\The article below is compiled from Prensa Latina reports on May 16 and 17.
International Day against Homophobia was observed in Havan on May 16, with the participation of a diverse, largely youthful public.
In the early hours of the morning, the day's activities began at the headquarters of the Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC) and the Pabellon Cuba, in the central district of El Vedado.
Mariela Castro Espín, the director of the National Centre of Sex Education (CENESEX), presided over the inauguration of the day's events with a parade and the opening of the panel on "Sexual diversity in the Cuban family".
On display at the UNEAC headquarters were the most recent issues of Sexology and Society, the journal published by CENESEX and distributed at no cost through the network of libraries and universities of the country, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund.
The journal covers subjects such as comprehensive services to and social inclusion of transsexuals in the island; sexuality as a social determinant of health; and violence against women.
Poet and essayist Miguel Barnet, the UNEAC president, said: "This is a day against ignorant thought that prevents us from advancing, a task on which our artists cannot turn their backs. We must pay attention to the latest and most advanced thought."
The gathering was attended by Cuban national literary award winners Nancy Morejon and Reynaldo Gonzalez, as well as writers Senel Paz, Ana Lydia Vega, Leonardo Padura, and Lina de Feria, among others.
Talks, book sales, expositions, film showings, and concerts were held throughout the day, free and open to the public, ending after midnight.
Ricardo Alarcon, National Assembly president, said the essence of socialism is the inclusion, rather than exclusion, of people whatever their sexual orientation or religion.
"The Cuban drive against homophobia shows maturity and culture achieved by our society", Cuba's top legislator said.