HAVANA – With music, plumes and sparkling colors, hundreds of Cubans marched to a conga rhythm Saturday in Havana on the 9th Anti-Homophobia and Transphobia Day, which climaxed with a celebration of symbolic weddings of same-sex couples in confirmation of that right.
“For diversity,” “Socialism yes, homophobia no,” and “For non-discrimination in the workplace” were among the more popular slogans heard during the march in defense of LGBT rights, called annually by the National Sexual Health Center, or Cenesex.
“There is greater awareness among the people now, and a stronger political fight in defense of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) rights,” Cenesex Director Mariela Castro told the press.
Castro, legislator and daughter of President Raul Castro, led the march, together with transsexual U.S. actress Candis Cayne, a special guest on this 9th Anti-Homophobia Day and known in the United States for playing a diversity of roles in television series, as well as for her activism in the LGBT cause.
For a number of years, from Cenesex and in her role as a lawmaker in the Cuban parliament, Mariela Castro has promoted acknowledgment of full rights for LGBT persons, including a bill to establish a wider identification of gender identity.
Castro noted that the Cuban Communist Party asked the last Parliament to speed up legislation on behalf of gay rights and gender identity, which means “the Cuban people are still making progress in social justice and fairness.”
One achievement in that sense was the approval in December 2013 of a Labor Code that for the first time included non-discrimination for sexual orientation, though it did not include non-discrimination for gender identity.
As for same-sex marriage, which still does not figure in Cuban legislation, Castro said that while “that is not the greatest element in guaranteeing LGBT rights,” it is a choice that should be available to everyone.