Gays and Cuba

Philip Ferguson plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Nov 18 18:20:14 MST 2002


> forsher at excite.com wrote:
> > there is also no gay press, and no gay pride demonstrations.


Ben replied:
> Press is severely limited by material resources in Cuba. What is
> more important, medical textbooks or gay newspapers?


I'd also say that we need to question why there should be a gay press
and gay pride demos in a society in which gays are oppressed.

In a free socialist society, people's sexuality would be totally
immaterial to anyone or anything.  Red-haired people in capitalist
society aren't oppressed, having red hair is neither here nor there, so
they don't organise red-haired pride demos.  In a socialist society,
where sexual orientation was neither here nor there, it is rather
difficult to imagine why anyone would organise a gay pride march or
publish gay newspapers.

Specifically in relation to Cuba, we ran Larry R. Oberg's article in
'revolution' last year in the expectation that 'When Night Falls', which
was at film festivals here around that time, would shortly be opening on
general release.  However, it didn't and has only just opened now.  But
one of the things that Oberg pointed out was that Havana is the hot new
gay spot in the Caribbean.  This hardly indicates a draconian
suppression of homosexuals and homosexuality.

I'd say the Cubans have been about as backward and about as progressive
as the Western left on this issue.  Castro's comments on gays in 1965-6
in the Lee Lockwood interview are probably about what you would have
gotten at the time from a bunch of Trotskyist leaders in the West, and
rather better than official attitudes of the time in Moscow or Peking.

What surprises me is that some people in the Western left are so
over-determined to stitch up the Cubans on this issue.  Going on about
how awful Cuba is in relation to gays just seems to me, as we put it in
the 'revolution' headline, 'a bum rap'.

Philip Ferguson

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