Jimmy Roque Martinez

Map where the Republic of Cuba street is located in Mexico City.

HAVANA TIMES – One of the many things that surprised me in my short visit to Mexico City is the freedom with which homosexuals express their love for one another in public. It’s common to see homosexual men and women holding hands on the street or kissing each other on the lips out in the open.

I saw this one night, on the corner of Madero Street (a kind of boulevard), where many gay people of all ages (and heterosexuals) engaged in public displays of affection.

Some looked at the gay men and women with a certain degree of surprise, but they were few in numbers and, judging from their appearance, I suspect they were not Mexican.

I also went to a number of gay discos and bars, many of which, ironically, were located on a street named “Republic of Cuba.”

Contrary to what is common on the island, there is no cover charge at these locales, though product prices inside tend to be above those found at regular establishments. In Cuba, however, the cover for such places is extremely expensive, as are the drinks.

Inside these Mexican discos, I saw many strippers dancing on stages, something that proved quite erotic for me, given my relative lack of experience in such places. The patrons were allowed to get on stage and dance there without any kind of restrictions.

The atmosphere in these places is very relaxed, devoid of any kind of violence or prostitution. It was all very agreeable and the “Republic of Cuba” isn’t only frequented by homosexuals, it is also a meeting place for heterosexuals who dance there without any kind of prejudice.

Seeing such free interactions between members of the LGBT community in Mexico City, on the street that bears my country’s name, made me think of Cuba’s homphobic censors, those who attempt to delay the approval of laws that would grant a series of rights to homosexuals on the island.

These laws, given the “affectionate” relations that now exist between the Cuban State and Catholic Church, could be a long ways away, given the concept of “family” that the latter defends.

I believe that, in addition to demanding that these laws that protect our rights be approved, we should exercise others that do not depend on the demagogic and homophobic Cuban State.

While it is true that the legalization of same-sex marriages and the passing of law against homophobia depend on institutions, we must recognize that kissing, hugging or holding hands in public spaces (areas which belong to everyone) is entirely dependent on our will and courage.

We could take advantage of the rallies organized by the State to take to the streets with signs demanding our rights, write to institutions demanding an answer, paint streets and walls with our demands and pursue other forms of activism.

We could make Mexico City’s “Republic of Cuba” seem small in comparison to our expressions of love throughout the island, with or without the permission of decision-makers.

Let us not wait for them any longer. It is not in their interests to have us express ourselves freely, not politically and not amorously. Conquering our freedom once and for all is entirely within our power.


Jimmy Roque Martinez

Jimmy Roque Martinez: I was born in Havana in 1979, and it seems that work has been my sign. Custodian, fish farmer, lens carver, welder, glass maker, optometrist, have been some of my trades. But none consumes as much of my time as caring for my family. For many years I’ve faced the least pretty face of this society, and I try to be happy while I transform it. I am too shy. I like silence, sleep, theater and movies. I hate injustice and arrogance, and I can hardly contain my anger when it happens in front of me.

One thought on “A Gay Republic of Cuba

  • This is lifeas it is the world over, you can shut your eyes and ears this if you find it diffcult to accept, however when you open your eyes and ears it will still be there, so you have a choice, if you do not like this type of behaviour then stay away from areas frequented by gays. We are all put on Gods earth for a reason. Let people live their lives as they see fit, just so long as they are not hurting anyone.

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