For years Cuba has been at the forefront of fighting homophobia and transphobia, building a more inclusive society and advancing the rights of the LGBTQ2S+ community. This last year the Cuban people have had an important topic of discussion and debate during the process of updating and approving the new Families Code, which expands on the rights of the LGBTQ2S+ community by expanding the definition of families. Alongside rights for all members of Cuban society, the Families Code includes protecting the rights of same-sex parents to construct a family, whether that is through marriage, adoption, or assisted reproduction.
LGBTQ2S+ Rights Are Human Rights
For Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), discussing Cuba’s leading role in progressing LGBTQ2S+ rights has been essential to VCSC’s work since its founding. This Pride season was VCSC’s 17th year participating in Vancouver Pride events! The work of CENESEX, the Cuban National Center for Sex Education, is always front and center at VCSC Pride info tables, including their campaign posters for an inclusive society and beautiful photos from Cuba’s events for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. This year VCSC info tables also featured articles and information about Cuba’s Families Code!
Pride season in Vancouver kicked off on June 25 with the East Side Pride Festival, where VCSC had an information table, as reported in the last issue of Fire This Time. Cuba solidarity activists had a great afternoon talking to festival goers interested in learning more about Cuba!
On July 30, the annual Dyke March hit the streets of East Vancouver with bright homemade signs and banners. In the mix were Cuba solidarity activists holding a banner proclaiming, “Cuba Says: Sexual Diversity is not Dangerous, Homophobia and Transphobia are!” The march ended on Commercial Drive’s Grandview Park, where VCSC joined the tabling fair and gave out VCSC newsletters with an article on Cuba’s Families Code.
The next day, the July 31 Vancouver Pride Parade took over downtown with an explosion of colour, sounds and exuberant crowds excited to be back after two years without a Pride Parade due to the pandemic. VCSC joined marching in the parade, complete with a decorated vehicle, Pride, Trans and Cuban flags, and banners letting the crowds know that “Cuba Says LGBTQ2S+ Rights are Human Rights!”
VCSC organizers and supporters danced through the streets in matching neon pink and white t-shirts printed with the demand “Lift the Blockade on Cuba!” and chants of “Viva Cuba, Viva Pride!” were met with cheers and enthusiasm from the massive crowds along the parade route. After the parade, VCSC was at the Sunset Beach post-parade festival with a busy information table with a constant stream of people interested in learning more about Cuba. Activists spent the afternoon distributing VCSC newsletters with an article about the Families Code, collecting signatures against the U.S. blockade, and talking to festivalgoers about what Cuba is doing to advance LGBTQ2S+ rights!
New West Pride
VCSC was not only at Vancouver Pride events but also joined New Westminster for their Pride festival on August 13. The city’s Columbia Street was a sea of festivities with music and vendors, and many people stopped by the Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba table to talk with organizers and pick up information.
To learn more about how Cuba is advancing LGBTQ2S+ rights and about the Families Code, read the latest VCSC newsletter at
1 Cent for Cuba Campaign
Alongside a busy summer of Pride festivities, VCSC has also been participating in online events and actions in defence of Cuba. VCSC is supporting the “1 Cent for Cuba Campaign,” which kicked off with an online campaign launch event on July 24. This initiative from Rock Around the Blockade (Britain), Cuba Support Group Ireland and Cubanismo (Belgium) challenges British and European banks which have been holding or rejecting transactions related to Cuba. This is an extraterritorial application of the criminal U.S. blockade against Cuba and a violation of international, U.K. and European law. More about the campaign is at www.1c4cuba.eu.
Monthly Virtual Picket
VCSC has also been hosting and participating in the monthly virtual picket actions demanding an end to the cruel U.S. blockade against Cuba, organized through the Canadian Network on Cuba. The July 17th action had speakers from international Cuba solidarity groups, including the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society and Cuba Support Group Ireland, and Cuba solidarity groups across Canada shared greetings. The following action on August 17 was hosted by the Canadian Network on Cuba and featured Professor Helen Yaffe, lecturer at the University of Glasgow, author of several books on Cuba and co-producer of the documentary “Cuba’s Life Task: Combating Climate Change.” The event also featured David Comissiong, lawyer, author and the Barbados Ambassador to CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States.
Fundraising for Matanzas, Cuba
Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba also participated in the fundraising campaign to help Cuba after the devastating fires at the Matanzas oil tanks. Cuba supporters in the Vancouver area contributed to the fundraising and relief campaign organized by the Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto Juan Gualberto Gómez. Learn more about this important campaign at http://cubanosjgg.blogspot.com
There are many ways to support and defend Cuba and to learn about how Cuba is an example for a better world! To find out about upcoming events and actions in Vancouver and beyond, visit www.vancubasolidarity.com or follow Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba on Facebook @vancubasolidarity and Twitter and Instagram @VanCuba_VCSC
Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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