Castro's daughter calls for 'conga' dance against homophobia

Castro's daughter calls for 'conga' dance against homophobia

HAVANA - Agence France-Presse
Castros daughter calls for conga dance against homophobia

Mariela Castro, sexologist, National Assembly member and daughter of Cuba's President Raul Castro, was given the international Ally for LGBT Equality Award from the Equality Forum. REUTERS photo

Cuban leader Raul Castro's daughter, a sexologist and supporter of gay rights, has urged Cubans to join a traditional "conga" dance against homophobia taking place in Havana on May 11.

"We are the heirs of a strongly patriarchal Spanish culture, very homophobic and very discriminating," said Mariela Castro, whose father succeeded her uncle and revolutionary leader Fidel Castro as the island's president in 2006.

"It's time these prejudices were eliminated," she said in comments published in state newspaper Granma.

The dance, to the beat of drums and trumpets, is part of a national "day against homophobia" - actually 10 days worth of events that started May 8 and runs through May 18.

Traditionally stigmatized in Cuba, homosexuality was fiercely repressed for many years by the regime, which interned gays in work camps in the 1960s and ostracized them in the 1970s under Fidel's rule.