Leader of LGBTQ organization in Haiti found dead

FILE - In this July 13, 2018 file photo, Yaisah Val, 46, left, a transgender woman, laughs with Charlot Jeudy, center, president of Kouraj, Haiti's leading LGBT-rights group, at their office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Kouraj member Geraldine Clair Museau tells The Associated Press that Charlot Jeudy's body was found at his home on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. It’s not immediately clear how he died. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)
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Charlot Jeudy, the leader of a prominent LGBTQ organization in Haiti, was found dead on Monday, according to friends.

Geraldine Clair Museau, a member of the group known as Kouraj, which means “courage,” in English, told The Associated Press that Jeudy’s body was found at his home in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

It wasn’t immediately clear how he died, and police didn’t return calls for comment.

Jeudy has spoken out against homophobia and was forced to cancel a festival celebrating the Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ community in 2016 because of numerous threats of violence.

In a statement on his group’s website, Jeudy had vowed to keep fighting discrimination.

“Faced with such permanent and brutal stigmatization, violence, and insults, many of us — if not the totality — have lost hope to see our own dignity respected. … That is what I want to fight,” he wrote.

Haiti’s LGBTQ community remains mostly underground because of social stigma, although there are no laws criminalizing homosexual relations as there are in several English-speaking Caribbean islands.

A 2015 human rights report on Haiti by the U.S. State Department said “local attitudes remained hostile to outward” LGBTQ identification and expression, especially in the capital.q