CUBA: Month-Long Offensive Against Homophobia

Published: May 5, 2011

HAVANA, May 3, 2011 (IPS) – LGBT social networks and experts with Cuba’s National Sex Education Centre (CENESEX) announced Tuesday that events surrounding the Day Against Homophobia will last a month this year in this Caribbean island nation.

"There are places where gay pride day is celebrated; we are going to dedicate the entire month of May to the fight against homophobia," said sexologist Mariela Castro, director of CENESEX, a government agency. "Although our activities take place year-round, this is the time of greatest visibility," she said.

In a press conference held to present the planned events, Castro – who happens to be the daughter of President Raúl Castro – stressed the central role to be played by social networks of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people that have emerged with ties to CENESEX since 2003.

The members of the networks "are sexual rights activists who have been participating in organising the activities," Castro explained, after pointing to the increase in the number of blogs and other individual communication initiatives in Cuba promoting respect for freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Representatives of the social networks accompanied Castro and other CENESEX experts in the International Workers’ Day march on May 1 in Havana, holding up the Cuban flag and the rainbow flag – the international symbol of the LGBT movement – side by side.

The activities prepared for this month, under the slogan "Diversity Is Humanity", include conferences, debates, films, concerts, exhibitions, street processions of conga bands, and a gala performance by leading artistes and crossdressers in the Karl Marx theatre, which seats 5,000.

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