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New Orleans: LGBTQ solidarity delegation, Cuban trans activist speak in panel

By staff

Panel attendees show solidarity in front of Pride flag reading 'Cuba Sí, Bloqueo

New Orleans, LA – Activists convened in an open forum, June 22, hosted by members of an LGBTQ delegation that visited Cuba in early May. About 25 others joined virtually. Gregory William from the Women in Struggle / Mujeres en Lucha and Serena Sojic-Borne of Real Name Campaign New Orleans spoke as delegation members. Speaker Verde Gil Jimenez, a coordinating member of the Trans Masculine Group of Cuba, attended remotely from Santa Clara.

The speakers reported on the Cuban Families Code, the LGBTQ movement in Cuba, and Cuban socialist democracy. “The basis for Cuban democracy comes from the people. Municipalities elect local representatives to the municipal governing body. These representatives then elect delegates to the highest governing body in Cuba, the National Assembly of People’s Power,” Gregory William reported.

The Cuban people voted the Families Code into law with a two thirds majority in September 2022. Most U.S. media coverage simply reported that the law legalized same-sex marriage, but it did much more. The Code expanded the definition of a family to be any caring relationship, such as a grown child caring for an elderly parent. It made housework the responsibility of all able-bodied members of the family, regardless of gender. And it created protections for children by allowing them to report abuse directly to authorities without needing a guardian present.

“Capitalists need people who reproduce their workforce outside of production,” explained Sojic-Borne. “It falls on women to do reproductive labor. LGBTQ people challenge gender norms, so they are used as a ‘bad example’ of how to not set up a family. By abolishing capitalism and fully integrating everybody into social production, Cuba laid the foundation for women’s and LGBTQ liberation.”

Cuba is well known for its high quality accessible health care, but the situation has become more dire in recent years. The U.S. redesignated Cuba as a state supporter of terrorism in 2021, allowing the U.S. to expand its sanctions against the island. Since then, access to contraceptives and gender affirming care has diminished.

Despite this and other aggressions, Cuba remains committed to socialism and the struggle against imperialism.

“The road is long but we trust we will not advance alone,” said Verde. “We have the advantage that the Cuban Revolution has founded a very valuable fabric of mass organizations and public institutions that enable us to design new projects and find solutions. We have forged ourselves a country that embodies the spirit of resistance and solidarity.”

The report back can be viewed on Real Name Campaign’s Instagram page:

#NewOrleansLA #Cuba