A Cuba for Gays, Transvestites, Lesbians, Transsexuals…

By Irina Pino

HAVANA TIMES — Yesterday, a gay friend, writer and photographer, who I love very much, invited me to see the screening of the documentary Villa Rosa, which was made in Caibarien, Villa Clara. The film premiered at the Havana Young Filmmakers’ Festival, and tells us of several gay experiences in an entertaining way.

In this beautiful town, surrounded by sea, the People’s Power representative is a transsexual nurse and some hospital staff where she works, continue to call her by her masculine name. She insists and says that she is a woman and would like to be called as such, even though her ID card says the opposite.

Homophobia doesn’t exist there, it’s like a paradise. There is an aquatic carnival with lots of colors, where they make their own designs and also put on music performances at night. They actively participate in the town’s cultural scene, and people view them like normal people. There is a couple who has been together for 10 years and wants to adopt…

Some changes have been made in Cuba; nevertheless, I still believe that we are light years away from creating a perfect reality. According to a gay intellectual, while the Constitution remains fixed, they won’t be included.

In my neighborhood, in the ‘80s, gay people used to even stigmatize each other: there was the dentist, the plump fag who used to pay young men to sleep with him, the undercover gay, who used to sneak guys in through the hall of his home in the early morning because his family didn’t know, or didn’t want to know what his sexual preferences were; and a spectacular character without any modesty: the hairdresser who used to shout out to the four winds that he used to get done by all shapes and sizes.

Gay people, lesbians and even heterosexuals, although the neighbors always called it “The house of gays and lesbians”, all used to go to a unique apartment, in the building opposite. By chance, my sister became friends with a homosexual who used to live there and she began to regularly visit this place. This gay friend of hers had a brother, who would then become the father of her children and my brother-in-law.

The CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution) obviously went after that apartment; once, security forces summoned my sister because they wanted to know about those people, everything they did. Of course, she refused.

In the end, the owner of the apartment decided to move, but before, gradually, the neighbors had to slowly accept these gay and lesbian people.

We don’t know when real change will come about for these people, with full respect for their rights. A condescending attitude is strengthened with expressions like: “look at those poor gays, they’re gay, but very discreet”; or: “she’s a lesbian, but a great professional.”

We have to do away with prejudice once and for, because tolerance alone isn’t enough.

Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.

7 thoughts on “A Cuba for Gays, Transvestites, Lesbians, Transsexuals…

  • The other side of the argument however is there is nothing wrong with sexual orientation, but the problems arise when gay values start to predominate a hetro society. All major religions have said the same thousands of years ago — that acceptance of gays values leads to eventual destruction of society bc the family unit which is the back bone of society begins to disintegrate. Gays like prostitution is tolerated as long as it keeps to its little corner and is respectful of society doing its job in feeding and developing the world. Gays never have integrated in society — bc integration means dismantling the family unit — just like what we see happening in western countries with high divorces and most families broken down while gay life style is becoming more accepted and fashionable. The answer is not so simple as saying we need to get rid of prejudice. In the end it is about survival of the human species.

  • Y Mariela en este discurso, esta’ liderando el perfil de derechos civiles para esta comunidad tan presionada? Saludos de Seattle, esteban

  • Perhaps, if you still in Cuba in April, you can see the documentary there, in Muestra Joven Cuba.

  • Congratulations Irina, I loved your article, I would only point out that it is not a question of sexual “preferences” but of sexual orientation. Preference implies
    choice and there is no such a thing. Every human being has sexual preferences
    as far as sexual enjoyment is concerned.

    The documentary is magnificent, Adela has always inspired me admiration and pity at the same time, she refers to herself as both “a woman in a man’s body” and as “an open homosexual” which is definitely not the same. What
    happened to the work of CENESEX? Have not they explained the difference between gender dysphoria and homosexuality to her? Marielaaaa, where are you?

    Mariela Castro said at a conference she gave in Ottawa, where I live, that
    “ALL” the necessary surgeries and procedures were within the reach of
    Cuban transsexuals. Adela denies such an assertion, I now for a fact that there
    is no laser hair removal or facial feminization surgeries available to Cuban
    transsexuals. Adela is living proof.

    I am a transsexual woman and I have achieved everything that is impossible in Cuba amidst a measure of dignity and respect unimaginable in the sad, poor island. I feel for Adela and every LGBTQ person there.

    Lucia Gonzalez, Ottawa, Canada

  • Thank you!

  • Not in any movie theater. Watch it on line at the bottom of the article.

  • I’ll be in Cuba at the end of the month. Is there any place that is showing this film?

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