President Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela led hundreds of Cuban gays in a street dance Saturday to draw attention to gay rights on the island.
Participants formed a carnival-style conga line around two city blocks to beat the of drums, accompanied by costumed stilt-walkers.
Events also included educational panels and presentations for books, magazines and CDs about gay rights and sexual diversity.
Attending the program’s opening, National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon said that Cuba has advanced in recent years in the area of gay rights.
The communist government discriminated against homosexuals - even sending some to work camps - in the early years of the 1959 revolution.
But tolerance of homosexuality on the island has grown in recent years.
“We’re calling on the Cuban people to participate ... so that the revolution can be deeper and include all the needs of the human being,” said Mariela Castro, an outspoken gay rights advocate who directs Cuba’s officially sanctioned Sex Education Center.
Duan Mena, 29, said was great to celebrate his homosexuality in public without fear of censure.