14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 29 October 2018 — The Proyecto Abriendo Brechas de Colores (Opening Color Gaps Project) was forced to cancel an event that had been promoted to mobilize the LGBTIQ community in favor of equal marriage for fear that it would be considered a provocation and harm “the very project” they are trying to promote.
The call to “Take Your Kisses Out of the Closet” was intended to be a “Kiss-in” on the last Saturdays of October, November and December between 3 and 5 pm at the corner of Prado and the Malecón. The event had already shifted its initial location, which was to be in front of the church at K and 25th, to avoid possible confrontations, but ultimately the organizers gave up on holding the event.
“Our enthusiasm prevented us from foreseeing some circumstances that have materialized along the way in favor and against an action like this,” the organization said in the statement announcing the cancellation.
“We have spent many years of work, a lot of joy and endless efforts for LGBTIQ people to get to where we are, and experience has shown us that there are battles that it is better to lose to achieve a much bigger future,” the text states.
“We want to kiss, hug, celebrate with pride our identities and share with the whole world how happy we are to see that Cuba advances on the path of justice,” stated the announcement of the planned event which, according to the organizers, was received with great success and shared more than a hundred times leading to about 600 confirmed participants. The event was to have been enlivened, they said, with activities such as a session of photographs of the most creative kisses, a touch of body painting, the handing out of educational materials and a flashmob.
“We did not foresee that an initiative motivated by the pride of seeing Cuba advance in the field of human rights, as well as the determination to combat the ideas that religious fundamentalism is spreading against that just and necessary change, could run up against so many closed doors, as it now has,” says the vague cancellation notice.
“When we changed the meeting point to Prado and the Malecón, we declared that we did not want them to use our action as an excuse to unleash the violence which the religious leaders of some denominations have called for in their preaching, since the beginning of the public consultation [over the text of a revised constitution],” the statement said.
Despite the announcement, around the initially agreed upon time a group of people carrying rainbow flags — mostly those with links to Cenesex, which was not the organizer of the event — danced to the song Música Vital, performed by Buena Fe, Yomil and el Dany and Omara Portuondo.
Jimmy Roque, one of the activists who came to Prado and the Malecón this Saturday despite the cancellation, said that what he saw “was fine, it was nice, they had choreography, they shouted ’Viva Cuba’,” but he regretted that “not a word” had been said.
“Let each one do what he can, it’s fine, but for those things you do not ask for permission, you do it and now, we’re going to do it again, to kiss on the Prado you do not have to ask for permission,” he said.
The Kiss-in was posed as a response to the statements of Alida León, president of the Evangelical League of Cuba, and the Reverend Moisés de Prada who intend to collect 500,000 signatures among their faithful against the inclusion in the new constitution of Article 68, which defines marriage as the union “between two persons.” The religious leaders insist that the concept of marriage “between a man and a woman” be maintained in the text, as it is in the current Constitution. Leon threatened to vote No if the suggested new wording of the article is maintained in the bill to reform the Constitution.
Since last June, posters have appeared in defense of the “original design of the family, as God created it” and against equal marriage on the facades of homes in various provinces of the country and public spaces.
The LGBTIQ community and defenders of the island’s sexual rights also disseminate in social networks their proposal to respond to these campaigns. Posters with more inclusive definitions of the concept of family and promotional videos with the message of “an original design of Cuban families” or “all rights for all families,” are some of the initiatives to promote inclusion.
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