Maybe you’ve heard of straight camps. You know, the places bible thumpers send their queer sons and daughters to “pray away the gay” and become X-homos.
Well, in Haiti there’s a similar remedy. Only it involves bathing in sheep’s blood, sacrificing a cow and banging on drums for seven straight days.
At Coral Gables Congressional Church Sunday, a 36-year-old gay Haitian panelist described that very ceremony - which he’d endured to “exercise the gay demon.” The panel followed a screening of the documentary "Of Men and Gods,” about homosexuality in Haiti, by Canadian filmmaker and anthropologist Anne Lescot.
The digital film follows a group of young, flamboyant men as they struggle to fit into an already oppressed society. Characters talk candidly about everything from encounters with married men to the Voodoo belief that Erzulie - the goddess of love, romance, and sex - can change a man’s spirit into a woman’s.
Scenes from Voodoo rituals are contrasted with nights out at the disco. Rituals the documentation captured are framed in slow motion and come off like an ancient tribal dance. To a first time viewer it looks archaic, like some sort of old-time sorcery. But then again: Straight camps?