Two LGBT leaders from United States visiting Cuba for pride events
LGBT activists Evan Wolfson and Tico Almeida are in Havana
They will participate in International Day Against Homophobia and
Wolfson founded Freedom to Marry; Almeida is the Cuban-American founder
of Freedom to Work
BY STEVE ROTHAUS
Evan Wolfson and Tico Almeida, two of the United States' best-known LGBT
activists, are in Havana to participate in International Day Against
Homophobia and Transphobia events.
Tico Almeida of Freedom to Work. Via Facebook
The weeklong visit "consists of a series of LGBT events, panels,
community fairs, and a pride parade in Havana on Saturday, May 14 and a
second pride parade in the Cuban city of Matanzas on May 17," according
to a joint news release sent by Wolfson and Almeida.
"I'm no expert and am here to learn, listen, and share ideas, including
a better understanding of Cuba's pathway to the freedom to marry,"
Wolfson told the Miami Herald on Thursday night from Havana. "Nearly 70%
of the people of Latin America now live in a freedom to marry country.
The Cuban people deserve no less."
Wolfson and other activists on Thursday met with Cubans including
Mariela Castro, director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education
in Havana. She also is daughter of the Cuban leader Raul Castro.
Before Wolfson departed the U.S. on Wednesday, he publicly thanked
President Barack Obama.
"Thanks to President Obama, the restoration of relations between the US
and Cuba allows people to travel and exchange ideas, and I am thrilled
to now be one of them," said Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry. "I
eagerly look forward to my first trip to Havana in conjunction with
International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia activities this week,
including multiple opportunities to meet with and learn from a range of
Cuban leaders and advocates, fellow conference attendees, LGBT activists
and supporters, and our U.S. Ambassador and the Embassy team. Human
rights are universal, and it's time for the freedom to marry in Cuba and
across the Americas."
Obama visited Cuba in March, setting the stage for a change in
diplomatic relations between the island and United States.
"I have visited my family in Cuba much more often in the past few years
thanks to President Obama's executive action easing the old and
burdensome travel restrictions," said Almeida, the Cuban-American
founder of Freedom to Work. "I am looking forward to meeting the brave
Cubans advocating for marriage equality, and I am honored that I have
been invited to speak on a panel about our experience in the United
States litigating against LGBT workplace discrimination in the historic
case called Freedom to Work vs. ExxonMobil. I'm also looking forward to
the LGBT pride parade next week in the Cuban city of Matanzas, which
elected my great-grandfather as its mayor in the 1930's and then to the
Cuban Senate in the 1940's. I hope this is the first, but not last time
I can invite my Cuban relatives to join me in celebrating LGBT pride."
Source: Two LGBT leaders from United States visiting Cuba for pride
events | In Cuba Today -