Special event to mark World Day Against Homophobia



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SHOTLIST

1. Zoom out from rainbow flag to people arriving for event
2. Mid of woman distributing condoms
3. Leaflets on table
4. Close-up of condoms
5. Wide of activists at table
6. Close of Mariela Castro, Director of Cuba’s Centre for Sexual Education, hugging activists
7. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Mariela Castro, Director of Cuba’s Centre for Sexual Education:
“We don’t need to call for demonstrations because that is not the mechanism that works in our country. What works is to use programmes that already exist, we use our structures in a democratic way, and that is exactly what we’re doing. That is why we call upon this platform and we will continue to do so during the entire year, to create solutions to disagreements about sexuality and sexual orientation.”
8. Crowd clapping
9. Wide of Castro sitting in audience with Ricardo Alarcon, President of Cuban National Assembly
10. Pull out from sign reading (Spanish) “Get Tested” to people waiting for blood tests
11. Mid shot of Alarcon talking to woman
12. SOUNDBITE: (Spanish) Ricardo Alarcon, President of Cuban National Assembly
“There’s been progress (with gay rights), but we need to continue to advance. I think that there needs to be a coherent and appropriate way to move forward, especially because these topics have been taboo for so long.”
13. Wide of conference table and audience
14. Wide of event

STORYLINE:

Cuba’s gay community celebrated unprecedented openness, and high-ranking political alliances, with a government-backed campaign against homophobia on Saturday.

The meeting at a convention centre in Havana’s Vedado district may have been the largest gathering of openly gay activists ever on the communist-run island.

President Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela, director of Cuba’s Centre for Sexual Education, who has promoted the rights of sexual minorities, presided.

Mariela Castro joined government leaders and hundreds of activists at the one-day conference for the International Day Against Homophobia that featured shows, lectures, panel discussions and book presentations.


A station also offered blood-tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

Cuban state television gave prime-time play on Friday to the US film ”Brokeback Mountain,” which tells the story of two cowboys who conceal their homosexual affair.

Prejudice against homosexuals remains deeply rooted in Cuban society, but the government has steadily moved away from the Puritanism of the 1960s and 1970s, when homosexuals hid their sexuality for fear of being ridiculed, fired from work or even imprisoned.

Now Cuba’s parliament is studying proposals to legalise same-sex unions and give gay couples the benefits that people in traditional marriages enjoy.

Parliament head Ricardo Alarcon said the government needs to do more to promote gay rights, but said many Cubans still need to be convinced.

“There’s been progress (with gay rights), but we need to continue to advance. I think that there needs to be a coherent and appropriate way to move forward, especially because these topics have been taboo for so long,” he told reporters.

Some at the conference spoke of streaming out into the streets for a spontaneous gay-pride parade, but others urged caution.

Mariela Castro said gay activists should opt for more subtle ways to chip away at deep-seated homophobic attitudes.

“We don’t need to call for demonstrations because that is not the mechanism that works in our country. What works is to use programmes that already exist, we use our structures in a democratic way, and that is exactly what we’re doing,” she said.

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