[DEBATE] : Cuban Government Backs Calls to Combat Homophobia
p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Mon May 26 16:28:01 BST 2008
An enormous abrazo (hug) for Mariela Castro!
I think I might appreciate here, however, a national 'sorry' day, in which
those who speak in the name of The Revolution, apologise for having taken
almost a half century to catch up with the imperialist USA and capitalist
Brazil in such matters. (If they wish to use it to admit their own sexual
prejudices and pecadilos, that's OK by me too).
However, I am not holding my breath.
Any more than I am expecting, soon, racial equality for Blacks (how many of
these are there in leadership positions?) or even a Black Pride day...or
The traditional left internationally has preferred to celebrate high levels
of education and health care, whilst keeping silence about such matters.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Yoshie Furuhashi" <critical.montages at gmail.com>
To: "debate: SA discussion list" <debate at debate.kabissa.org>
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2008 5:11 PM
Subject: [DEBATE] : Cuban Government Backs Calls to Combat Homophobia
Cuban government backs calls to combat homophobia
By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ – May 17, 2008
HAVANA (AP) — Cuba's gay community celebrated unprecedented openness —
and high-ranking political alliances — with a government-backed
campaign against homophobia on Saturday.
The meeting at a convention center in Havana's Vedado district may
have been the largest gathering of openly gay activists ever on the
communist-run island. President Raul Castro's daughter Mariela, who
has promoted the rights of sexual minorities, presided.
"This is a very important moment for us, the men and women of Cuba,
because for the first time we can gather in this way and speak
profoundly and with scientific basis about these topics," said Castro,
director of Cuba's Center for Sexual Education.
Mariela Castro joined government leaders and hundreds of activists at
the one-day conference for the International Day Against Homophobia
that featured shows, lectures, panel discussions and book
presentations. A station also offered blood-tests for sexually
Cuban state television gave prime-time play Friday to the U.S. film
"Brokeback Mountain," which tells the story of two cowboys who conceal
their homosexual affair.
Prejudice against homosexuals remains deeply rooted in Cuban society,
but the government has steadily moved away from the Puritanism of the
1960s and 1970s, when homosexuals hid their sexuality for fear of
being ridiculed, fired from work or even imprisoned.
Now Cuba's parliament is studying proposals to legalize same-sex
unions and give gay couples the benefits that people in traditional
Parliament head Ricardo Alarcon said the government needs to do more
to promote gay rights, but said many Cubans still need to be
Things "are advancing, but must continue advancing, and I think we
should do that in a coherent, appropriate and precise way because
these are topics that have been taboo and continue to be for many,"
Alarcon told reporters.
Some at the conference spoke of streaming out into the streets for a
spontaneous gay-pride parade, but others urged caution.
The gay rights movement should be careful not to "flood" Cuban society
with a message that many are not ready to hear, physician and gay
activist Alberto Roque cautioned.
And Mariela Castro said gay activists should opt for more subtle ways
to chip away at deep-seated homophobic attitudes.
Defending equal rights for Cubans, of all sexual orientations, is a
key principal of the Cuban revolution led by her uncle Fidel Castro,
who overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, she said.
"The freedom of sexual choice and gender identity (are) exercises in
equality and social justice," she said.
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