Steve April 1, 2021

A car drives along Havana’s oceanfront boulevard known as the Malecón on May 12, 2017. Two activists have launched a marriage equality campaign in Cuba. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Two LGBTQ activists in Cuba have launched a petition in support of marriage equality on the island.

Jancel Moreno and Dasiel González, known in the digital world as Pinky Unicorn, launched the petition — “Yes! Equal Marriage in Cuba” — with the goal of raising awareness inside Cuba and elsewhere about the need for marriage equality on the island. All Out, an international LGBTQ rights group, has shared the petition on its website.

“From the Dame la Mano platform, I was promoting the campaign The same love, the same rights’ and Dasiel had launched one entitled ‘Not a kiss less,’” Moreno told the Washington Blade. “We decided to join forces and launch this joint call to reach more people.”

Jancel Moreno in September 2020. (Photo courtesy of Jancel Moreno)

The Cuban government this year plans to amend the country’s Family Code.

The amended Family Code is expected to recognize marriage between two people of the same-sex and various forms of family that currently exist in the country. The updated Family Code will then go before Cuban voters in a referendum for final approval.

Cuban voters in February 2019 overwhelmingly approved the draft of their country’s new constitution. The government removed an amendment that would have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples after it faced pressure from religious groups.

The National Center of Sexual Education, which Mariela Castro, the daughter of former President Raúl Castro, directs, on Wednesday in a series of tweets noted a transgender couple married in Old Havana. The wedding coincided with the Transgender Day of Visibility.

“Taking something as important as human rights to a referendum is an aberration and also discriminatory,” said Moreno, who added LGBTQ Cubans are very nervous and disappointed over the way in which the process of amending the Family Code will be carried out.

“It feels very bad that your rights are being debated,” added González. “That is not legal. That goes against human rights. My rights are mine, nobody can decide if I deserve them or not.”

“The gay community is waiting for what will appear in the Family Code, because it is not yet known,” Moreno told the Blade. “When it comes out, well, we will work more intensely on this task of raising awareness among the Cuban people, who in the end are the ones who have to vote. We cannot rule out that we have a population with a sexist, homophobic, transphobic heritage, with ignorance, plagued by taboos and prejudices. It is a great challenge before us, but we have to meet it.”

González reiterated the project’s primary goal is to achieve visibility.

“We want everyone to see that many of us are interested in making equal marriage a reality here on the island,” he said. “We want to draw their attention in a peaceful way. The Cuban dictatorship pretends to misinterpret any opposition to its doctrines and the measures are usually quite aggressive towards us. This is a clean and empowered way of saying, ‘I count too.’”

Pinky Unicorn (Photo courtesy of Pinky Unicorn)

For Moreno, this collection of signatures seeks to encourage people to show solidarity with the Cuban cause from any country in the world.

“That will help us to advance the fight for the rights of LGBT people,” he said. “Outside of Cuba, the gay activism we do here is not widely known and this initiative is a way of putting pressure on this issue at an international level.”

Moreno stressed the goal is not to send the signatures to Cuba’s National Assembly, since the government has previously mocked similar initiatives.

“We are talking about a dictatorial regime, which does not accept any type of signature collection.”

The petition as of deadline has been signed by 7,532 people. Moreno and González hope it will have 10,000 signatures.

Moreno and González are using the hashtags #MatrimonioIgualitarioCuba (#MarriageEqualityCuba) and #NiUnBesoMenos (#NotAKissLess) to promote the petition on social media.

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