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Cuba: Kiss-in for Diversity and Equality

[All links lead to Spanish language pages, except when otherwise noted.]

“Come with something red and kiss someone, because all forms of love are important!”  This was the announcement given last Thursday June 28 by the Arcoiris Project, a Cuban group that defines themselves as an “independent and anti-capitalist LGBT collective,” which is demanding that homosexual parents be legally recognized and transsexuality not be considered a disease, among other requests.

The invitation for the “Kiss-in for Diversity and Equality” near the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, repeated by several blogs, proposed:

Es 28 de junio: nuestros besos serán homenaje a quienes murieron y mueren por el odio a lo diferente. Nuestros besos son el voto porque un día el 17 de mayo y el 28 de junio ya no signifiquen nada.

It is June 28: Our kisses will be a tribute to those who have died and die because of hatred against what is different. Our kisses are our vow, that one day May 17 and June 28 will no longer signify anything.

The demonstration, which managed to bring together more than 20 people, commemorated the anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots in New York in 1969, which sparked the civil rights movement in the LGBT community and marked the date that would become the Gay Pride Day.

Besada por la Diversidad y la Igualdad en La Habana, Cuba. (Foto: Cortesía de Jorge Luis Baños)

Kiss-in for Diversity and Equality in Havana, Cuba. (Photo: Courtesy of Jorge Luis Baños)

According to the organizers:

Besarse es una muestra de cariño cotidiana, pero para muchos ojos constituye escándalo público si ocurre entre personas no heterosexuales. Al besarnos todos y todas, por amor o fraternidad, ejercitamos nuestra igualdad ciudadana y ponemos en evidencia los dobles raseros morales que generan la homofobia, el sexismo, las lógicas discriminatorias que marcan las raíces de nuestra cultura y debemos cambiar.

Kissing is a sign of everyday affection, but in many eyes it constitutes public scandal if it occurs between non-heterosexual people.  When kissing each other, for love or friendship, we exercise our civil equality and highlight the moral double standards that generate homophobia, sexism, and discrimination, which mark the root of our culture and which we must change.

Concerning the challenges of repeating such initiatives among the public in Cuba, the Cuban blogger Yasmín Silvia stated:

¡Por supuesto que el resultado fue excelente! Había gente que no era del Observatorio Crítico, ni de Bloggers Cuba, y sumamos más de veinte. Esa modesta cantidad se logró a través de mensajes de texto, correos electrónicos, invitaciones de FB y llamadas por teléfono. Se logró saltando sobre el obstinado silencio institucional que no puede —¿por naturaleza o falta de deseos?— reconocer que las sexualidades no son monopolio del Estado, sino tema que corresponde a la sociedad toda (…) La cosa perturbadora está en quienes sabían y no fueron.

Of course the results were excellent! There were people that weren't from Observatorio Crítico, nor from Bloggers Cuba [links added by Global Voices], and we amounted to more than twenty. That modest amount was achieved through text messages, emails, FB invitations and phone calls. It was achieved by overcoming the stubborn institutional silence that cannot -due to nature or lack of desire?- recognize that sexualities are not a monopoly of the state, but rather a subject that belongs to society as a whole (…) The troubling thing is those who knew but didn't come.

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