Isbel Diaz Torres

“In Cuba we all count.”

HAVANA TIMES – Last year, I published a post condemning how the Population and Household Census then conducted in Cuba had crudely manipulated information in order to conceal the existence of homosexual couples living together in the country.

As you may recall, it was revealed at the time that any reference to same-sex couples had been crossed out during the processing of forms submitted by census takers and that, next to the information, they had written an explanatory note reading something along the lines of “couples must be of opposite sexes.”

A year later, the final results of the census have begun to be published. As it turns out, marital status indices (calculated on the basis of questions put to anyone over the age of 12) reveal that “56.8 % of the country’s population is married; 21.7 % declared that they are living together.”

Though many homosexual couples declared that they were living together (and this information was written down on the questionnaire), the census takers were instructed to erase this information upon leaving the home in question.

As such, we members of the gay community who publicly assume our sexual orientation and declare to be living together under the same roof aren’t included in that 21.7 %

I’ve been in a stable relationship for eleven years and have been living with my partner for two, but that doesn’t count as “living together” for Cuba’s bureaucracy.

It doesn’t look as though these deliberate distortions of information will be rectified any time soon. According to reliable sources (which I am unable to reveal), as a result of complaints registered following last year’s census, the census director, Juan Carlos Alfonso Fraga, promised that he would conduct a survey in 2013 to collect information exclusively on these and other aspects of the LGBT community.

November is coming to an end and we’ve seen no surveys for Cuba’s gay community. We continue to be invisible on paper, even though we are portrayed in TV soaps. We’re going to be hard pressed to see any inclusive and non-discriminatory policies if the State isn’t even interested in collecting information about us.


Isbel Diaz

Isbel Diaz Torres: Pinar del Rio and Havana are my cities. I was born in one on March 1, 1976, and I’ve always lived in the other. I am a biologist and poet, though at times I’ve also been a musician, translator, teacher, computer geek, designer, photographer and editor. I’m very non-conformist and a defender of differences – perhaps due to always having been an ever-repressed “model child.” Nothing enthralls me more than the unknown, nature and art; these serve as my sources of mystery and development. A surprising activism has been born in me over the recent period. Though I’m not very sure how to channel it, I feel that it’s a worthy and legitimate energy. Let’s hope I have the discernment to manage it.

7 thoughts on “Echoes of Cuba’s Homophobic 2012 Census

  • How stupid. We have a similar problem in the US with unemployment statistics. Those who have been unemployed for a long period of time stop receiving unemployment pay and are not counted as unemployed.

  • Griffin – there is a way – you’ll just have to visit the island and carry them to Isbel. Or, you can find someone who is going to the island and send them that way.

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