VII Jornada Cubana contra la Homofobia (IDAHO)

From May 5 to May 24, Cuba will celebrate the 7th Jornada Cubana contra la Homofobia in Havana, Granma and other locations in Cuba. The two-week event included symposiums, lectures, films, art exhibits and a theatrical festival, headlined by Cuban superstar, singer Haila Mompié.

Leading this unique revolution on the behalf of the LGBT community is activist Mariela Castro Espín, the 48-year-old daughter of Cuba’s President, Raúl Castro, and niece of Fidel Castro. Heterosexual and a married mother of three, Castro Espín is going into her tenth year as director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) in Havana. These series of events represent Cuba’s participation in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which takes place on May 17. [Note that some events have been brought forward this year to coincide with Cuba hosting ILGALAC (see events outside of Havana)].

Events not to miss include the kick-off conga (May 10, 10.30 am) where Cubans of all types and stripes shimmy and shake up Calle 23 from the Malecón to Pabellón Cuba, HQ of the annual anti-homophobia celebration.

The closing gala (8.30pm on May 10 in Teatro Karl Marx) is nothing short of fabulous—Priscilla Queen of the Desert meets Tropicana, performed to a packed theater of LGBTI Cubans and their friends (not to mention members of the establishment—Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel was in attendance last year in 2013).

Background: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
May 17, or the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT)—as it is widely recognized—is an essential feature in the international LGBT rights calendar. In the 9th edition, in 2013, commemorations took place in almost 120 countries, in all world regions.

The day aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights work worldwide. The date of May 17 was chosen to commemorate the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990. The day was conceived in 2004. A year-long campaign culminated in the first International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, 2005.


  • 2014 Serie Nacional de Béisbol Play-offs

    2014 Serie Nacional de Béisbol Play-offs  LH 5

    Simplicity is the key word for baseball in Cuba, with no luxury boxes, huge electronic scoreboards or celebrity baseball players. As in many things in Cuba, there is no shortage of passion and this se …

    Cubadisco: Cuba’s premier music awards show

    Cubadisco: Cuba’s premier music awards show  LH 5

    Nothing to do with discotheques, the International Cubadisco Fair begun in 1997 as a way to bring to national and international attention what the Cuban recording industry has been up to. It includes …

    Marabana—The 2012 Havana Marathon

    Marabana—The 2012 Havana Marathon  LH 5

    Marabana is Havana’s annual marathon. Typically an exercise for me in making resolutions to get fit and participate in the race the next year, or a reminder that last’s year’s resolution is now forfei …

    64th Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament

    64th Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament  LH 5

    Like all the best fishing stories, mine began in a bar. One evening in Havana, I was introduced to a man called Stewart, an affable commercial manager in a London building firm. It turned out he was p …

    1st Havana World Music Festival

    1st Havana World Music Festival  LH 5

    Organized by a nonprofit group led by young Cuban singer and composer Eme Alfonso, the 1st Havana World Music Festival (February 7-8, 2014) sought to open a window from Cuba onto the world and from th …

    The Marabana – Run Charlie run

    The Marabana – Run Charlie run  LH 5

    Race experience (Nov 2010) It is dark outside, 5.30am. Wishful thinking that I could simply sleep in and let the Havana marathon wait another year. I have, after all, been signed in various times over …

    Harley Davidson Varadero Rally, 2012

    Harley Davidson Varadero Rally, 2012  LH 5

    Part of Cuba’s attraction undeniably is its pre-1960s vintage from the classic American cars through Tropicana and Buena Vista Social Club to simply the feel and look of the place. That it also harbor …

    The Rotilla Festival in Jibacoa

    The Rotilla Festival in Jibacoa  LH 5

    Founded in 1998, the Rotilla Festival started as a rave between friends and grew over the years to become Cuba’s largest annual concert (attracting over 20,000 people in 2010). While it started out li …

    Cine Pobre: Cuba’s alternative film festival

    Cine Pobre: Cuba’s alternative film festival  LH 5

    Cine Pobre is authentic, charming and off-the-beaten track even in Cuba. Traditionally held in Gibrara, a small fishing village which sleeps the rest of the year away, for a week in April, this become …

    The Lucas Music Video Awards

    The Lucas Music Video Awards  LH 5

    Lucas, the Cuban TV show dedicated entirely to national music videos, will have been on the air for 16 years in 2013. Passionately championed by some and flatly rejected by others, almost no one remai …

    1 of 8 pages »