Despite claims that a big Pride march was going to be held in Havana on Sunday, it was a more modest event three days prior that might have a more lasting impact: On Thursday, LGBT Cubans presented their demands to the National Assembly of People’s Power and staged a kiss-in at Ramón Fonst sports arena.
Their petition calls for an end to workplace discrimination and the de facto criminalization of homosexuality, as well as an investigation into the Military Units to Aid Production—forced-labor camps where gay dissidents were “repaired” beginning in the 1960s writes El Nuevo Herald.
The Kiss-In for Diversity and Equality, which sources say drew about 50 participants, was organized by Project Rainbow, an independent LGBT group. Sunday’s march was also sponsored by non-government groups like the Cuban League Against AIDS, the Open Door Foundation and LGBT Observatory, which are all separate from First Daughter Mariela Castro’s National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX). Castro has said in the past that Pride marches are unnecessary. and could be construed as protests. Last year marked the first legally recognized gay Pride event in Havana, a sparsely attended affair that saw several participants detained by police.
Project Rainbow’s founders issued a statement before Thursday’s smoochapalooza, stating that, “with this public and affectionate action we invite you to make the LGBT community in Cuba visible. We are part of the nation.”