« The fact that a hotel would not provide a room for two people of the same sex is a serious violation of people’s privacy, » says Monique Clesca, advocate for human rights, social justice and gender equality.
Entrepreneur Lucna Henrisme and a friend were refused access to a hotel room in Ouanaminthe at the beginning of November 2023.
The hotel receptionist had a clear reason: the hotel’s policy does not allow two people of the same sex to share a room.
Many hotels in Haiti are putting similar policies in place. While these measures may seem like they are discriminatory and an infringement on privacy, they are not prohibited under Haitian law, according to four lawyers and two human rights activists consulted by AyiboPost.
“The hotel only uses gender as a criterion of distinction. These are company policies, and these policies are not prohibited by law,” maintains Me Samuel Madistin, activist attorney and chairman of the board of the Je Klere Foundation (FJKL).
While these measures may seem like they are discriminatory and an infringement on privacy, Haitian laws do not prohibit them.
Whether there is a proven relationship between clients matters little in most cases, according to testimony.
Kenson Augustin was accompanied by eight people heading to Nicaragua the following day when he passed through Valentine hotel’s reception in Delmas 87, in November 2023.
Their reservation for four rooms of two people each was canceled, because, according to the receptionist cited by Augustin, “the people who share the rooms must not be of the same sex.”
Alexis Mickenson, a young executive in the Haitian public administration, recounts to AyiboPost how he and two friends almost slept under the stars on September 29, 2021 in the commune of Les Cayes because a hotel manager, for nearly thirty minutes, refused them access to the premises, declaring that he does not support “sex between men” in his establishment because he is a Christian.
Young people, who traveled from Jérémie to attend a “Kreyòl la” show in the country’s third largest city, had to offer up explanations to be granted favor for the night.
The hotel only uses gender as a criterion of distinction. These are company policies, and these policies are not prohibited by law.
– Samuel Madistin
Monique Clesca is a novelist, specialist in international development and advocate for human rights, social justice and gender parity.
According to Clesca, for a hotel not to allocate a room to two people of the same sex reflects a serious violation of people’s privacy.
“These hotel managers seek to exercise control over the bodies of people who should nevertheless be able to dispose of them as they wish,” says the activist. “No one should impose their morality or rules of conduct on other people,” says the “Confession” author.
Members of the LBGT community in Haiti are also affected by the ban.
Grace, a young woman, says she was kicked out of the Fanm Vanyan hotel in Bois-Verna for wanting to spend “a moment” with her girlfriend two years ago. “The establishment does not accept lesbian or same-sex couples,” the receptionist reportedly declared according to Grace, who said she was subject to the same rejection in two other hotels that day.
“I felt hurt,” the young woman told AyiboPost.
Ayibopost contacted the Fanm Vanyan hotel. The concierge did not deny the allegations.
“We accept reservations for two people of the same sex only if their identity cards suggest that they have a family connection,” she punctuated on the other end of the line.
She recalled that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is prohibited in hotels. “We have received very clear orders from the general manager. He expressly explained to us that instead of accepting antics of this kind in his hotel, he would prefer to close it forever,” she stressed firmly.
These hotel managers seek to exercise control over the bodies of people who should nevertheless be able to do with them as they please.
– Monique Clesca
The question must be addressed at the highest level, according to specialists.
“We face discrimination within the framework of a heteronormative society, which is rooted in the idea that heterosexuality is the norm and which rejects all practices that do not fit into this category,” analyzes Rose-Myrlie Joseph, Doctor in Sociology and Gender Studies.
According to the researcher at the Education and Training Research Center of the University of Paris Nanterre (CREF), the State must take measures to protect sexual minorities against all forms of discrimination.
Cover Image : freepik
Watch this episode of the ANRIYAN column published in November 2023, addressing the social perception of homosexual individuals in Haiti:
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