOURAJ and the LGBT community in Haiti. It is the spearhead of our movement and always both the stir up LGBT persons’ political courage, and also to challenge directly the negative, omnipresent discourse that surrounds and defines homosexuality and transgender persons in Haiti. Today, the dissemination of this document is informal, but a mass communications campaign will soon be underway in the coming months in order to bring it head on with Haitian society.
Networking: KOURAJ is at the same time organizes and is organized around a large, informal network throughout the country that allows to relay information rapidly such that it is heard by everyone. KOURAJ is able to react directly to such invisible news and events that effect the LGBT community Haitian. In addition, reporting on hate crimes, discrimination, and stigmatization of LGBT persons creates solidarity within the larger population, majority of which has never in their lives read a single news story on LGBT persons. This network also includes institutions, organizations, and other groups who support KOURAJ and want to participate in the struggle against all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender in Haiti.
An alternative voice in the media: Homosexuality is NOT taboo in Haiti. Especially on the radio, people talk about it without really discussing the subject. Homosexuality is only criticized and denounced as social deviance that must be condemned. The whole of these messages in the Haitian media largely incites homophobia. KOURAJ brings an alternative discourse in the Haitian media and seeks to eventually create its own radio station that will allow KOURAJ to effectively diffuse its positive messaging about the LGBT community. (See for example KOURAJ’s open letter to President Martelly denouncing homophobic messaging during national Carnival, published inLe Nouvelliste.)
Culture and Laughter: KOURAJ supports an promotes LGBT culture & arts in Haiti, notably by organizing festive events during which members of the community may perform in a safe space. These KOURAJ parties provide the occasion for members of the community to freely exist without worries of being masisi, which plays a fundamental role in creating solidarity within the community. In addition, KOURAJ currently is in the process of organizing the first ever gay & lesbian film festival in Port-au-Prince to lead up to this year’s International Day against Homophobia & Transphobia.