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16 Days of Activism: Meet Marjorie Lafontant, Haiti
an article by Nobel Women's Initiative

Video: Marjorie Lafontant

Each year since 1991, tens of thousands of activists from around the world have taken part in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The campaign’s central messages – women’s rights are human rights and violence against women constitutes a violation of human rights – have been a rallying call of the women’s movement. For these 16 days, Nobel Women’s Initiative is spotlighting stories about women activists around the globe.


Marjorie Lafontant

click on photo to enlarge

Marjorie Lafontant is the Executive Director of Femmes En Action Contre La Stigmatisation Et La Discrimination Sexuelle (FACSDIS), an organization that fights against the discrimination and sexual violence faced by LGBT people in Haiti.

Marjorie empowers the LGBT community by holding workshops that inform women and men of their rights and how to defend them. Through her organization, Marjorie has fostered a safe space where women meet regularly to discuss personal and rights based issues, providing a supportive network.

As an openly lesbian woman living in Haiti, Marjorie can personally attest to the violence, discrimination and injustice the women of her community must deal with on a daily basis. LGBT women are often disowned by their families and shunned by society, and denied basic services and employment. Violent attacks where perpetrators rape, stab or beat LGBT women are all too common.

Marjorie encourages survivors of violence to speak out and report the attacks to the authorities. Once a survivor has filed a report, FACSDIS accompanies them throughout the judicial process. Impunity for perpetrators is rampant in Haiti’s justice system. But Marjorie is determined to bring justice to the LGBT community and empower women survivors, one report at a time.

Marjorie’s leadership has fueled a movement of empowered, brave LGBT women. Her work to defend and promote LGBT rights in Haiti is especially critical given this year’s protests against a gay marriage resolution and the LGBT community in general. Despite this challenge, Marjorie is more committed then ever to ensuring that all of Haiti understands that gay rights are human rights, and that all members of her community deserve and receive dignity and respect.

[Note: Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.]

DISCUSSION

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Latest reader comment:

Once again, as they have done now each year since 2009, the Nobel Women's Initiative provides biographies of 16 women leaders involved in local action for peace and justice around the world, and in particular to stop violence against women.  Last year's biographies were listed in the CPNN discussionboard.


This report was posted on November 28, 2013.