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Mariela Castro Votes Against Cuban Government, Voices Support For Transgender Rights

 

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Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuba’s president Raul Castro and niece of Fidel Castro, has made the first recorded vote against the government in a show of support for LGBT people, reports NPR.

Castro was behind the sixth International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Conference held in Cuba earlier this year.

The proposed update to Cuba's expansive labor code included explicit protections based on sexual orientation. However, Castro said that because it didn't also specify protections for people based on their gender identity and HIV status, it was inconsistent with her beliefs.

It is thought to be the first time that a government bill has been voted against.

However, according to LGBTI News, Baruch College Latin American studies professor Ted Henken said that Castro’s vote “is more a sign of what Mariela can get away with than a sign of what your everyday parliamentarian can get away with.”


Leader of Russian Vigilante Group That Tortured Gays Sentenced To Five Years In Penal Colony: VIDEO

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Maxim Sergeyevich Martsinkevich, the leader of the virulently homophobic Russian vigilante group Occupy Pedophilia has been sentenced to five years in a penal colony, reports LGBTQ Nation.

Martsinkevich rose to international attention in 2013 when Occupy Pedophilia began posting videos documenting a campaign of violent attacks on gay men who had been lured to meetings using the social network VK.com.

In many of the videos, Martsinkevich is seen forcibly shaving victims’ heads, pouring urine on victims and forcing them to perform sex acts with objects.

The group claimed that the men they attacked were seeking to have sex with boys.

Amid international outrage, the prosecutor’s office in what was then Sevastopol, Ukraine sought to arrest Martsinkevich for crimes against a young male adult citizen of Ukraine. Martsinkevich fled to Cuba last December but was arrested and extradited for breaking Cuban immigration law in January.

Nine other members of the group are currently awaiting trial for allegedly “committing crimes under several articles of the Criminal Code,” including organization of an extremist community and membership in an extremist community, beatings and other acts of violence, the threat of murder and causing grievous bodily harm, intentional infliction of moderate bodily harm, torture and robbery.”

Martsinkevich was convicted of inciting and fomenting cases of extremism by posting videos on VK.com that contained racial slurs and extremist opinions on Russia’s state of the union. However, videos containing anti-gay statements and homophobic abuse were not included in the case.

Watch a disturbing BBC report on Occupy Pedophilia, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Cuba to Host International LGBT Conference Despite Criticism Over Human Rights Violations

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Next week Cuba will host the sixth International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Latin America and the Caribbean (ILGALAC) Regional Conference.

This will be the Communist country’s first time to host an international LGBT conference, a realization that isn’t sitting well with some who feel the conference shouldn’t take place in a country with such a lengthy record of human rights violations.

The Washington Blade reports:

CastroMariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro who is the director of Cuba’s National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX,) is president of the local committee that organized the ILGALAC conference.

Mariela Castro did not return the Washington Blade’s request for comment. CENESEX’s website prominently features information about the ILGALAC conference that includes a preliminary agenda.

“As the host country for the sixth ILGALAC Regional Conference, Cuba is not exempt from the problems of the region’s LGBTI communities,” states the organization. “The humanistic nature of the Cuban Revolution has focused on the human being in his teleological purposes since its beginning. Although the Cuban LGBTI movement does not have the organization of other international movements, the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the country is now evident with more impact and achievements.”

Late last year, the Cuban parliament amended the country’s labor law to ban anti-gay employment discrimination. Many LGBT advocates also credit Cuba’s condom distribution campaign and sexual education cirriculum with producing one of the world’s lowest HIV rates.

Still, other argue Cuba’s less-than-stellar human rights record cannot be ignored

“Hosting a conference on LGBT rights is just another farcical attempt by the Cuban regime to pretend they care about anyone’s rights,” U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) told the Blade in a statement. “The sad reality is that the Cuban people are harassed, beaten and bullied for having a point of view that differs from the regime’s. This desperate move to seem tolerant does not even come close to obscuring the repressive reality on the island.

Ignacio Estrada Cepera, founder of the Cuban League Against AIDS, noted that the Cuban government forcibly quarantined people with HIV/AIDS in state-run sanitaria until 1993. Other LGBT activists in the country point to the forced labor camps to which the government sent more than 25,000 gay men and others deemed unfit for military service during the 1960s. 


Leader of Russian Vigilante Group That Tortures Gay Teens Arrested in Cuba: VIDEO

MartsinkevichMaxim Martsinkevich, the leader of the homophobic vigilante group "Occupy Paedophilia" that has lured and tortured a number of gay teens in Russia before posting its exploits to social media, has been on the lam for several months now.

Martsinkevich most recently turned up in Cuba, and now RIA Novosti reports that he has been arrested on an international warrant:

More widely known under his nickname of Tesak, or machete, Martsinkevich was arrested in absentia by a Russian court last month on extremism charges.

Martsinkevich said during a January 8 interview that the criminal charges against him were orchestrated by Russia’s “pedo-lobby,” and that he did not intend to return to Russia, according to Russian tabloid Life News that has close links to the security services...

In a January 9 post on his website, Martsinkevich wrote that he had flown to Cuba from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, via the German city of Frankfurt...

The violent and dangerous exploits of Martsinkevich and "Occupy Pedophilia" and similar vigilante groups finally hit the mainstream media yesterday in a new must-watch CNN segment produced before Martsinkevich's arrest.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Cuba Implements Protections For Workers Based On Orientation

Cuban Parliament

The Cuban parliament has just passed an historic change to the island's labor codes that put them above most states here in the U.S. They have expanded the codes with language that explicitly protects gays and lesbians and bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and received support from Christian and intellectual parliamentary leaders.

However, for two steps forward there's one step back. The original draft of the changes included employment protections for political opinion but were removed in subsequent revisions. Dissidents and opponents of the Cuban government have latched on to the revision, making sure that it's known that while this is a step forward, it is also possibly a diversionary tactic to gloss over the removal of protections for political dissent.


Diana Nyad Talks to CNN's AC360 About Her Triumphant Cuba to Florida Swim: VIDEO

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As Towleroad reported yesterday, out lesbian Diana Nyad completed an historic, epic swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West without the aid of a shark cage. An exhausted Nyad spoke with Sanjay Gupta following her swim about what brought her to it, and what got her through it.

"Push Cuba back, and push Florida toward you."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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