The GSBA Blog

GSBA Partners with Springboard Cuba for Cultural Exchange

by GSBA Staff
| Jan 14, 2019
When it comes to what she’s most excited to experience during this spring’s trade mission to Cuba from May 12 - 18, GSBA member Jen O’Ryan of Double Tall Consulting can’t wait to see it all.

“I’m most excited to learn more about the people, culture, and LGBTQ+ community,” Jen said. “Being able to visit the LGBTQ+ community centers on the second day will be an amazing opportunity. I’m also excited about exploring the sites - experiencing new things is always a bonus - and of course, the Pride festivities at the end.”

Partnering with GSBA, Springboard Cuba, a Cuba-focused consulting company, is leading the seven-day cultural expedition to look into the state of LGBTQ+ awareness on the island, culminating in the vibrant Havana Pride celebrations, which are expected to have record attendance this year.

Spanning from the capital city of Havana to Viñales, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the excursion features film showings, cigar tastings and a visit to tobacco fields, museum strolls, and a night on the town to experience the electric Havana nightlife.

“Cuba is one of the liveliest and most vibrant countries I've had the opportunity to visit,” said Chandler Martin, Director of Springboard Cuba. “We're honored to be able to share our knowledge of Cuba - and love for it - with the GSBA community.” cuba2

While the trip attendees will be able to sample Cuban tourist activities such as a drive in a classic convertible along the famous seawall, this experience will take a more nuanced look at the local LGBTQ+ culture and history. For Marcos Cu-Sarmiento, this was the main attraction which led him to join the trip. 

“I'm very interested in learning more about Cuba's approach to STI-prevention by visiting the STI-HIV/AIDs Prevention Center in Havana,” Cu-Sarmiento said. “This is very relevant to the work I do in Seattle. It's important to me to learn from other countries and apply that knowledge to our services here in the U.S., based on similar services and needs.”

For Mattie Mooney, they’re most excited to witness the unique landscape of LGBTQ+ culture on the island.

cuba1“What made me join the trip was the opportunity to experience learning about LGBTQ life outside of my own. Those narratives and experiences are not only important and unique but, at times overlaps with mine as a black trans queer person,” Mattie said. 

Since some travel restrictions for U.S. citizens are still in place, travelers are encouraged to register several months before the trip, by January 23. All who are interested can read the trip itinerary or sign-up for an info-session on January 18.