Coming back to life after decades of economic sanctions, there has never been a better time to visit. New enterprises are springing up all over the place and the beautiful but damaged old buildings are beginning to be renovated. However, Cuba is not known for tolerance of homosexuality and historically homophobia is rife.
Since then, private property and self-employment have been legalized; tourism has boomedbenefiting thousands of Cubans who rent out rooms or serve meals in their apartments; and a lively art scene has sprouted in Havana, where artist-run spaces host exhibitions and lectures. Reforms have been slow and gradual, but they have added up over the years and have transformed the country: The economic despair of the s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of its aid plunged the country into the worst recession in its history, has been left behind, and many Cubans, especially those who are self-employed, now enjoy a modest prosperity. Cuba is now a very different country than it was in
That proposed language in support of same-sex marriage drew protests from evangelical churches and citizens in months of public meetings on the new constitution. State media said that Cubans had madecomments on Article 68, with the majority asking to eliminate it. The new constitution, known as the Magna Carta — which also recognises private property for the first time since the Cold War — will be put to a referendum later this year.
Attitudes and acceptance towards LGBT people have evolved significantly in recent years, though a culture of machismo is still present. However, it was later removed from the draft Constitution. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal in Cuba. Historically, public antipathy towards LGBT people was high, reflecting regional norms.
With a population of just under 75, and a reputation for well-preserved colonial architecture, not cruising, a gay bar seems an improbable niche-filler. Gats Loco is the only bar in the area and they claim to have cold beer. I head inside.
The whole city comes together to chat, drink and listen to music, as Soviet-era Ladas and Chevrolets rattle past, ferrying tourists from one side of the city to the other. A trans woman sits on the sea wall, chatting to friends. One man dances with another.
The statement did not explain what that meant. Tensions with the United States are high over the situation in Venezuela, where the Trump administration wants to oust the Cuban-backed administration of President Nicolas Maduro. It was unclear how either of those factors required the cancellation of a gay pride march, although Cuban officials tend to impose more controls of all types in moments when the country is perceived to be under threat.
A contestant in the first-ever Mr. Gay Havana contest. Photo by: lgbt-cuba-noticias-hoy. We live in a great state of fear on the streets.
This remarkable account of gays in Cuba links the treatment of male homosexuality under Castro with prejudices and preconceptions prevalent in Cuban society before the Revolution. Ian Lumsden argues that much of the present discussion does not acknowledge the significant improvements that have occurred in the last decade. As an antidote to what he considers wide-spread misinformation, Lumsden locates the current issues surrounding homosexual identity within the broad context of Cuban culture, history, and social policy and makes revealing comparisons to the experience of homosexuals in other Latin American countries.
On the outside looking in, one would assume that Cuba is stuck in a proverbial time warp. But, look a little deeper and you will see advances in Cuba that may astonish and even inspire the most proud of Americans. Amazingly, Cuba is far more progressive when it comes to social issues than one might realize.