These remarks were given at a webinar entitled, “U.S. Women need what Cuban Women have: Socialism,” on May 11, organized by the Women and Gender Oppressed Caucus of Workers World Party.

LGBTQIA+ and CENESEX Speakers on Cuba’s Family Code,
Dec. 29, 2022, Santiago de Cuba. (WW Photo: Lyn Neeley)

Thank you all for coming out tonight to talk about revolution! I had the amazing experience of visiting Cuba in January with some of my comrades. In Santiago de Cuba, we met with organizers who played key roles in bringing the entire island together to take part in the process of implementing this most recent layer of inclusion for all into Cuban society, the second Family Code.

So what is the Family Code? 

Also referred to as the “Law of Love” (“el ley de amor”), it ensures that all Cubans have the right to start and be part of a family. It’s the most progressive and revolutionary law in the world, because of how impactful it really is.

This Family Code, which was passed by referendum Sept. 25, 2022, updates the Cuban Constitution, redefining family simply as people who have love for each other, and guarantees equality, support and legal protection against discrimination for all types of family structures.

These family structures include people from the LGBTQIA+ community, women and single parents, people of all races, people with disabilities or mental illness, unpaid youth, elders, those interested in adopting or having a child through surrogacy, a child, victims of interpersonal violence and caregivers. The law protects people who in the United States are most oppressed by the ruling class.

The Family Code increases support for institutions that offer services to families, so that the best available resources are easily accessible to anyone who needs them. The Code ensures that service providers such as caregivers, home health workers, family mediators, social workers and educators have the dignity and respect that they deserve. 

The Family Code not only protects the most vulnerable, it protects the course of Cuban socialism. The entire population was involved in writing the referendum, with 25 revisions made over the course of 3 1/2 years. After the referendum was introduced in 2019, Cuba carried out a nationwide process of education and outreach, centering the fact that this code was not creating anything new but rather defending the many identities that already shape the island. 

Tens of thousands of discussions took place in every workplace, organization, neighborhood and community group, which ultimately led to the majority of the island voting in favor of this Law of Love. 

This is public consultation. This is the very essence of People’s Power. And this is what is possible when a system is truly for the people, by the people, designed to meet the direct needs voiced by the workers themselves and uplift the working class in an intersectional and all-inclusive way. This is what socialism looks like in action. 

The Cubans urge workers from all countries, including the U.S., to demand and fight for and take the same, which will be a victory for the LGBTQIA+ movement, the women’s movement and the gender-expansive movement, as well as for the working class as a whole. What we really need, to achieve the same thing here, is a dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism, where the needs of working people are heard and prioritized instead of commodified. 

And we will make this happen. 

Because when we fight, we win!


Mairead Skehan Gillis

Published by
Mairead Skehan Gillis

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