The VI ILGALAC Regional Conference (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean) will bring together international specialists and activists of the LGBTI movement for five days to debate and exchange experiences gained in the fight against all forms of discrimination and exclusion based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
ILGALAC REGIONAL CONFERENCE – CUBA 2014
Despite deeply rooted macho and heteronormative prejudices and the great diversity of cultures and rules that shape Latin America and the Caribbean, it can still be said that countries of the region stand out the world over among those that lead in the promotion of LGBTI equality. Nevertheless, hard work is still needed to eradicate prejudices, stereotypes, discriminatory laws and religious beliefs, supporting structures of social patriarchy among our fellow citizens, the terrible consequences of which are hate crimes, homo/lesbo/transphobic behavior and the criminalization and exclusion of LGBTI persons.
As the host country of the VI Regional ILGALAC Conference, Cuba is not exempt from the problems faced by LGBTI communities of the region, notwithstanding the humanistic nature of the Cuban Revolution,which from the beginning placed the human being at the center of its teleological aims. While the Cuban LGBTI movement cannot rely on the level of organization of other international movements, the fight against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the country can been seen to have more repercussions and achievements recently. One Cuban institution that has been in the lead in this fight is the Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (CENESEX), a branch institution of the Ministerio de Salud Pública (Ministry of Public Health) of Cuba.
In this connection, Mariela Castro Espín, Director of CENESEX, has said: “I think that the country is making progress, through the political will of the Party enunciated at its 2012 Conference, where it approved the objective directed at confronting all forms of discrimination, explicitly including sexual orientation, with the recommendation to include gender identity. The fact that we have greater support, including strategies of the Central Committee in the area of information, that would envisage the participation of the printed media so that people could publicly debate the issue, indicates that something is changing.”
Founded in 1978, ILGA is the only community-based non-governmental organization focused on equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people and the elimination of any form of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. On December 10, 2013, on the occasion of the International Day for Human Rights, the Regional Office of ILGALAC was opened in the Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, making the Latin American and the Caribbean region the second in the worldwith its own headquarters, after Europe.
In reference to this development, Pedro Paradiso Sottile, Gay Regional Secretary of ILGALAC, stated: “In Latin America and the Caribbean we are starting a new institutional era, an important bold adventure and at the same time a great opportunity to underwrite our work and commitment in the work for equality and the fight against any and all discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and their manifestations. We feel pride at the road we have taken in our region by all member organizations and also for the selection of Argentina as the site of our regional office, a country which has been in the lead on legislation and public policies that are inclusive for LGBTI citizens on a global scale, and in supporting this regional initiative.”
- Promote debate among activists, leaders, important people and scientists in the area of the fight against all forms of discrimination and for civil and human rights of LGBTI people.
- Provide for meetings between people from LGBTI groups on their needs and demands, giving impetus to community connections that are expressed through human emancipation and uplift.
- Contribute to updating and perfecting national and international strategies on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with impacts on LGBTI persons.
- Technical document with a description of the current situation for the rights of LGBTI persons in the region as well as concrete proposals for honing national strategies in this effort.
- Strengthening of community ties between groups of LGBTI persons as well as organizations and institutions that represent the different countries of the region.
Activists, experts and representative leaders of the LGBTI movement
- The VI Regional ILGALAC Conference will be five days in length with a program of group conferences and debates whose central issues will be:
- Sexual health
- Holistic education on sexuality
- Sexual and reproductive rights
- Public policy on sexual education, sexual health and sexual rights
- National, territorial and local strategies for social integration of LGBTI persons.
The event will meet in plenary session and in other modalities, in the Cities of Havana and Varadero. All information produced in the event will be documented with support of a reporting commission, with editorial and audiovisual production. The official language is Spanish, though Spanish-English and English-Spanish translation services are guaranteed if needed.
*Translated by Mike Roskey.