TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – June 26, 2014) – The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) has presented Mariela Castro Espin of Cuba with the OFL Outstanding Workers’ Rights Advances Award for 2014. Ms. Castro Espin was presented the award by Sid Ryan, President of the OFL, at a reception hosted by the Canadian Labour Congress at Pride Labour House on June 26, 2014.Mariela Castro Espin is a Member of the Cuban Parliament and Director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX).
CENESEX campaigns for effective AIDS prevention as well as recognition and acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestitism, transsexuality and human rights.
In 2005, Ms. Castro Espin proposed a project to allow transgendered Cubans to receive sex reassignment surgery and change their legal gender. The measure became law in June 2008 and sex reassignment surgery is now available to Cubans without charge.
She is president of the Cuban Multidisciplinary Centre for the Study of Sexuality, president of the National Commission for Treatment of Disturbances of Gender Identity, member of the Direct Action Group for Preventing, Confronting, and Combating AIDS, and an executive member of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS).
Because of Ms. Mariela’s commitment to LGBTQ rights, in 2013 amendments to the Workplace Code of Cuba including discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV status.
“Sister Castro Espin’s tireless work has secured protections for LGBTQ workers in every sector of Cuba’s workforce,” said Sid Ryan. “The Ontario Federation of Labour and our 52 affiliated unions recognize this historic achievement and celebrate it as an inspiration for unions across the Americas.”
Ms. Castro Espin is the daughter of current Cuban president Raúl Castro and feminist and revolutionary Vilma Espín, and is the niece of former president Fidel Castro.