April 22, 2015 at 12:43 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay Men’s Chorus to perform in Cuba
When You Wish, gay news, Washington Blade

Members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington are scheduled to perform in Cuba in July. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington announced that more than two dozen of its members will travel to Cuba in July for a series of concerts that are designed to raise awareness of LGBT issues on the Communist island.

Roughly 30 members of the Rock Creek Singers and Potomac Fever, which are two of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s smaller ensembles, will perform at five separate locations in and around Havana between July 10-18.

One of the concerts will likely include a Cuban dance company whose members are children of LGBT parents. The National Center for Sexual Education, which is directed by Mariela Castro Espín, the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro who has emerged as the public face of the island’s LGBT rights movement, is expected to greet members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington.

Chase Maggiano, executive director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, noted to the Washington Blade on Wednesday that the trip stems from his organization’s partnership with Youth for Understanding, which organizes cultural and educational trips to Cuba.

“It’s definitely getting back to our roots of using music to raise awareness of LGBT people,” said Maggiano. “Cuba is cracking open the door to LGBT equality and we’re excited to be on the frontlines of that.”

The trip will take place roughly seven months after President Obama announced the U.S. would begin normalizing relations with Cuba.

Members of the Metropolitan Community Church next week will travel to the island to meet with LGBT religious leaders. Juana Mora Cedeño, a Cuban LGBT rights advocate who has previously criticized the Castro government, in February met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other members of the U.S. House of Representatives during their trip to Havana.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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