World Day against Homophobia marked in Cuba

News from Cuba | Friday, 29 May 2009

By Sarah Estevez fr CubaNow

Cuba Marked World Day against Homophobia on 18 May with cultural and educative actions and a rally in a centrally located Havana park under the slogan “Diversity.” The activity was attended by Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon.

The activities were organized by the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX). Dozens of people arrived at the place after marching and dancing to a Conga tune on several nearby streets and they carried multi-color flags.

CENESEX director Mariela Castro headed the short walk of homosexuals and transsexuals on one of the city?s main streets. She said we have begun commemorations of the date with a Conga tune in an action to drag the participation of the people. She said the objective is to have an increasing number of persons taking part in the action and cooperating with a process that she described as very important for the Cuban Revolution to keep strengthening and to meet all necessities of the human being, EFE news agency reported.

The program of activities included discussions on sexual diversity and homophobia, fast HIV tests, book presentations, concerts and other performances.

The commemoration of the date proves that Cuba is advancing in terms of the rights of sexual minorities, though it is a complex and long-time process, said Ricardo Alarcon. Cuban society as any other society must guarantee that no one is discriminated against for any reason and must also guarantee that persons with different sexual orientations fully enjoy their civil, political, economic and social rights and that they be respected according to their differences, Alarcon told reporters.

As to a proposal submitted to the Cuban parliament on modifications to the Family Code, which states the recognition of some rights of sexual minorities, Alarcon said that it is one of the issues generating a large diversity of viewpoints. “If we belief in diversity, in the respect for what is different, then we must reflect that attitude in the debate on this issue in particular,” he said.

There are many aspects included in the current Family Code that demand improvement, though the issue dealing with the change of genre identity for transex people and the legal marriage of homosexual couples has raised great interest, Alarcon explained.

In that direction Mariela Castro told reporters that she has not yet received any news about the course of the proposal to modify the Family Code and she explained that the Communist Party requested that her center should carry out more intense educative work with the population. That way the people will be more aware of the issue to be addressed and they will adopt a more favorable position, she said.

Mariela Castro said she had received letters and complaints from the people, and she noted that those letters are not the only instrument to evaluate what is going on. However, she said that there is some kind of awareness rising among the people and their leaders.

World Day against Homophobia is officially marked on the planet May 17. That same day in 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) withdrew homosexuality from the list of mental diseases.

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