LGBT Dialogue between US and Cuban Activists in Havana

By Victor Manuel

Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Convened by the US diplomatic mission, US and Cuban LGBT activists met on May 12th 2017 at the US Embassy.

Throughout the entire day, the activists from both countries debated aspects of the gay struggle in Cuba and the experience of the United States within the scope of the Cuban Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Some representatives of Cuban Civil Society who aren’t recognized by the State along with the Babel Project, which does have legal representation, took part in the meeting.

At the meeting, Juana Mora Cedeno and Moises Leonardo from the Arco Iris Libre de Cuba Association (ALCU) and Corriente Martiana respectively, put forward the points of the We Also Love Campaign which has been in the works since 2015 to try and legalize Same-Sex Marriage in Cuba.

The Babel Project also highlighted the need for LGBT organizations to become more representative within the country, as well as including members of the community who have public roles.  Every representative explained the lines of work of each of their organizations.

Representatives from the United States included Tico Almeida from Freedom to Work and Dana Beyer from Gander Rights Maryland who shared their experiences in the LGBT struggle in the United States, including the right to Marriage and Gender Equality. Other members from the US delegation were Brad Sears from the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School, Luis Abolafia from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute and Nadine Smith from Equality Florida.

Participants from the Cuban delegation included, Mario Jose Delgado from the Divina Esperanza Project, Sisis Montiel from the ALCU Project and member of the MANOS Association, Juan Antonio Madrazo from the Citizens Committee for Racial Integration and the LGBT respresentative at this organization Marthadela Tamayo; Raul Soublett and Alejandro Castaneda from the   AFROMAS Movement, Lydia Marrero from the MANOS Project and Luis Rondon, an independent journalist and LGBT activist.

Those present thanked the initiative for this meeting and the need to continue it in the future, as well as highlighting the importance that they have support from and contacts at LGBT Institutions and Organizations in the United States, as well as the need to reach the US public and to make the voices that are rising up in Cuba for the struggle of the Cuban Gay Movement more diverse.

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