08 MAY 2017: Dr. Mariela Castro Espín will receive the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association’s prestigious Chair Award for 2017. it was announced Friday at IGLTA’s 34th Annual Global Convention in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The award recipient is selected by the head of the IGLTA board of directors and presented to an individual or business that has made the world a more welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travellers. Board chair Juan Julia, founder and president of Barcelona-based Axel Hotels, will make the presentation to Castro during an LGBTQ event held over May 12-13 in Cuba.

“It is a great honor receiving this award,” Castro said. “The Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual (CENESEX) institution that I direct grants special importance to education as a primary element to ensure our rights. IGLTA, similarly, has contributed to this education process through the impact of tourism on an international level.”

In addition to serving as director of CENESEX, she is also an active member of the World Association of Transgender Health Professionals (WPATH), the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), an adviser to the IDAHOT Committee (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia), and president of the National Commission for the Integral Care of Transgender Persons of the Ministry of Public Health of the Republic of Cuba.

“Dr. Mariela Castro Espín is not only a very well-known activist for LGBTQ rights in Cuba but she has also effectively promoted HIV/AIDS prevention,” Julia said.

“She has developed important events for the protection and respect of sexual minorities on the island and is a key figure in the policy development at CENESEX to protect and fully incorporate transgender people into society.”

The Chair Award is part of this year’s IGLTA Honors, presented with support from Visit Philadelphia. 



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