Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cuba's shot in the arm for LGBTQ personhood & pink tourism

In April this year in a previous post Caribbean tourism must reflect changing demands ....... pink $$ anyone? I had raised the business side of LGBTQ person-hood as placed to our neighbours 90 miles to the north and the opportunities we might be missing in this regard, well we did not have to wait long as news comes that a mass wedding is coming in Cuba during their pride celebrations.

Members of Cuba's LGBT community pose for pictures - Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
copyright Reuters - A law was passed in 2013 banning discrimination against sexuality - but not gender identity

Gay rights activists in Cuba will hold a mass wedding this weekend, in a country where gay marriage is still not legal.

The activists will be led by the daughter of President Raul Castro, Mariela, who is a leading gay and transgender rights campaigner.

The symbolic wedding will be part of Cuba's annual gay pride parade.

Ms Castro said she hoped the event could lead to further change in future.

In recent years, Cuba has taken steps towards integrating people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

In 2010, two years after he stood down as president, Fidel Castro said he had been wrong to discriminate against gay people, who were sent to labour camps soon after the 1959 revolution.

In 2012, Adela Hernandez, who is biologically male but has lived as a woman since childhood, became the first LGBT person in Cuba to win a seat in office, after winning in municipal elections in central Cuba.

And in 2008, Cuba approved free sex-change operations to those who qualified.
Ms Castro, the head of the National Sex Education Centre and a member of Cuba's National Assembly, says her father supports same-sex marriage, but no legislation has yet been approved.

"We can't do a wedding, but we wanted to have a very modest celebration of love with some religious leaders," said Ms Castro,

"In the future we'll see what more we can do."

In December 2013, a new labour law was approved, outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

But the law did not ban discrimination based on gender identity, and Ms Castro voted against it.

"There is a fear that this will tear Cuban society apart," Ms Castro said. "It will create cultural and ideological enrichment."

In its 2014 annual report, Freedom House, a US-based think-tank, criticised delays in implementing same-sex marriage in Cuba, and said the authorities "do not recognize the work of independent, grassroots LGBT rights groups".


So now that the thawing of relations with Cuba and the US the gates have flung open and the island already seen as a novelty will only attract more curiosity seekers and the visitor is looking for a rugged experience and freedom from harassment (as happens here so much), not limited to a concrete jungle all inclusive Jamaica may be in for some stiff competition. 

Local hotels and small properties have been privately marketing to the growing LGBT market in the states I am told and in the aforementioned post it was mentioned but outward displays of affection is not a culturally palatable, the homo-negative and homophobic climate also plus the label of us being one of the most homophobic countries thanks to Time Magazine's article.

We need to learn and develop our own products and shed this fear and misunderstanding that is blocking so much potential.

Sadly the forward thinking is still not there from some in the business

also see:
Cuba And Caribbean Tourism (Gleaner 2015)


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