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Encyclopedia > LGBT rights in Cuba
LGBT movements
 Around the world · By country 
History · Groups · Activists
Same-sex relationships
Opposition · Persecution
Violence

Sexual relations between same-sex consenting adults sixteen and over have been legal in Cuba since 1992, though same-sex relationships are not presently recognised by the state. Restrictions on public assembly and all non-state approved organizations effectively means that LGBT associations are not permitted. LGBT movements is a collective term for a number of social movements that share related goals of social acceptance of homosexuality and/or gender variance. ... Image File history File links Gay_flag. ... World laws on homosexuality Same-sex unions in North America. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... The Death of Orpheus In Albrecht Dürers 1494 drawing, the banner hung in the tree reads: Orfeus der erst puseran (Orpheus, the first sodomite). The word puseran(t) derives from the Latin bulgarus from which come also the terms bugger in English and bougre in French. ... See Adult. ... A same-sex couple is a pair of people of the same sex, who pursue a relationship similar to that of a heterosexual married couple. ... LGBT (or GLBT) is an abbreviation used as a collective term to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people. ...


Due to long standing cultural tendencies, public antipathy towards LGBT people is high reflecting regional norms. This has eased somewhat following cultural changes to Cuban society in the 1990's, and subsequent gradual measures undertaken by the Cuban Government. Educational campaigns on LGBT issues are currently implemented by the National Center for Sex Education headed by Mariela Castro. Mariela Castro is the director of the National Center for Sex Education in Havana and an activist for LGBT rights in Cuba. ...

Contents


Revolutionary Cuba

Following the 1959 revolution, Cuba’s communist government embarked upon a pervasive effort to rid the nation of homosexuality, which was seen as a product of a capitalist society. Through the 1960s and 1970s this campaign included the frequent imprisonment of lesbians and gays (particularly effeminate males) without charge or trial, and confinement to forced labor camps. Parents were legally required to report their gay children. This period was dramatically documented by Reinaldo Arenas in his 1992 autobiography, Before Night Falls, as well as his fiction, most notably The Color of Summer and Farewell to the Sea. While many have argued that Arenas overstated the abuses — and even the most devoted of his readers agree that he used dramatic license to underscore his arguments — it is widely acknowledged that during this period, Cuba was engaged in active persecution of homosexuals on a scale not seen in the Western world during the same period.[1] Homosexuality was formally decriminalised in 1979, and a year later the Castro government tried to purge Cuba of "anti-social" dissidents, criminals and homosexuals by allowing them to emigrate to the US in the 1980 Mariel boatlift. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are engaged in penal labor. ... Reinaldo Arenas (born July 16, 1943 in Holguín, Cuba, died December 7, 1990 in New York) was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who spent most of his life fighting the Fidel Castro regime through his art. ... Before Night Falls is the 1992 autobiography of gay Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, describing his life in Cuba, his time in prison, and his ultimate escape to the United States. ... Published in 1987, Farewell to the Sea is the third book in Reinaldo Arenas Pentagonia which critics have often argued as his best. ... The term Western world or the West can have multiple meanings depending on its context. ... This page refers to the year 1979. ... Cuban refugees arriving in crowded boats during the Mariel Boatlift crisis. ...


Cuban society has become more welcoming to gays and lesbians since the 1980s, and toward the end of the decade, literature with gay subject matter began to re-emerge. In 1994, the popular feature film Strawberry and Chocolate, produced by the government-run Cuban film industry, featuring a gay main character, examined the nation's homophobia. The year prior to the film's release, Fidel Castro stated that homosexuality is a “natural aspect and tendency of human beings”, and gay author Ian Lumsden claims that since 1986 there is "little evidence to support the contention that the persecution of homosexuals remains a matter of state policy".[2] However, the state's treatment of homosexuals remains a subject of controversy, and like other subjects relating to Cuba, the accounts of supporters of the Castro government are often quite different to those of its opponents. In 2006, the state run Cuban television began running a serial soap opera titled The Dark Side of the Moon[3] with story lines that focus on HIV infection and AIDS. Cuban gays describe a narrative in this soap opera capturing one character's sexual awakening as a pivotal moment in Cuba's long history of discrimination against homosexuals. This page is meant to explore the themes explored in the cinema of Cuba. ... Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (born August 13, 1926) is the current President of Cuba. ... The first TIME cover devoted to soap operas: Dated January 12, 1976, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes of Days of Our Lives are featured with the headline Soap Operas: Sex and suffering in the afternoon. A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television...


