LGBT Rights in Cuba: Domestic Demagogy and Foreign Diplomacy
October 8, 2014
Jimmy Roque Martínez
HAVANA TIMES – Cuba and Venezuela did not participate in the debate
surrounding a resolution that protects individuals from discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, held within the
United Nations at the close of September.
This is, apparently, a new strategy of the Cuban government to avoid
offending powerful friends such as Russia and Iran, whose homophobic
leaders have visited the island, where they were received by brothers, a
strategy that does contradict its official, internal discourse.
Though Cuba ultimately and thankfully approved the resolution, which is
what's important, we must continue to pay close attention to these
The Round Table program aired on May 12 this year, where LGBT rights in
Cuba were discussed, now comes to mind. Delegates to the 5th Conference
of the International Association of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals,
Transsexuals and Intersexuals for Latin America and the Caribbean
(ILGALAC), held in Varadero around that time, took part in the program.
During that program, Cuban participants to the conference revealed the
results obtained on the island thanks to the work of the National Center
for Sexual Education (CENESEX), while foreign invitees spoke of the
achievements of the LGBTI community in their own countries, possible, to
a great extent, thanks to civil society groups.
These achievements included the Gender Identity Law, equal marriage laws
and others that Cuba is still far from reaching.
In 2006, the CENESEX presented the Cuban parliament with a bill to
modify the existing Family Code, which calls for the recognition of
same-sex couples. This bill has not been discussed to date.
At this Round Table program, CENESEX legal expert Manuel Vazquez Seijido
was asked what legal status the bill was in, but the official was
evasive in his response and did not dare offer any information about this.
CENESEX director Mariela Castro stated that the Cuban revolution must
approve this new Family Code to become even more revolutionary, adding
that this is what the world is expecting of Cuba.
I don't believe decision-makers have the will to legally acknowledge
same-sex marriages on the island. This latest maneuver at the UN, and
the debates held at the National Assembly in December of last year, make
me confident of this. It is up to civil society and all Cubans
interested in securing this right to demand it.
How are we to achieve this? I am not certain, but I do know we must
organize ourselves in connection with this issue, in order to become
stronger and more creative.
There are many people in stable same-sex relationships on the island,
but, even if there was only one such couple, that one couple ought to
have the right to legal recognition if it so desired it.
The men and women of Cuba's LGBTI community hope to be able to have the
right to marry the persons we love. It is a debt the country has with
us, and a right that has been denied us for far too long.
Source: LGBT Rights in Cuba: Domestic Demagogy and Foreign Diplomacy -
Havana Times.org - http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=106604