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Raul Castro’s daughter blasts homophobia

I thought that this news item was of note, so here it is in full. Walter Lippmann’s website is worth visiting, too. See below… Tony

Raul Castro’s daughter blasts homophobia

Havana, May 21 (EFE).- The daughter of acting Cuban President Raul
Castro spoke out in favor of tolerance and against gay-bashing on the
occasion of the International Day against Homophobia.

“The communications media have a big responsibility in the education
of the public, in developing a culture of respect for people due to
their sexual identity and sexual orientation,” said Mariela Castro,
the head of the National Sex Education Center, in remarks broadcast
Sunday by state television.

Castro attended an unusual film-debate held in the “23 y 12” hall in
Havana, where organizers showed the U.S. film “Boys Don’t Cry,” which
tells a story based on real events of the difficulties,
discrimination and violence to which a young transsexual woman was
subjected.

“Starting with the advances we have had on these matters in our
country, it’s that we (are) trying to better visualize the goal of
this international – and in this case national – day,” said the
sexologist.

Castro said that “homophobia and transphobia still exist in the world
in a very strong, very cruel, very distriminatory way against
homosexual, transsexual and transgender people in a general sense
and, above all, as a result of ignorance.”

The government of Fidel Castro, who provisionally handed over power
to younger brother Raul last July after undergoing major surgery, has
in the past displayed marked intolerance for homosexuals, imprisoning
gays and quarantining AIDS sufferers.

The National Sex Education Center, a teaching, research and
assistance institution created in 1989, has proposed in the Cuban
legislature a bill to legally recognize the sex changes undergone by
transsexuals, at the same time it has been pushing for some time an
awareness campaign in the state-controlled media.

The International Day against Homophobia was begun on May 17, 2005, a
decade after the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from
its list of mental illnesses.

Thirteen years after its first showing in movie theaters on the
island, on May 5, Cubans watched the first broadcast on local
television of the 1993 film “Fresa y chocolate” (Strawberry and
Chocolate), an allegory against intolerance and discrimination
against homosexuals. Recently, Cuban TV also showed “La mujer de mi
hermano” (My Brother’s Wife), which also deals with the theme of
homosexuality. EFE

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WALTER LIPPMANN
Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
writer – photographer – activist

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