St. Lucian LGBT Activist Kenita Placide’s Resilience in the Face of Tragedy, Murder, Arson, and Violence

Think it’s hard to be gay in the United States? Kenita Placide, from St. Lucia, humbly describes her courage in the face of astonishing adversity.

Quorum is a live journalism forum focused on LGBT experiences around the world. Its mission is to lift up the voices of non-Western LGBT activists defining the struggle for justice. Vistit Quorum.TheDailyBeast.com for more stories of persecution, triumph, adversity and strength.

Want to see a room full of activists and journalists completely spellbound?

Last December, The Daily Beast convened the first installment of Quorum: Global LGBT Voices. We hosted eleven TED-style talks, panels, and discussions. The room was full of longstanding activists, journalists, and members of New York’s LGBTQ community.

You could’ve heard a pin drop when St. Lucian activist Kenita Placide told her story, which is being published today. It’s a story of family tragedy, and her resilience in the face of it. It’s the story of someone who had three friends murdered for being LGBT. And it’s a story of a grassroots organization—United & Strong St. Lucia—whose offices were vandalized just one week before Kenita traveled to the United States to give her talk.

“My sisters freaked out,” says Placide, when they learned she was going public as an LGBT activist in the Caribbean. Those murders weren’t accidents—and Placide herself says she was held up at knifepoint, once her identity and her activism became known. But she hasn’t stopped. In addition to United & Strong, she has served as Eastern Caribbean Cordinator at CariFLAGS—Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities, and spoken widely on her life and struggle.

These days of ubiquitous clickbait, you could be forgiven for being cynical when someone tells you that you’ll be moved to tears by a video. But you will be.