Cuba has become the first Latin American country to celebrate LGBTQ+ history month, with advocates hoping the milestone spurs other nations to mark old wins and prevent new discrimination.
Dozens of events are scheduled throughout May, said founder Raul Perez Monzon, a historian and assistant professor at the University of Havana.
Lectures, panel discussions, workshops and more will “promote inclusion” and “reflect on current issues in our country,” Perez said in an email. “LGBTQ+ History Month is intended to help eliminate many years of discrimination,” he added. “LGBTQ+ people have been afraid to call attention to themselves for fear of consequences, such as verbal abuse, attacks and exclusion.” Organizers say the event marks an important first.
None of the 13 countries that have so far marked the month, from Australia to Canada, is majority Spanish-speaking. Legal persecution and social exclusion were once the norm for many LGBTQ+ people in mainly Roman Catholic Cuba, which has been governed by the Communist Party since 1959.