This is a first in Haiti. On the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, about one dozen men in T-shirts declaring "I am gay" and "I am living with HIV/AIDS" proudly "marched with hundreds of other demonstrators" through a Haitian city in what is believed to be the Caribbean nation's "first openly gay march."
According to the AP, the 12 gay men in the St. Marc demonstration wore T-shirts "with the anti-gay Creole term 'masisi' imprinted on them." This is a demonstrable change from previous HIV/AIDS marches in the country, where "widespread homophobia" discourages people from being out.
The impoverished island nation of 9 million is the most affected by HIV in the Caribbean—the region with the highest infection rate outside Sub-Saharan Africa. Haiti has long fought stigmatization and discrimination after its migrants were among the first AIDS cases identified in the United States. The national HIV infection rate has fallen from 5.9 percent in 1996 to 2.2 percent today.
Coming out in Haiti as gay and HIV positive takes a helluva lot of courage in a nation where gays are routinely attacked and the HIV poz are shunned. Give these brave men a virtual round of applause.