By Caroline Bins
In collaboration with the American editorial cartoonist Matt Bors , including contributions from the Haitian artist Chevelin Pierre, I have created a video which incorporates animated illustrations to paint a picture of a group particularly impacted by the earthquake.
In a country where 85 % of Haiti's population is devoutly Catholic, many gay and lesbians hide their sexual orientation for fear of being discriminated or harassed. The major exception is Voodoo, a spiritual belief which does not discriminate against gays.
Knowing this as we went to Haiti, what piqued our attention was the reports of increased homophobia in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. A visit to Haiti's only LGTB organization, SEROvie only corroborated these reports further.
At the height of the post-earthquake catastrophe 1.5 million Haitians were homeless according to the international organization for migration. But haiti's lgtb we spoke to said that with the loss of their homes they had become "more visible" to outside verbal and physical abuse. Twice, while we were in the camp, our main subject "Jean -Francois" was taunted and called Masisi or faggot. All of our subjects recounted how church priests and religious radio programs blamed them for the earthquake. An accusation that they heard time and again.
Why combine illustrations with video?
Two of the three subjects we interviewed wished to remain anonymous fearful for their safety. Also they did not wish to disclose their sexual orientation to their families. While there are many ways in video's to conceal someone's identity I was interested to collaborate with Matt Bors to see how we can tell stories otherwise difficult to report.
Also, we wanted to test the boundaries of both video and comics and yet remain journalistic. Drawings are often associated with fiction but Bors and I were interested to stay within the confines of reality.
He worked from his own sketches, pictures and freeze frames taken from my video footage.
Caroline Bins is a Dutch video journalist currently residing in San Fransisco. In July 2011, she traveled to Haiti with the editorial team of Cartoon Movement.