Cuba begins conference against transphobia and homophobia

Month-long event promotes LGBTQ tolerance

By Hatzel Vela - Cuba Correspondent

HAVANA - Cuban President Raul Castro's daughter Mariela Castro was leading the Conference Against Homophobia and Transphobia, a month-long campaign against the discrimination of the LGBTQ community on the island.  

The campaign includes marches and other public events, and it has been happening every May for the last decade. The departments of education and public health, and the union of writers and artists of Cuba contribute to the events in Havana and Villa Clara.

It's an event for Cubans of all ages, because she believes childhood education can help promote tolerance and acceptance early on. Mariela Castro is the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education. 

Bullying is a negative experience for any human being, she said. And dealing with bullying related to sexual orientation does significant harm at an early age, she said.

She touts the achievement of  the Cuban government's health care system's coverage of reassignment surgery. She estimated there have been about 35 since the procedure's coverage was legalized. 

Same-sex marriage remains a looming goal of activists on the island. It's a challenging goal, she said, because "for that to happen there would need to be a constitutional change," Mariela Castro said. 

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