[Fri 24 Aug, 09:36]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
Gay life/rights in Cuba - (10 replies)

I could not find any information of the situation in Cuba concerning Gay and Lesbian rights in Spartacus, which seems like bad news. Is it illigal as it was in the former USSR?

Has anyone got any information.



[Fri 24 Aug, 11:32]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
1. gay rights

The second article on this page deals with this subject


[Fri 24 Aug, 12:06]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
2. gay life in cuba

Just come back from another long trip to Cuba. I have been constantly suprised at the gay visibility in Havana. The festival has been on over the last month and the latest haunt seens to be the ice cream parlour Bim Bom on Malecon where around a few hundred young gay men and lesbians congregate every night to hang out and show off thier new clothes. It is more vibrant than London and equals the Village. I have seen transvestites young and attractive in thier glory parading around and this suprised me. The police however although not violent can be intimidating and have a habit of shutting down places when they become too popular. In this case about two other venues the now legendary Fiat and another bar near Avenue de Presidentes ( vibrant in March but now overlooked). So gay people have to keep shifting from place to place. Despite this there seem to be no physical or verbal hostility from the thousands of straights who passed by the venue while fiesta was on and experiences of gay bashing were limited. I know that some tourists have been attacked and El Juez were murdered but Cubans attacks i have not heard any first hand stories. (The punishment for attacking on gay tourists i heard was death, i cannot verify that case however).

There is a large amount of young men bisexual who sleep with tourists for clothes and money and this is how they help themselves and families survive due to the dismal wages and the prices of items in the stores. This is not restricted to the gay community, in Baracoa i was shocked to see one man pimping his wife for tourists, and females can be equally persistent if they become aware your a tourist.

Apart from Malecon the park Fraternidad near Capitilo after dark also seems to be a park where Cuban gays go to meet each other and not tourists, it seemed relaxed. One part of the park is a meeting place for tranvestites and gay men. The police are obviously aware of the situation and there were around at least hundred men in the surrounding park area and i did not witness any harrassment on the occasions i observed. I also found similar places in Santiago but although not as vibrant.


[Fri 24 Aug, 13:56]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
3. Thanks Number 2, and Greslego.

The Larry Obergís report dispelled some of knee jerk propaganda related to the one-sided Schnabel film: itís amazing to speak to people who havenít ever been to Cuba, they assume exactly what the anticubans would say!

Cuba is far from perfect, but we could easily discuss two dozen more dangerous homophobic destinations to avoid in Latin America. We could also mention the real dangers and hostilities that gay tourists routinely encounter in places like Trinidad, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, etc. By contrast, Cuba aggressively punishes all crimes against tourists, and not just those affecting gays. The case of El Juez is one example: the death penalty for heinous murderers.

The Cuban machismo and homophobia many presume (without firsthand experience, now) is perhaps a historical situation corrected by the Revolution. To see transgendered people carry on and going about their affairs in public markets and on streets is proof that Cuba is way beyond even most of the USA (which is all talk and substance when it comes to universal recognition of rights - itís still a crime to have gay sex in many states.) Gay tourists have witnessed that openness and positive change in Cuba, and it contradicts so many lies we read here repeatedly that gays are officially persecuted on the island. I even saw one transgender teenager - would Medicaid in the US cover hormone treatments for minors?

Life isnít perfect, even if Cuban gays seem more open and self-confident than some Americans. Number 2 is correct that the police shadow is intimidating Ė there have been raids of clubs and hot-spots (for drugs and prostitution). Yes the boys want Tommie Hilfiger and RL and ten dollars, or just twenty bucks, to hook up with some daddy. No its not because theyíre hungry, unless you consider fashion a hunger. Donít be a cheapskate with them, but a boyfriend or girlfriend might not be as crass and materialistic as youíd imagine reading this either. I also met a policeman who tried offer me his beautiful crazy wife while checking me out too. There are obviously sham marriages in Cuba too.

The park Fraternidad seemed kinda sketchy to moi Ė more trade, and less gay. Rough trade, the kind that El Juez found, is unpredictable everywhere. A little common sense goes a long way in Cuba, its not dangerous but donít be cruising drunk either. Every Cuban I met had condoms, be safe there too.


[Fri 24 Aug, 23:32]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
4. About to give book/movie review on Before N F-----

­--can any of you informative people or anybody else provide me with up-to-date info on how gay Cubans relate to other gay cubans AWAY FROM THE TOURIST TRAIL?

I have in my collection the videos 'Gay Cuba' and 'Butterflies on the Scaffold', both made a few years ago. The messages from both were of a vibrant, lively, inclusive society, within certain limits. Was this accurate then, and is it now?

I have also gained a lot of insight from 'Machos, Maricones and Gays' by Ian Lumsden, published mid 90s.

To the OP, homosexuality is legal in Cuba, and has been since the Corrections of Errors campaign of 1986, after which Soviet homophobia was replaced by a toned down version of traditional Latino machoism. Having not been to Mexico, my information is second hand, but I have been told that the macho factor is more of a problem there than in Cuba. In fact in Cuba, I never came across it at all.

Spartacus has obviously not been updated since the Mariel Boatlift that took Reinaldo Arenas to the US. Lumsden states that this was the final example of state sponsored mass homophobia (1980).

Again, any details re 'away from the tourists' gay life???


[Sat 25 Aug, 00:06]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
5. Greslogo, I have opened your link

The author of the article seems to read and view the same material as me. All very uplifting. However, I have heard third hand that the La Guinera dragshows have come under closer scrutiny in recent months. Any updates would still be appreciated.

Here is that link again. Delete any hyphens that may mysteriously turn up.



[Sat 25 Aug, 00:09]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
6. I must learn to proofread!


[Sat 25 Aug, 00:11]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
7. one more try


[Sat 25 Aug, 00:12]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
8. I am poster 5: am in need of sleep!


E. Armand

[Tue 13 Nov, 20:01]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
9. gay life

I certainly haven't noticed any problems.


[Mon 19 Nov, 00:59]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
10. Gay life/rights in Cuba

Maybe E. Armand could email his Congressman on his new browser to expand Medicaid to include the shots.

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