Gays and the Cuban Revolution

Martin Spellman mspellman at
Mon Nov 18 12:33:34 MST 2002

	I recall when I first went to the Soviet Union in the early seventies it
was quite common for men friends to hold hands in the street. They were not
gay (most of them anyway) -- it was just something friends did. It was
certainly not officially frowned upon -- in fact I recall militia men doing
it. We found this strange, coming from neurotic, alienated England, but were
told this was the Russian custom. Later as tourism increased and homophobic
ridicule from Western tourists with it, I understand this 'custom' died out.

Gandhi was once asked what he thought of Western civilisation. He replied
"It would be a good idea."

Martin Spellman

> One question that I always asked gay guys was "would you feel
> comfortable holding hands with your boyfriend on the street?" About 80%
> responded with a qualified yes. Many stated that they do just that. (Two
> guys or women holding hands is not an uncommon sight in Havana.) But
> some also said that they would stop holding hands in front of a police
> officer. Not unlike societies to the north, Cuba recruits a high
> percentage of young macho hot dogs to their police force, some with a
> chip on their shoulder against gays. But, I want to make it clear: No
> gays that I talked to reported governmental repression, although many
> older Cuban gays did talk about "the bad old days."

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