Cuba to Host Regional Gay Conference

ConferenciaHAVANA TIMES — Cuba will host a regional conference in May of partnerships and gay rights activists in Latin America and the Caribbean, organizers said Friday in Havana.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC) will take place from May 6 and 10 at the famous resort of Varadero.

The forum, the sixth of its kind in the region, has the support of the Cuban government and will receive more than 400 delegates from the Latin American and the Caribbean LGBTI community, said the organizers.

Among the participants will be Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro. The niece of Fidel Castro has made a name of her own on the island in recent years as an advocate for the rights of sexual minorities.

Her activism has marked a shift in official policy of the Castro regime, despite the traditional social prejudices and persecution of homosexuals in the 60s.

Mariela Castro.  Photo.
Mariela Castro. Photo.

Mariela seeks reform in the  Cuban Family Code to allow civil unions between homosexuals. It is believed that the initiative faces strong resistance from the “old guard” of the Cuban Revolution.

Although many countries legislate against homophobia, homosexuality is still taboo in many societies of Latin America. Only four countries – Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico allow marriage between same sex, in the case of Mexico only in certain states.

In Peru there is currently a heated public debate over a Civil Union bill submitted to Congress, vehemently rejected by the Catholic Church and conservative groups.

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