To begin with, we need to see the new Cuban families code within the history and the reality of popular democracy and popular mass institutions in Cuba. Since the beginning of the revolution, Cuba has always encouraged the Cuban people to engage in the political process and to mass mobilize for a better society. This families code is another example that shows us firmly how Cuba is a revolution in motion.
And in this specific case, this motion started in 2019 when 86% of the Cuban population approved the new constitution. This new constitution stands for human rights and the protection of the Cuban people. This families code is the continuity of the constitution and expands the protection of all Cuban families.
The new code is another step in the revolutionary process of Cuba. It further consolidates the human rights that the Cuban people and families have achieved since the revolution. This new families code does not limit the existing code, but it expands it. It does not restrict the rights of anyone but again expands and extends them. This is a very important point to reiterate.
LGBTQ2+ and Families Code
LGBTQ2+ people in Cuba are protected from discrimination under the country's current constitution. Trans people in Cuba have had access to free, gender-affirming surgery and healthcare since 2008. Additionally, in Cuba, trans people can correct their legal names and gender on official documents without surgery since 2013. Cuba also has a national network of trans people and supporters called TransCuba, formed to provide support and family counselling and build social awareness about trans issues across the country. This is more than we can say about the United States or Canada, where many trans people are constantly under attack, their rights threatened, and access to gender-affirming care is difficult, very expensive, and even inexistent in parts of the U.S. and Canada.
The new families code expands on the rights of the LGBTQ2+ community and families by expanding the definition of family. It protects the rights of same-sex parents to construct a family, whether that is through marriage, adoption, or assisted reproduction.
Mass popular consultation
This new code was not only written by lawyers or legislators. It was the result of the research and work of many years by sociologists, psychologists, doctors, statisticians, social workers, workers, and farmers. It was a collaborative process by a multidisciplinary team working on the research and drafting of the code. All of this resulted in giving an image of the reality of Cuban families and the new issues and problems facing them.
The mass majority of the Cuban people are deeply involved in their popular democratic practices and are responding positively to exercising their rights to advance and build a socialist society for all. The fact that 6.4 million people participated in 79,000 meetings to discuss this new families code indicates the broad participation of people in making the decision about their destiny and the progress of society as a whole.
This is not something new for Cuba. The Cuban Socialist Revolution, from the beginning, was not only a popular revolution supported by the Cuban people, but it also brought with it democracy from below. A democracy that is for working and oppressed people. A democracy that is based on the interest of the Cuban people. A democracy that is based on the human rights of all Cubans. No wonder the Cuban Revolution, Cuban democracy, and the Cuban government, with its leadership have always enjoyed the support of the overwhelming majority of the Cuban people.
This new families code is again the best proof showing how dynamic and alive is Cuba’s socialist project and how close the relationship is between the people and the leadership of the revolution, including the government, state, and the popular mass revolutionary institutions such as the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), the University Student Federation (FEU) and others.
It is very important to understand the importance of the work of CENESEX in advancing LGBTQ2+ rights in Cuba. CENESEX organizes the Annual National Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Basically, the whole event is days of action that include cultural and educational events, what we call here a pride parade, which they call in Cuba a conga against homophobia and transphobia. It's a beautiful march full of music, full of colours, full of dancing, really a day full of Cuban diversity taking over the beautiful streets of Havana. The new families code builds on all this colourful dynamism of Cuban society to further expands the rights of all Cuban people and families.
The new families code is a great victory for the Cuban revolution. It not only advances the human rights of the Cuban people but also advances Cuba's socialist path, to advance its revolution to the higher stage of human and social development. It is good to finish with a quote published by the Associated Press in an article about the public mass consultation about the new families code written in February 2022. Heidi Sanchez, a nursing assistant, interviewed in the article, said she likes the changes in the new code, “because it includes everyone in the world: children, the elderly, people of the same sex. […] We are all human beings and Cubans. I don’t see anything abnormal.”
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