Cuba Holds 3rd “Day against Homophobia” Cultural Summit

Joining the annual “International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia” (IDAHO), which is held on May 17, Cuba is holding its third annual week-long “Day against Homophobia” cultural summit, under the auspices of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX), which is directed by Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of current Cuban leader Raúl Castro.

The final version of the official program, which describes an array of events taking place in Havana from May 11 through 18, 2010, includes educational workshops and panels (one event will bring together pro-LGBT religious organizations), concerts (including an event called “Rockers Against Homophobia”), receptions (a mother’s day themed event is limited to providing a space for transgender people and their moms), as well as photo and art exhibits.

There will also be a large number of LGBT-themed television and film screenings followed by discussions and roundtables. Some of the filmic works include including Germany’s Aimée and Jaguar and Querelle, India’s Fire, Argentina’s XXY, Great Britain’s Kinky Boots, Taiwan’s Beautiful Boxer, and Cuba’s Where Forgetfulness Does Not Live. The United States is also represented by the 2003 TV movie Soldier’s Girl the 2001 documentary De Colores: Lesbian and Gay Latinos, Unconditional Love (2002) with Kathy Bates, and, perhaps most surprisingly, an episode from the 4th season of Grey’s Anatomy titled “The Becoming.”

Gus Van Sandt’s Milk will also be included in the screenings and discussions. [Mariela] Castro has announced that she sent a special invitation to Sean Penn, who plays the role of Harvey Milk in the film, to attend the screening. Castro said, “We’ve sent him a message to Haiti to see if he sees it fit to come on the day we screen his movie to debate it.” Sean Penn has been in Haiti working with relief groups to help people affected by the recent catastrophic earthquake. It is not known whether the actor/activist has responded to the invitation.

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