According to a report in the Washington Blade, the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro on Tuesday spoke about her organization’s plans to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Mariela Castro, director of Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education, told reporters and her supporters in Havana that her organization, which is known by the Spanish acronym CENESEX, will hold a series of events in the Cuban capital and the city of Matanzas from May 10-21.
CENESEX is a teaching and research institution in the area of human sexuality. Open to scientific research, exchange of experiences and knowledge dialogue, has recognized professionals from different disciplines dealing with an integrated approach the study of sexuality.
Mariela Castro is expected to take part in marches in Havana and Matanzas on May 14 and 17 respectively.
Candis Cayne, a transgender actress who appears in Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show, is slated to join other LGBT rights advocates on a panel in the Cuban capital on May 10. Tico Almeida, a Cuban American who is president of Freedom to Work, an LGBT advocacy group, is scheduled to speak on a separate panel in Havana on May 12.
Mariela received an award on Tuesday from U.N. Development Program Resident Representative in Cuba Myrta Kaulard that acknowledged CENESEX’s efforts to promote “equality” and combat gender-based violence in the country. Mariela Castro also said that delegates to last month’s Cuban Communist Party congress in Havana acknowledged people suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
“We felt that support for our work within the party was more explicit, much clearer,” Mariela Castro told Cibercuba.
Mariela’s supporters credit her with championing LGBT-specific issues on the Communist island.
Mariela, who is a member of the Cuban Parliament, has publicly spoken in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples. She voted against a 2013 bill against discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation because it did not trans-specific protections.
Cuba has offered free sex-reassignment surgeries under its national health care system since 2008, but independent LGBT rights advocates insist that only a few dozen trans people have been able to undergo the procedure. Adela Hernández in 2012 became the first openly trans person to hold public office on the island when she became a member of the Caibarién Municipal Council.