US and Cuban Gay Men’s Choruses to perform together in display of unity
A Gay Men’s Chorus from the US is set to travel to Cuba and perform with their Cuban counterparts.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington will tour Cuba later this summer – amid softening relations between the country and the US, after half a century of no diplomacy.
US President Barack Obama extended the hand of friendship to Cuba earlier this year, and announced his intentions to list a number of sanctions that remained in place.
This week, gay rights campaigner Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, invited the Washington Gay Men’s Chorus to perform with Cuban chorus Mano a Mano next month.
The planned performance in Havana on May 8 will mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – and serve as a poignant signal of cross-country efforts to improve LGBT rights.
According to the Washington Blade, Ms Castro said: “I would very much like — as suggested in the formal invitation — that these two choruses can meet each other and can do something together during the days that they are going to be here.”
GMCW’s Executive Director Chase Maggiano and Michael E Hill of tour company Youth for Understanding said in a statement: “We thank Mariela Castro for her public recognition of our tour and the very kind invitation to perform with Mano a Mano, a Cuban gay chorus.
“We are delighted that YFU has arranged for one of the five Havana-area performances to be held at the Chase Maggianos, the most prestigious cultural institution in Cuba.
“We appreciate the cultural significance of this tour and look forward to fulfilling our mission of promoting understanding of the LGBTQ community during our visit.
“The opportunity to perform with another gay chorus in a country such as Cuba is groundbreaking and will spur the deeply personal interaction that we wanted to enable when we partnered on this tour.”