Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Cuba: La Revolucion Continua!

Cuban gay rights activists led by the daughter of President Raul Castro plan a mass symbolic wedding on Saturday to promote acceptance of gay and transgender Cubans in a country once notoriously hostile toward them.

The ceremony will be part of an annual gay pride parade and will be symbolic because same-sex marriage is illegal in Cuba, Mariela Castro told reporters. She said it would also be low key because Cuban society is still uneasy about full rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"We can't do a wedding, but we wanted to have a very modest celebration of love with some religious leaders," said Castro, head of the National Sex Education Center and a member of Cuba's National Assembly. "In the future we'll see what more we can do." ...

Cuban gays have made great strides in recent years, largely because of Mariela Castro's political standing, but same-sex marriage and civil unions remain illegal.

Some public attitudes changed when retired leader Fidel Castro admitted in 2010 that he had been wrong to discriminate against gays, who were sent to labor camps in the early years after the 1959 revolution. [Mainly as an alternative to military conscription, they were hardly gulags. Gay men were still being imprisoned in the freedom-loving US and UK then, of course].

Cuba's National Assembly last year approved a labor law that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. But Mariela Castro voted against the law in an extremely rare and possibly unprecedented dissenting vote because the law did not also ban discrimination based on gender identity.

Cuba's one-party political system traditionally operates on consensus, which Castro said was one reason lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Cubans still lack full legal rights.

"There is a fear that this will tear Cuban society apart," Castro said. But, she said she believed it would not create a rupture. "It will create cultural and ideological enrichment."

The situation of gay men in Cuba was mainly 'notorious' in the West because the US gay and straight media were obsessed with it in the 70s and 80s, when Cuba was Uncle Sam's Public Enemy Number One.

You be hard pressed to find a single one about gay life in the capitalist paradises next door, Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Just as a supine media were obsessed with the plight of Iranian gay men a decade ago, and with Russia's in recent years.

You may sense a pattern here... Pinkwashing in reverse.

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