Public decency laws

In 1979, Cuba removed sodomy from its criminal code, but "public scandal" laws sentenced those who “publicly flaunted their homosexual condition" with three months to one year in prison (Article 359 of the 1979 Penal Code). The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) reports that "public flaunting" could be interpreted to include visibly transgender people and "effeminate" men, in addition to same-sex public displays of affection. The 1979 penal code also categorized “homosexual acts in public, or in private but exposed to being involuntarily seen by other people” as “crimes against the normal development of sexual relations.”[4] A reform of the penal code in 1988 instead imposed fines on those who "hassle others with homosexual demands" (Article 303a, Act 62 of the Penal Code of April 30 1988), and then in 1997 the language was modified to "hassling with sexual demands" and the phrase "public scandal" changed to "sexual insult". Sodomy is a term of religious origin used to characterize certain sexual acts. ... A Criminal Code is a compilation of government laws that outline a nations criminal offenses, and the maximum and minimum punishments that courts can impose upon offenders when such crimes are committed. ... The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) is an international organization bringing together more than 400 lesbian and gay groups from around the world. ... Transgender is an overarching term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies that diverge from the gender role (woman or man) commonly, but not always, assigned at birth. ... Arthur and Guinevere kiss before all the people. ...


Enforcement of public decency laws anywhere in the world is typically varied, as they may be interpreted broadly by police. In England and France, when laws against sodomy were struck from the statutes, prosecutions of homosexual men actually increased for some time under such laws, and in China they have been the main legal means of persecuting homosexuals. Recent attempts to crack down on crime and to prevent Cuba becoming a haven for “sex tourism” has resulted in raids on locations where gays frequent, and arrests have occurred. According to a Human Rights Watch Report, "the government also heightened harassment of homosexuals [in 1997], raiding several nightclubs known to have gay clientele and allegedly beating and detaining dozens of patrons."[5] Sodomy is a term of religious origin used to characterize certain sexual acts. ... Human Rights Watch Banner Human Rights Watch is a U.S.-based international non-governmental organization that conducts research on human rights. ...


Freedom of association

According to the World Policy Institute (2003), Cuban government prohibits LGBT organizations and publications, gay pride marches and gay clubs.[6] All officially sanctioned clubs and meeting places are required to be heterosexual. The only gay and lesbian civil rights organization, the Cuban Association of Gays and Lesbians, which formed in 1994, was closed in 1997 and its members were taken into custody.[7] Private gay parties, named for their price of admission, “10 Pesos”, exist but are often raided. In 1997, Agencia de Prensa Independiente de Cuba (the Cuban Independent Press Agency) reported, that Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar and French designer Jean Paul Gaultier were among several hundred people detained in a raid on Havana’s most popular gay discotheque, El Periquiton.[8] In a U.S. Government report reprinted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Cuban customers of the club were fined and released from a police station the next day,[9] although according to a 1997 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, many of the detainees claimed physical abuse and that two busloads of foreigners were transported to immigration authorities for a document check. The crackdown extended to other known gay meeting places throughout the capital, such as Mi Cayito, a beach east of Havana, where gays were arrested, fined or threatened with imprisonment.[10] According to Miami’s El Nuevo Herald, several of the dozen or so private gay clubs in Havana have been raided, including, Jurassic Park and Fiestas de Serrano y Correa. The World Policy Institute at The New School in New York City is a research and education policy center that seeks innovative solutions to critical problems facing the United States and the world. ... Fidel Castro, in front of statue of José Martí (designed Enrique Luis Varela, sculpture by Juan José Sicre and finished in 1958. ... Baton twirlers perform in the 2002 Divers-Cité pride parade in downtown Montreal A pride parade is part of a festival or ceremony held by the LGBT community of a city to commemorate the struggle for gay liberation, gay rights, and Lesbian and Gay pride. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... Pedro Almodóvar (born September 24, 1949) is a Spanish filmmaker. ... Jean-Paul Gaultier (born April 24, 1952, in Arcueil) is a French fashion designer. ...


