Gays and Cuba

Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Sat Nov 23 02:51:28 MST 2002

I've asked at a very authoritative level
here in Havana and have been told that
there is no provision against gays being
members of the Cuban Communist Party and
been told by others that they personally
know gay party members. The man who told
me this said that if someone wanted to
vote to NOT admit someone into the party,
because they were gay, or religious, or
whatever, they might do that, but there
is no formal prohibition of gays being
members of the party.

It is truly my sense that coming out is
not as much an issue in Cuba as it is in
other places such as the United States,
because I haven't heard anyone here in
Cuba talking about it as important. Not
to say it isn't, just to say it's not a
topic I've seen or heard.

Fidel Castro's 1965 comments to writer
Lee Lockwood still stand -- as his view
in 1965. It wasn't hostile interview as
Lockwood is still a friend of Cuba and
comes here from time to time. I know it
because I brought a letter from him to
Cuba last year. I would assume that he
cleared his interview transcript with
Fidel before publishing it, which is a
common courtesy when you publish an
interview of a man which comprises a
full book.

Fidel Castro has also said other things
about gays in Cuba, non-negative things,
such as in his book-length interview
with Tomas Borge, published here in Cuba
as UN GRANO DE MAIZ. Can't recall the
English title, but Ocean Press published
that book.

There are other people here in Cuba who
are known, or spoken about as gay, such
as Jose spoke about. Anyone who sees
Alfredo Guevara, wearing a cape as he
does on formal occasions, and listens to
his voice, knows he is clearly a gay man.

A friend has obtained for me a copy of
the magazine SOMOS JOVENES ("We are the
youth) which has a featureed article on
homosexuality. I hope to get it scanned
and translated and will share it when
that's done. It's just started up its
own website and you can see it's a
source of plain-speaking on sexual
matters, as well as the more familiar
political coverage you would expect in
a Cuban publication. Here's the link:

In March 2003, the World Sexology Association,
a progressive (left-minded) organization will
hold its 17th word congress here in Havana.
Here are the main discussion

The Cuban organizations sponsoring this
event include the leading psychological
organizations here on the island and its
Cuban chair is Mariela Castro Espin. See
her welcoming message as well here:

(Mariela's mother is Vilma Espin, of the
Cuban Federation of Women. Her father
is also influential in Cuban politics
with a leading position in public life.
His name is Raul Castro. His older
brother is even more influential than
Raul is...)

Go to the website for more information.
Anyone can see that a culture in which
homophobia was institutionalized would
NOT invite or welcome such a conference.

Walter Lippmann

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