Waymon Hudson

Cuba looking to expand LGBT rights

Filed By Waymon Hudson | March 29, 2008 9:17 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Cuba, gay rights

Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuba's new president Raul Castro, has been pushing what could be the most inclusive LGBT rights law in Latin America.

The bill before the Cuban National Assembly would grant same-sex couples legal status and give them inheritance rights, as well as cover the cost of gender-reassignment surgery and permit transgender people, regardless of whether they have surgery, to change their gender on their identity cards.

Mariela is head of the government-funded National Center for Sex Education and says she is trying to change people's attitudes towards minority groups in the community.

Cuba's history of LGBT acceptance is pretty grim. In the early days of the revolution, many LGBT people were sent to forced labor camps for re-education and rehabilitation. The camps were not long lived, but gays were still often denied jobs and labeled as "ideological deviants".

Mariela Castro says there has been a new shift in attitudes, stating:

In the early years of the revolution much of the world was homophobic. It was the same here in Cuba and led to acts which I consider unjust. What I see now is that both Cuban society and the government have realized that these were mistakes. There is also the desire to take initiatives which would prevent such things happening again.

A movement to learn from past mistakes in a country? A government-funded National Center for Sex Education that is seeking to really change and educate its people?

How... revolutionary.

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Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 29, 2008 11:31 AM

This signals good forward movement on LGBT rights in Cuba, but I do wonder how far will this extend. What about the right to create gay publications and gay groups that are not affiliated with the state? Will this be a part of the changes that have been proposed?

Yet another reason for Bush and the repugs in government to hate Cuba.

It is pretty funny though, a supposedly "backward" country like Cuba taking a march on the "good ole US of A".

Viva la Revolucion!