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Cuban parliament set to consider gay rights bill

MEXICO, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - A draft gay rights bill first introduced after the 1959 Cuban revolution, will be considered by lawmakers in Havana in June, Mexican media said on Thursday.

If passed, the law will give lesbians, gays, transsexuals, transvestites and transgender persons the same rights as heterosexuals in Cuba paving the way for unions between same-sex couples, as well as access to sex reassignment treatment and hormone therapy for transsexuals, which would allow them to change their gender legally.

The media said citing Mariela Castro, the director of the governmental National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX): "a relevant resolution will be signed in the nearest future by the Ministry of Health, which will determine the procedure for such surgery."

Castro, 45, daughter of current President Raul Castro and the niece of former leader Fidel Castro, has a degree in psychology and has campaigned for greater awareness for sexual minorities in Cuba for many years.

Fidel Castro, 81, announced on February 19 that he would step down as Cuba's president due to health problems. The leader of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, and the man who outlasted nine hostile U.S. presidents, still remains the head of the Communist Party.

Shortly after his election, Raul Castro said he was willing to introduce moderate economic reforms in Cuba, but insisted that he would not deviate from the path of socialism. The reforms may include making the government more efficient, revaluing the currency and lifting some state restrictions on private business.

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