Mariela Castro To Meet San Francisco LGBT Leaders

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A Conversation With Mariela Castro: Same-Sex Marriage, HIV/AIDS, and LGBT Rights in Cuba

Mariela Castro with RWF Executive Director Jeff Cotter meet in Havana, Cuba at CENESEX 3/30/12

This meeting is an opportunity for our community to support the LGBT human rights movement in Cuba.

LGBT human rights activist, Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of current President Raul Castro and the niece of former President Fidel Castro, will meet with activists, leaders and other members of the San Francisco LGBT community at the San Francisco LGBT Center, 1800 Market St., on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Ms. Castro will be interviewed on stage by Emmy award–winning host and a producer for CBS 5 TV’s Eye on The Bay, Liam Mayclem, with an opportunity for audience questions and answers.

"We met with Mariela Castro when we were in Havana a few weeks ago – she was funny, interesting and really engaging. She’s the number one champion of LGBT rights in Cuba, using her prominent position in Cuban society to educate the public. This meeting is an opportunity for our community to support the LGBT human rights movement in Cuba." – Jeff Cotter, Rainbow World Fund Executive Director

"This meeting is about friendship and building bridges. Dialogue is the foundation for positive change. I look forward to learning more about LGBT life in Cuba and hearing Mariela’s unique perspective on change in Cuba." – San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner

"The Center is a welcoming place for our diverse LGBT community, connecting people and opportunities to build a stronger community and more equitable world. This evening represents a unique opportunity to connect LGBT people and our allies from San Francisco to Cuba, in support of human rights for all." – Rebecca Rolfe, LGBT Center Executive Director

Mariela Castro Espín, is the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) in Havana. Her group campaigns for effective AIDS prevention as well as recognition and acceptance of homosexual, bisexual, transvestite, and transgender human rights. In 2005 she proposed a project to allow transgendered 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. She is married and has three children.

SF Supervisor Scott Wiener and Rainbow World Fund Executive Director Jeff Cotter will make remarks.

This is a free event is open to the public and is co–sponsored by the SF LGBT Center, Rainbow World Fund (RWF), and Supervisor Scott Wiener.

Time: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 from 6 p.m to 7:30 p.m.
Location: The San Francisco LGBT Center, 1800 Market Street, Rainbow Room

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Rainbow World Fund (RWF) is an all-volunteer international humanitarian service agency based in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and friends community. RWFs mission is to promote LGBT philanthropy in the area of global humanitarian relief. Learn more about RWF at In March 2012, thirteen RWF volunteers returned from Cuba. The trip was sponsored by the Cuban Council of Churches and included meeting with leaders of the LGBT community, church leadership, visiting medical clinics, programs that serve the elderly, and schools. The focus of the Cuba trip was educational to learned from Cuban’s about the realities of their country and to build bridges with the Cuban LGBT community and churches.

The Center is a welcoming place for our diverse LGBT community and its supporters to find innovative services and fabulous cultural programs that lead to a stronger, healthier community and a more equitable world. Its safety net programs serve the most vulnerable members of our community and provide a welcoming gathering place for all LGBT and allied people. Each month, the Center serves over 9,000 visitors and hosts more than 200 events. The Center is located at 1800 Market Street in San Francisco. Learn more about the Center at, or call us at (415) 865–5555.

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Jeff Cotter