Cuba passes ‘historic’ ban on anti-gay workplace discrimination

Over the weekend the country’s Parliament approved changes to its labor code, including protections against workplace discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation

Cuba passes ‘historic’ ban on anti-gay workplace discrimination
23 December 2013

The Caribbean island of Cuba has reportedly implemented workplace discrimination protections for its LGBTI citizens.

Blogger Andres Duque reported on his website Blabbeando Cuban blogger Francisco Rodriguez, also known as Paquito El De Cuba, tweeted in Spanish on Friday: ‘Experienced a countless number of emotions today at the Parliament. We now have the first law that protects gays, in this case in the workplace. The intense parliamentary debate left it almost certain the labor law will also ban discrimination based on gender identity. Mariela Castro proposed banning discrimination based on gender identity and obtained the support of Christian and intellectual parliamentary leaders.’

Mariela Castro, daughter of current president Raul Castro and director of the country’s leading sexual rights organization CENESEX, also reportedly proposed changing the Workplace Code to include discrimination protections based on gender identity and HIV status.

Mariela Castro as the CENESEX director has been spearheading several pro-LGBTI efforts on the island, including workplace discrimination protections, anti-homophobia demonstrations and laws for better treatment of transgender individuals.

President Raul Castro suggested a commission be put in place to review the additional suggestions.

Rodriguez, who wrote via his blog, the discrimination protection clause that was introduced in August read: ‘Every citizen able to work has the right to obtain employment… without discrimination based on skin color, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, nationality or any other distinction harmful to human dignity.’

Rodriguez pointed out the success in the use of the term ‘gender’ as opposed to ‘sex’.

While many people on social networks applauded the change, some politicians and activists remain skeptical of the Cuban officials and pointed out other shortcomings.

Cuban-born Republican U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tweeted to US media outlet The Washington Blade: ‘Don’t fall for this sham. There’s no freedom in Cuba. Mariela Castro is part of despotic regime. Don’t be duped!’

Dissident Orlando Luis Pardo also tweeted pointing out that while gender discrimination protections were implemented, language protecting different political opinion was removed.

CENESEX was unable to respond to GSN’s request for comment.



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