Sunday, 19 April 2015

Cuba: Insight?

Some of the fun has gone out of being gay in Cuba, says Andres as he slips into Las Vegas, a state-owned cabaret bar in the heart of Havana, in time to catch the nightly drag show for the all-male clientele. “I liked it better before. There was more romance.”

By “before” he does not mean the early years of the communist regime of Fidel Castro, when exposing yourself as a homosexual meant running the danger of being shipped to a holiday camp as an “ideological deviant”. That was the misery chronicled by Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas in his wrenching memoir Before Night Falls that became a film with Javier Bardem.

Andres is looking back a decade, when gay nightlife was vibrant but still mostly underground. Every Saturday, he and his friends would gather at a nearby park and wait for someone to whisper the venue of that night’s party. One night it would be at an abandoned mansion, the next a field behind a factory. So long as they stayed one step ahead of the police.

The journey from rejecting to embracing gay, lesbian and transgender lifestyles has been as complicated for Cuba as it has for many other countries. But the surprise may be that Cuba has indeed gone down that road, and done so even faster than some of its neighbours...

Though the author has quotes from some gay Cubans, there's not much here that couldn't be gleaned from an hour or so on the internet.

As ever, Fagburn is more than happy to volunteer to undertake an all expenses paid two week fact-finding trip to this sun-kissed communist island paradise. 

Hurry up, before it turns into Uncle Sam's whorehouse again!

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