Threats, arson can’t stop Caribbean LGBTI activist (video)

Kenita Placide (Click image for link to video. Photo courtesy of YouTube)
Kenita Placide (Click image for link to video. Photo courtesy of YouTube)

“I felt like someone had just cut off my feet off from my knees down,” LGBTI rights activist Kenita Placide says about the day when an arsonist destroyed the headquarters of her LGBTI rights group, United and Strong, on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.

Violent attacks like that are part of her personal story of becoming an LGBTI activist in the Caribbean, where barriers against women’s and LGBTI leadership are challenging.

Placide, who now is Eastern Caribbean Coordinator at CariFLAGS (the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities), describes her personal story of becoming an LGBTI activist in the latest video in the “Quorum: Global LGBTI Voices” series about international LGBTI issues.

In her video, she tells how, despite turmoil in her personal life, she became “the voice and the face of the LGBT community in St. Lucia,” making a presentation to the nation’s Constitutional Reform Commission.

She was threatened at knifepoint for her advocacy of LGBTI rights.

Kenita Placide at St. Lucia's Constitutional Reform Commission. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)
Kenita Placide at St. Lucia’s Constitutional Reform Commission. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

When the  arsonist struck the group’s headquarters, “every single thing was gone in less than one hour,” Placide says. “That did not stop United and Strong. That didn’t stop me.”

They rebuilt and resumed their work representing the LGBTI community in St. Lucia, to bring them together and to continue educating and sensitizing the general public.

The Placide video is the seventh of 11 discussions of international LGBTI issues that overall are designed to “reverse the megaphone,” allowing activists from abroad to tell Western viewers about the challenges that LGBTI people face worldwide. The videos were recorded at a December 2014 meeting in New York.

The series, under its full title “Quorum: Global LGBT voices,” is presented by The Daily Beast. The Erasing 76 Crimes blog, as a member of the advisory board for the project, helped The Daily Beast select Quorum speakers.

The video is on the Quorum page and on YouTube.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at

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