Mariela Castro: Struggle Against Homophobia Stirs Opinions in Cuban society.
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Tomado del Blog: Paquito el de Cuba
The 4th Cuban Day against Homophobia will celebrate, this coming May, its continuation and the sustained promotion of diverse spaces and actions as well as the increased role of LGBT activist groups. The Day will have a wider and more comprehensive program hosted by several cities in the country, informed Mariela Castro Espin, Director of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX), in an exclusive for this publication.
The renowned sexologist answered e-mail questions regarding the fourth consecutive commemoration of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia next May 17, date when in 1990 the World Health Organization´s (WHO) General Assembly eliminated homosexuality from the list of mental diseases.
“We must celebrate the continued presence of this drive, the fact that the population is discussing these topics and demanding more information which we try to provide though a number of informative programs, especially over the radio,” said Mariela. She also pointed out that spaces for this celebration are being diversified, actions are being decentralized, and more and more personalities are participating – especially from the Art world and institutions that become involved in the movement.
“The organizational capacity has been strengthened and there is an increased visibility of activists with more initiatives and integration among their groups all year long,” underlined the Director of CENESEX. She made special mention of the political impact generated by the civil society and through the Cuban Ministry for Foreign Affairs to contribute to Cuba´s support, in several agencies of the UN, of diplomatic initiatives against acts of violence and human rights violations suffered by LGTB persons, and of condemnation of extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, including those motivated by sexual orientation.
Regarding other expectations for the Day and the main novelties for the occasion, Mariela explained that “the most important thing is that this is the fourth national celebration of the International Day against Homophobia and this time it will take more than a week, not only a day, and will be held not only in the capital but in other cities which will develop their own programs and initiatives as well.”
“There will be lectures, debates, presentations of films, plays, books and magazines, and art exhibitions. Authors will read their work and there will be performances including aesthetically sound cross-dressing representations,” announced the Director of CENESEX when referring to the traditional cultural gala for sexual diversity which this time will be held in the emblematic Karl Marx theatre on Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th of May with the participation of singers like Omara Portuondo, Haila and Maria Antonieta, among others.
Mariela also said there has been “a sustained work with the media to disseminate scientific information and help eradicate prejudice and myths that stigmatize and diminish people who do not fall into the rigid patterns historically set for gender (male and female) and sexualities.”
“All of this,” added Mariela, “generates meetings, dialogue, thoughts, criticism and praise, joy or concerns, letters, and many questions in a whole movement of opinions that indicate the impact this initiative is having on Cuban society and on the eyes focused on Cuba.”
The Director of CENESEX explained that since the first celebration in 2008 people from different provinces and other nations have participated. She expressed her satisfaction for “the presence of Cubans who live abroad and come to visit and share in friendship these experiences.”
She reminded that last year the central site for May 17 was El Mejunje Cultural Center in Santa Clara and announced that this year it will be Santiago de Cuba – the second most important city in the country — as requested by a group of university students and the Sexual Education Committee of the Province as a follow up of the TV show Pasaje a lo Desconocido [A Trip to the Unknown] which presented some of these topics.
Among the most important events in the capital are the traditional debates at the Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba [National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists ] on Friday the 13th of May and the Conga against Homophobia from the Havana Malecon [seawall] to Pabellon Cuba [Pavillion-exhibition center in La Rampa, Vedado] on Saturday the 14th in the morning. There will be activities all day long in the Pabellon culminating with a big party in the evening.
Mariela said delegations from Germany, the British syndicates, and regional UNAIDS representatives have confirmed their attendance, as well as other guests from Canada and the United States.