[Marxism] Gay marriage in Cuba

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jun 18 09:18:04 MDT 2004

Bill Berkowitz

Viva gay Cuba!
Out and married in the increasingly tolerant Communist island

While gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered folks around the world 
recently finished myriad celebrations of gay pride, an eye-opening 
report comes from Juan Perez Cabral - dateline Cuba. Cabral writes that 
while their relatives quietly witnessed, and the neighbors gawked, 
exercising their curiosity, "two gay male couples made history by 
publicly holding a gay wedding. Four local boys, Michel and Angel, and 
Juanito and Alejandro, ranging in ages from 17 to 22, exchanged symbolic 
vows before their families and friends at a neighborhood recreation 
center in one of the poorest sections of San Miguel del Padron, a 
working-class suburb southeast of Havana."

Reporting about Cuba in the mainstream media in the U.S. tends to follow 
a fairly predictable pattern. There's either a deluge of attention given 
to a flash-point issue - last year's Elian Gonzalez case is a good 
example of this - or there's not much reporting at all. On occasion 
you'll find a story about a speech given by Cuba's Fidel Castro, and if 
you're a regular reader of the sports pages you are bound to run across 
articles about a defecting Cuban athlete. On issues relating 
particularly to Cuba's gay community, the press has been generally 
silent - occasionally reporting on AIDS in Cuba and how people living 
with AIDS are treated.

Despite the scattered coverage it's no secret that over the years, the 
Cuban Revolution has had a rocky relationship with its gay citizens - a 
relationship that can characterized as repressive. In "Gays Wed In Cuba: 
The Second Revolution," published in late-June by The Gully, an online 
magazine "for a sharp queer view of international news, U.S. politics, 
e-activism, race, class, lesbian and gay issues," Cabral terms Cuba's 
actions towards gays as unremittingly "harsh."

Over the years, there have been few ups and a considerable number of 
distinct downs. Cabral reports that "queers were harshly repressed in 
Cuba in the 1960s and early 1970s, when many gay men were sent to 
military work camps and anti-gay and lesbian witch hunts were common in 
universities, high schools, many workplaces, and the Communist Party and 
its affiliates. Homosexuality was considered 'a bourgeois perversion' 
and queers were often seen as enemies of the state."


Against this background, Cuba's first openly gay marriage ceremony is an 
astounding development - seeming about as unlikely as the Rev. Falwell 
sanctioned gay marriage at his Virginia-based Liberty Baptist Church. 
Hopefully, the courage of that these young men are showing will augur 
well for the future of the Cuba's relationship with its growing gay 

full: http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemID=11550


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