When Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro, gay activist, and sexologist, visited the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia it garnered quite a bit of local attention. She came to Philadelphia as a guest of the Equality Forum, which held its annual conference here.
Ms. Castro, 50, has emerged as an international leader in the field of gay and transgender rights. As the director of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, she is believed to have influenced the government’s decision to pay for reassignment surgery for transgender people. She is scheduled to receive an award from the Equality Forum on Saturday.
You can read more about the visit here, and a few more things about the opposition she’s been receiving and what her ultimate goals are.
This is her wiki page if you’re interested in learning more about her in detail.
Her group campaigns for effective AIDS prevention as well as recognition and acceptance of LGBT human rights. In 2005 she proposed a project to allow transgender people to receive sex reassignment surgery and change their legal gender. The measure became law in June 2008 which allows sex change surgery for Cubans without charge.
Until I heard she was coming, I had no ideal Cuba was doing this for transgender people. That part of her visit was not mentioned on any of the local news programs I saw.