HIV and AIDS

Cuba has undertaken aggressive campaign against AIDS focussing on education, isolation and treatment,[11] and in 2003 Cuba had the lowest HIV prevalence in the Americas and one of the lowest ratios in the world.[12] According to the UNAIDS report of 2003, there were an estimated 3,300 Cubans living with HIV/AIDS (approx 0.05% of the population). Since 1996 Cuba has produced generic versions of some of the common anti-retroviral drugs, reducing the costs to well below that of developing countries. This has been made possible through the Cuban government's subsidies to treatment.[13] Other treatments remain out of reach. í The Red ribbon is a symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS or Aids) is a collection of symptoms and infections in humans resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by infection with... The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, or UNAIDS, is the main advocate for accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on the HIV epidemic. ... Human immunodeficiency virus (commonly known as HIV, and formerly known as HTLV-III and lymphadenopathy-associated virus) is a retrovirus that is the cause of the disease known as AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, a syndrome where the immune system begins to fail, leading to many life-threatening opportunistic infections. ... í The Red ribbon is a symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS or Aids) is a collection of symptoms and infections in humans resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by infection with... Antiretroviral drugs are medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV. Different classes of antiretroviral drugs act at different stages of the HIV life cycle. ...


From 1986 until 1994, Cubans with HIV were forcibly quarantined to sanatoriums ("sidatoriums"), ostensibly for treatment.[14] Widespread international condemnation of this practice did result in a modification of the quarantine in 1994, when "confiant" (trustworthy) inmates were allowed to move out. HIV positive individuals are now required to spend at least three months in a sanatoriums (which are said to provide good care) and educated about transmission of the virus and living with HIV. They can then be released into the general public if they are considered sexually responsible and agree to disclose the names of any sexual partners from the last 5 years. Those sexual partners are then traced and tested for HIV. If someone refuses to disclose, they can be taken to the sanatorium where they will be held until they cooperate. In 2003, 48% of Cuba's HIV population lived in the sanatoriums, with the rest living outside and receiving care at a few specialty centers.[15] Human immunodeficiency virus (commonly known as HIV, and formerly known as HTLV-III and lymphadenopathy-associated virus) is a retrovirus that is the cause of the disease known as AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, a syndrome where the immune system begins to fail, leading to many life-threatening opportunistic infections. ... Sanatório Heliantia A sanatorium refers to a medical facility for long-term illness, typically cholera or tuberculosis. ...


Same-sex unions

Under Article 2 of the Family Code, marriage is restricted to the union of a man and a woman. No alternative to marriage such as civil unions or domestic partnerships is available. A civil union is one of several terms for a civil status similar to marriage, typically created for the purposes of allowing same-sex couples access to the benefits enjoyed by married opposite-sex peoples (see also same-sex marriage); it can also be used by opposite-sex couples who... Domestic partner or domestic partnership identifies the personal relationship between individuals who are living together and sharing a common domestic life together but are not joined in any type of legal partnership, marriage or civil union. ...


