On Friday, June 17 the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution expressing “grave concern at the violence and discrimination experienced by people because of their sexual orientation…” As part of the resolution, the Council called for a global study of discrimination against LGBT communities around the world.
The resolution passed narrowly: twenty-three members voted in favor of the resolution, while nineteen voted against it, and three abstained. Among the nations that supported the measure was Cuba. In the days following the resolution, Cuban bloggers and Twitter users celebrated this significant victory for the island’s LGBT communities.
Diversidad CENESEX [es], the official blog of the Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (National Center for Sexual Education, CENESEX), wrote:
El voto favorable de Cuba es muestra de la voluntad política de nuestro Partido y Estado en eliminar todas las formas de discriminación que lamentablemente aún persisten en la sociedad cubana.
While state-supported LGBT rights advocates like CENESEX and Hombres para la Diversidad (HxD) offered vociferous support for the measure for several months, independent (non-state) groups have participated in the effort as well: La isla y la espina [es] reported on a gay rights parade held in May, in the eastern city of Santiago, which was organized to support the vote. The blog's author wrote:
No estoy viendo una película. Son las calles de mi ciudad. Jornada cubana contra la homofobia.
Paquito el de Cuba [es], one of the most vocal LGBT advocates in Cuba’s blogging community, wrote of the great achievement that the measure represented. Yet he also noted that in spite of popular support for the measure, state press organizations only covered the vote online–print publications did not cover the event at all.
…los diarios impresos nacionales…no tuvieron a su disposición ningún despacho de esa agencia de prensa que diera cuenta del suceso.
¿Porqué perdimos esta oportunidad de educar a la población sobre cuál es laposición del Partido, el Estado y el gobierno de Cuba en relación con talestemas? […] ¿Qué impidió adecuar la información que brindaron los sitios digitales cubanos a lasversiones impresas de los diarios?
…national print newspapers…did not receive a single dispatch from the press agency that would have told them what had happened.
Why did we lose this opportunity to educate the population about the position of the Party, the State, and the Cuban government regarding these issues? […] What kept the print news organizations from obtaining the information that was published on Cuban digital news sites?
While the vote proves the Cuban government's desire to support progressive policy on an international scale, it appears that on the island, society and the state may have much work to do before these issues are fully recognized by the public.
* Thumbnail picture by Flickr user Marlith. Republished under CC Licence BY-2.0.