originally posted May 19 by Havana Times.org

Havana’s 23rd Street was a grand fiesta on Saturday as people of all ages and sexual orientations formed a winding conga line that extended to Pavilion Cuba, the place where Sexual Diversity Day was formally initiated. Havana Times was on the scene to listen to speakers, capture photos, and talk with several participants.

In her opening words, Sexual Education Center (CENESEX) director Mariela Castro Espin noted, “This it is not a gay pride march, that’s not our intention at this time. In reality, we’re identifying with a proposal made by a French activist to designate a World Day against Homophobia. Gays are not a problem, the problem is homophobia!”

CENESEX-supported by other institutions across the country-encouraged discussion and reflection within families about sexual diversity on Saturday the day before the World Day on May 17, said Mariela.

The aim was not to question the family structure that predominates in Cuban society, but to consider other forms, which people are less accustomed to, but are part of the country’s reality. Lesbians, gays, transsexuals and their families all had their chance to speak and exchange experiences-some bitter, others buoyant.

Thanks to educational campaigns such as this, the issue of homophobia is being addressed at some levels, though generally Cuban society continues to be homophobic.

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