Less than a week before Cuba's annual pro-LGBTQ+ celebration was scheduled to hit the streets of Havana, the Caribbean island nation's government has canceled the event without any real explanation for those who planned to attend.
The state-run National Center for Sex Education announced on Monday that it had suspended the Lla Conga Cubana Ccontra la Homofobia y la Transfobia -- or Tthe Cuban Conga Aagainst Homophobia and Transphobia, in English -- El Nuevo Heraldreports.
"We thought the conga .... was already approved and consecrated," wrote playwright and LGBTQ+ rights activist Norge Espinosa on Facebook, per Reuters. "To not permit it is a sign that compels us to return to the closet, to know we are not welcome, that hope can be undone, if we do not have what is needed to fight."
The event, now in its 12th year, drew hundreds of people to Havana's Vedado neighborhood last year, according to NBC News, including A Fantastic Woman star Daniela Vega of Chile.
For many, the conga has come to represent Cuba's increasingly queer-friendly climate and all the gains made in recent years in favor of LGBTQ+ rights. While same-sex marriage is still not legal, the government has expressly forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity -- something the United States has yet to do. Sex reassignment surgery is also government-funded and LGBTQ+ people can serve openly in Cuban the military, two more strides the U.S. has yet to take.
The event could return in 2020, The Los Angeles Timesreports.