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Cuba Marks Gay Rights Advances, But Same-Sex Marriage Remains Distant

Cuba Marks Gay Rights Advances, But Same-Sex Marriage Remains Distant
Posted: 05/11/2014 12:37 am EDT
By Daniel Trotta

HAVANA, May 10 (Reuters) – Several hundred Cubans danced to a conga
beat, waved the rainbow flag and proclaimed their same-sex love on
Saturday, celebrating great advances in gay rights while patiently
waiting for the still politically distant right to marriage.

About 500 people marched in the seventh annual parade against homophobia
through Havana’s Vedado district, where cross-dressing dancers and
hand-holding same-sex couples, joined by dozens of foreign visitors,
clamored for greater social acceptance.

Cuba has approved sex-change operations and banned workplace
discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people in
recent years, but it has yet to legalize same-sex marriage or even civil

Some public attitudes changed when admitted in 2010, two
years after stepping down from the presidency, that he had been wrong to
discriminate against homosexuals, who were sent to labor camps in the
early years of after the 1959 revolution.

“Even though there is a revolution, the consciousness has not changed
fast enough among many revolutionaries,” said Mariela Castro, daughter
of and Cuba’s most prominent advocate for LGBT rights.

“I’d like it to be faster, but I don’t lose hope. I am going to
celebrate with great happiness the day that same-sex couples can start
to get married,” she told Reuters at the conclusion of the event.

Even though Cuba is governed only by the Communist Party, legislation
often moves slowly. Since 2006, the national assembly has been trying to
update a 1975 Family Code that makes no mention of the rights of
transsexuals, gays or lesbians. Meanwhile, proposals to recognize
same-sex unions have stalled.

“My father supports me but he can’t decide it all by himself,” said
Mariela Castro, a member of the national assembly and director of the
National Center for Sex . “We have to build a consensus, and
that’s what we’re working toward.”

Some of those in the parade said they understood why change was slow,
grateful that the Cuban public has grown as accepting as it is.

“Things are moving at the pace they need to so that people who aren’t
used to these things can accept them more peacefully,” said Guido
Quiñones, 57, who works in .

Others were more bold.

“We expect more,” said Juan Carlos, a transvestite in makeup and rumba
dress who marched to the drum beat. “Gay marriage, rights. They need to
respect us and look after us.” (Additional reporting by Rosa Tania
Valdes; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Source: “Cuba Marks Gay Rights Advances, But Same-Sex Marriage Remains
Distant” –

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