Respect, include, accept - Mariela Castro launches International Day Against Homophobia events
News from Cuba | Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Mariela Castro Espín, director of Cene?sex, highlighted the importance of informing and educating the Cuban population in the need to accept and respect free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity.
The 8th Cuban Day against Homophobia and Transphobia began this Tuesday with a press conference and the inauguration of the photo exhibition Continuing Forward by U.S. artist Byron Motley at the National Center for Sex Education (Ce?nesex) headquarters, which along with the Cuban Workers’ Federation has organized an extensive program of activities, which will continue through May 23 across the provinces of Havana and Las Tunas.
Mariela Castro Espín, director of Cene?sex, highlighted the importance of informing and educating the Cuban population in the need to accept and respect free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity, rights which when not respected by all, become a problem which generates suffering and exclusion.
In this regard she noted that this year Cenesex has launched a new campaign as part of its ongoing communicative and sex education strategy, which aims to promote, under the banner of “count me in,” homophobia or transphobia free work spaces.
“We have spent the last two years directing efforts toward the family sphere, and although we haven’t been able to include rights regarding sexual orientation and gender identity in the Family Code as we had hoped, our work has contributed to brining awareness to the population at all levels, including that of government, so that in the future these issues are not only incorporated into the Family Code but also the Cuban justice system,” emphasized Castro Espín.
Likewise, she noted that “one of the problems frequently identified by our center through the legal services regarding sexual orientation it provides to the population, is precisely that work spaces are one of the principal areas in which LGTBI (lesbian, gay, transgender, intersex) people are vulnerable.
Mariela Castro emphasized that although the inclusion of a recommendation against discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Work Code is an achievement, the incorporation of the concept of gender identity continues to be an unfulfilled demand.
The use of concepts in the principle of non-discrimination is very important, and although these concepts are subject to a constant processes of development - such as notions regarding gender or sexuality - they exist and are used in basic ethical principles,” she stated.
She also argued that generating consciousness is not something achieved through laws alone, but requires systematic educational efforts. The population will not discuss, reflect, concern itself about nor address these problems unless we put them on the table, as they generate suffering, injustice, exclusion, which is incoherent with the principles of revolutionary social justice. The policies and aspirations must be reflected in laws and concrete actions.
This year’s special program of activities include an ecumenical service and celebration of love, a symbolic act between same-sex couples or transsexuals to commemorate a sentimental connection like heterosexual couples, until such marriages are legalized.
The scientific event will begin this Wednesday with two panel discussion in the CTC, regarding how to make work places spaces of inclusion.
Another of this event’s objectives is to promote the creation of personal, family and social conditions in which men and women can fully exercise their sexual rights, free from exclusion based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
It also aims to promote respect and acceptance toward people with HIV with an emphasis on the most vulnerable groups; to combat and overcome all forms of discrimination and gender based violence, in particular, against men and women due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.