Cuban socialism and masculinity

While traditional Spanish machismo and the Catholic Church have disdained effeminate and sexually passive males for centuries, the Cuban revolution in the 1950s ushered in a new era of anti-homosexual repression which coincided with a "masculinization of public life".[2] Barbara Weinstein, professor of Latin American history at the University of Maryland and co-editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review, claimed that the Cuban revolution had "a stronger sense of masculinity than other revolutions."[16] Cuban gay writer Reinaldo Arenas wrote that in Communist Cuba, "the 'new man' was being proclaimed and masculinity exalted."[17] The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view. ... The name Catholic Church can mean a visible organization that refers to itself as Catholic, or the invisible Christian Church, viz. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The 1950s were the decade that traditionally speaking, spanned the years 1950 through 1959. ... Reinaldo Arenas (born July 16, 1943 in Holguín, Cuba, died December 7, 1990 in New York) was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who spent most of his life fighting the Fidel Castro regime through his art. ...


Castro's admiring description of rural life in Cuba ("in the country, there are no homosexuals"[7]) echoed the traditional socialist conception of homosexuality as bourgeois decadence, and he denounced "maricones" (faggots) as "agents of imperialism".[18] Castro explained his reasoning in a 1965 interview: Look up faggot in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

   
[H]omosexuals should not be allowed in positions where they are able to exert influence upon young people. In the conditions under which we live, because of the problems which our country is facing, we must inculcate your youth with the spirit of discipline, of struggle, of work... [W]e would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true Revolutionary, a true Communist militant. A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a militant Communist must be.[19]
   

Many gays were attracted to the socialist promise of an egalitarian society; some of them important figures among the left-wing intelligentsia, such as the writers for the popular journal Lunes de Revolución. A couple of years after Castro's rise to power, however, Lunes de Revolución was closed down amidst a wave of media censorship; its gay writers were publicly disgraced, refused publication and dismissed from their jobs.[20] In the mid-1960s, the country-wide UMAP program sent countless gays (particularly effeminate males) to forced labor camps for "rehabilitation" and "re-education", without charge or trial. Even after the end of the UMAP programs, effeminate boys were forced to undergo aversion therapy.[21] A 1984 documentary, Improper Conduct, interviewed several survivors of the camps. Image File history File links Cquote1. ... Image File history File links Cquote2. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ... Military Units to Aid Production or UMAP’s (Unidades de Ayuda a la Producción) were established by the Cuban government in 1965 as a way to eliminate alleged bourgeois and counter-revolutionary values in the Cuban population. ... Improper Conduct is the title of a documentary directed by Nestor Almendros and Jimenez-Leal. ...


Public attitudes

Though public antipathy towards homosexuals is gradually easing, it remains quite high according to a survey conducted in Cuban cities in 2002. More than half of the respondents believed gays and lesbians were “people with problems,” and more than one in five said they were sick and needed medical treatment. Six out of seven persons expressed aversion to lesbians, with the antipathy particularly strong among women.[22]


