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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 11 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 28
Pride in Cuba: Kiss-In celebrates new anti-discrimination law, protests exclusion of gender identity and HIV status
Section One
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Pride in Cuba: Kiss-In celebrates new anti-discrimination law, protests exclusion of gender identity and HIV status

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Cuba's second Besada (Kiss-In) for Diversity and Equality celebrated the country's new Labor Code that protects sexual orientation, but also protested the lack of legal protections for gender identity and HIV status.

The June 28 event was organized by Proyecto Arcoiris (Rainbow Project), which describes itself as 'anti-capitalist and independent.' In other words, the group is not sponsored by the Cuban government, as Mariella Castro's National Center for Sex Education is, but is also not an opposition group.

In their statement calling for the event, the group applauded protections enacted in the newly passed Labor Code, but criticized the government for not going far enough.

'Because a revolution means changing everything that needs change, and we defend the idea of an anti-capitalist, revolutionary and democratic society,' they wrote.

'Join us and celebrate the Labor Code, Law No. 116, and, for the first time, the protection of homosexuals. Come and demand a public explanation addressing the elimination of gender identity issues and status regarding HIV, in the same legislation, although the National Assembly did not approve it.

'On this date, the color of your skin, gender, gender identity, religious or political beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin, disabilities nor any other distinction do not matter, but what does is the faith in equality of all forms of love, forming a family, reproducing, being committed... all forms of BEING PATRIOTIC.

'On June 28th, put the Revolution in a Kiss.'

LGBT rights advocate Mariella Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro and niece of former President Fidel Castro, recommended inclusion of Transgender Cubans in the new law, but her suggestions were ignored by the National Assembly.

In addition to organizing the Kiss-In, Proyecto Arcoiris also wrote a formal protest to National Assembly Chairman Lazo Hernandez noting that 'transgender individuals are the ones who deal with the most social and labor discrimination in our country, nor has the stigma and prejudice towards individuals with HIV/aids been completely resolved...'

Proyecto Arcoiris organized its first Besada, involving about 50 people, in 2012.

Immediately after the Cuban revolution of 1959, LGBT Cubans were sent to 're-education' camps where they were subjected to what we would now call 'conversion therapy.' In 1979, however, same-sex relations were legalized.

Fidel Castro subsequently apologized for the camps in a 2010 interview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada.

In 2008, the government began to include sex-reassignment procedures in the country's free healthcare program.

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