International Day against Homophobia in Cuba

Havana, 16 May (Prensa Latina) — The International Day against Homophobia was observed here today, with the participation of a diverse, largely youthful public.

In the early hours of the morning, the day’s activities began at the headquarters of the Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC) and the Pabellón Cuba, in the central district of El Vedado.

Mariela Castro Espín, the director of the National Center of Sex Education (CENESEX), presided over the inauguration of the day’s events with a parade and the opening of the panel “Sexual Diversity in the Cuban Family.”

On display at the UNEAC headquarters were the most recent issues of Sexología y Sociedad (Sexology and Society), the journal published by CENESEX and distributed at no cost through the network of libraries and universities of the country, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund.

The journal covers subjects such as comprehensive services to and social inclusion of transsexuals in the island; sexuality as a social determinant of health; and violence against women.

Referring to the impacts on Cuba of the observances of the International Day against Homophobia, Espín explained that research comparing the situations before and after the first observance in 2008 is being conducted.

Poet and essayist Miguel Barnet, the UNEAC President, said that, as the vanguard of society, writers and artists respect and support this scientific and educational program, led by Espín and her team.

This is a day against the ignorant thought that prevents us from advancing, a task on which our artists cannot turn their backs.  We must pay attention to the latest and most advanced thought, Barnet said.

The gathering was attended by Cuban national literary award winners Nancy Morejón and Reynaldo González, as well as writers Senel Paz, Ana Lydia Vega, Leonardo Padura, and Lina de Feria, among others.

Talks, book sales, expositions, film showings, and concerts will be held throughout the day, which are all free and open to the public, and will end after midnight.

Havana, May 17 (Prensa Latina) — The president of the Cuban National Assembly (Parliament), Ricardo Alarcon, said the essence of Socialism is the inclusion rather than exclusion of people for their sexual orientation or religion.

Alarcon spoke with Prensa Latina, as Cuba observed the International Day Against Homophobia.

“The Cuban drive against homophobia shows maturity and culture achieved by our society,” the top Cuban legislator said.

The International Day Against Homophobia was marked in Cuba Saturday with a panel on sexual diversity, presentations of books and artistic shows.

Mariela Castro Espin, head of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), opened the forum at Havana’s Pabellon Cuba.

Castro said such events are part of an education strategy, whose aim is to fight a reality that has been misunderstood out of ignorance.

“International Day against Homophobia in Cuba” is the translation of “En Cuba jornada por el Día Mundial contra la Homofobia” (Prensa Latina, 16 May 2009) by Yoshie Furuhashi“Alarcon: Cuba Respects Sexual Diversity” was first published by Prensa Latina on 17 May 2009.