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The activities seek to produce a change in mentality and combat homophobic attitudes, by promoting respect for diversity. Photo: Agustín Rey Borrego

Dedicated for the second time to ensuring workplaces are free of homophobia and transphobia – as members of the LGBTI community on the island continue to face discrimination when seeking employment, despite having the necessary skills and qualifications – activities to mark the 9th edition of the Cuban Day against Homophobia and Transphobia will be held from May 10, Dr. Mariela Castro Espín, director of the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex), informed reporters in Havana.

Despite progress in legal terms, as seen in Law No.116 of the Cuban Labor Code, adopted in 2014, which expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace, “We will continue to support the issue of workplaces through this campaign, in strong partnership with the Cuban Workers’ Federation, to continue raising awareness in Cuban society and especially within trade unions regarding the need to promote respect for freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity as an exercise of social justice and equity,” Castro Espín noted.

The president of the organizing committee added, “We have arrived at this edition in a favorable context, following the 7th PCC Congress,” during which non-discrimination was reaffirmed as a key objective, in particular the need to confront prejudices and discriminatory behavior on various grounds, including sexual orientation.

“As a guest I was able to confirm that there was no questioning of this issue, which demonstrates that these issues are understood, supported and advanced within the Communist Party of Cuba, and that there is political support for our strategy, as expressed at the Congress,” she stressed.

She explained that events such as this 9th edition seek, within the very processes of social transformation, to produce a change in the mentality and attitudes of people who reject those with non-heteronormative sexual orientation or gender identity. The activities are also aimed at including the entire Cuban population, and are not exclusive to the LGBTI community, advocating the strengthening of values in Cuban society, based on the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

The organizing committee highlighted the extensive program of scientific, educational, recreational, cultural, sporting and training activities, and announced that the second venue, apart from Havana, will be the province of Matanzas.

In addition, the event includes conferences, workshops and panels, where issues related to activism and public policy, sexual and reproductive rights, and legal debates concerning sexual orientation and gender identity will all be addressed, as well as the traditional Gala and Cuban Conga against Homophobia and Transphobia, among other activities.

Before initiating the press conference in Havana, the resident coordinator in Cuba of the UN system, Mirta Kaulard, presented the UNiTE Award for the commitment to equality and an end to gender-based violence to Cenesex; in recognition of its important contribution to promoting the rights of all in Cuba, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Dr. Mariela Castro Espín was also recognized with this award.

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