References

  1. ^ http://www.indegayforum.org/news/show/26636.html
  2. ^ a b Machos, Maricones, and Gays: Cuba and Homosexuality, by Ian Lumsden. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996. ISBN 1-56639-371-X
  3. ^ Controversial gay soap opera grips Cuba, By Fernando Ravsberg, BBC Mundo, Havana. Wednesday, 3 May 2006.
  4. ^ Acosta, Dalia, “TV Opens Debate on Taboo Subject – Homosexuality,” Inter Press Service, 7 April 1998.
  5. ^ Human Rights Watch World Report 1998 (Cuba)
  6. ^ World Policy Institute, Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in the Americas, Andrew Reding (Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute; Director, Project for Global Democracy and Human Rights). December 2003. Report online.
  7. ^ a b Gay Rights and Wrongs in Cuba,, Peter Tatchell (2002), published in the "Gay and Lesbian Humanist", Spring 2002. An earlier version was published in a slightly edited form as The Defiant One, in The Guardian, Friday Review, 8 June 2001.
  8. ^ Government Attacks Against Homosexuals, By Jesus Zuñiga, APIC. September 3, 1997. (Translated by E. Treto).
  9. ^ What is the status of homosexuals in Cuba?, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services Responses, 9 Aug 1999.
  10. ^ Correa, Armando.Reprimen de nuevo a los homosexuales El Nuevo Herald (Miami, 3 September 1997).
  11. ^ AIDS strategy praised, criticized, by Gary Marx. Chicago Tribune. October 26, 2003
  12. ^ AIDS and Human Rights in Cuba: A Personal Memoir, by Richard Stern, May 2, 2003. Published in The Gully internet magazine. Stern is director of the Agua Buena Human Rights Association in San José, Costa Rica. He works to improve access to treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in Central America.
  13. ^ Approaches to the management of HIV/AIDS in Cuba ( PDF), World Health Organization, 2004
  14. ^ See, for example: AIDS in Cuba, by Omar Del Pozo Marrero (Committee for National Unity, Havana, Cuba), in The Lancet, Volume 340, Issue 8815, 8 August 1992, Page 374 (Letters to the Editor). After publication of this letter, Dr. Pozo Marrero was detained in prison without clear charges.
  15. ^ Cuba Fights AIDS Its Own Way. Official AIDS policy versus routine practices. By Anne-christine d'Adesky. The Gully, May 1 2003. The article originally appeared in the amfAR Treatment Insider, published by the Treatment Information Services department of the American Foundation for AIDS Research.
  16. ^ Che Guevara: liberator or facilitator?, By Drew Himmelstein, Friday, October 29, 2004
  17. ^ Before Night Falls, Reinaldo Arenas. 1992. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140157654
  18. ^ Llovio-Menéndez, José Luis. Insider: My Hidden Life as a Revolutionary in Cuba, (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 156-158, 172-174.
  19. ^ Lockwood, Lee (1967), Castro's Cuba, Cuba's Fidel. p.124. Revised edition (October 1990) ISBN 0813310865
  20. ^ Marshall, Peter (1987). Cuba Libre: Breaking the Chains?, London : Victor Gollancz, 1987. ISBN 1557786526
  21. ^ Disingenuous apology for Castro's persecution of homosexuals, Steven O. Murray's review of Lumsden's book, June 19, 2001. Stephen O. Murray is a sociologist who has written several widely read works, including "Latin American Male Homosexualities" (University of New Mexico Press, 1995) and "Homosexualities", (University of Chicago 2000).
  22. ^ Acosta, Dalia, “Gay finding greater acceptance in Cuba,” Inter Press Service, 5 March 2003.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC, sometimes also known as the Beeb or Auntie) is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, founded in 1922. ... Human Rights Watch Banner Human Rights Watch is a U.S.-based international non-governmental organization that conducts research on human rights. ... The World Policy Institute at The New School in New York City is a research and education policy center that seeks innovative solutions to critical problems facing the United States and the world. ... The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ... The Chicago Tribune, formerly self-styled as the Worlds Greatest Newspaper, remains one of the principal daily newspapers of the midwestern United States. ... The Gully may refer to: The Gully, a battle fought near Ortona in World War II The Gully, an undersea canyon off the eastern coast of North America The Gully, an internet magazine see also gully This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... Image File history File links Noia_64_mimetypes_pdf. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Flag of World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, acting as a coordinating authority on international public health, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ... The Lancet is one of the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, published weekly by Elsevier, part of Reed Elsevier. ... The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) is an organization dedicated to the support of AIDS research, AIDS prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. ...

External links

  • Gay Rights in Cuba Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 181 October/November 2004
  • CÓDIGO PENAL de Cuba (in Spanish)
  • CÓDIGO de la FAMILIA de Cuba (in Spanish)
  • Homosexuality in Cuba: Revolution within the Revolution, Jo Ellis, Green Left.News, 4 July 1999
  • What is the status of homosexuals in Cuba? U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Gay Cuba 1997-2003 Stories about gay Cuba 1997-2003

See also


 
 

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