Homosexuals in Cuba: Some Do the Harm, Others Bear the Blame

Nonardo Perea

Street in Marianao, Havana. Foto: Luis Enrique González

HAVANA TIMES— It was the fifth time I’d gone to the dentist’s that month. I’d gone that afternoon because I had an appointment, but the person who’d made this appointment for me hadn’t gone to work that day, so I had to go back another day.

Just when I decided to wait and have another different see me, a homosexual man wearing a rather flamboyant combination (tight-fitting shorts and a lacy blouse) showed up and, in a matter of seconds, caught everyone’s attention. They all laughed at his appearance.

Apparently, he had gone to see the person responsible for HIV cases and that person was not at their place of work. That sufficed to set the young man off and for him to throw a fit that made me feel uncomfortable. I am against attitudes that somehow denigrate the image of homosexuals. Unfortunately, when society has an experience of this nature, it assumes that all homosexuals are the same.

I didn’t feel it was necessary to assume that attitude in front of people, who merely looked at each other and winced, as though to say “these people are the worst!”

The gay man ended that small scene loudly saying he had gone to the clinic to get condoms to be able to f*ck – he said the word loud and clear before going down a flight of stairs and going out of the premises.

I decided to get up from the bench I was sitting on and head over to the records department, where they make the appointments. I walked up to the door. The people there were tearing the homosexual apart. A woman even said to the person who jots down appointments not to get too worked up over the gay man, that he had AIDS and that was punishment enough for him.

Standing next to the door, I asked the appointments woman when I could return to see the specialist who had seen me the previous time. Noting I was a homosexual, she gave me a hate-filled look. When she spoke, I could sense her anger was aimed at me.

I took one hand to my chest and, without raising my voice, asked her if I’d done anything wrong. She said no and, little by little, I noticed that her look and tone of voice softened. She was trying to get the other gay out of her mind.

But I know that, deep down, we’re all the same to her.

6 thoughts on “Homosexuals in Cuba: Some Do the Harm, Others Bear the Blame

  • Elemental Bob, elemental…… he was as “flamboyant” as the other guy.

  • Unlike the writer I thing this person was not guilty of nothing bad or out of order………. I think this person acted with the indignation any normal person would act in similar situation…….It is a huge disrespect for any patient to have a special governmental employee to attend him because his health condition ……and furthermore to find that this employee can not solve his problem or needs because is absent of the work…….. similar case in a normal country would be object of a secure successful legal demand (the classic sue) because the discrimination it implies…. a surely easy to win sue that would made the lucky gay rich………. and more indignant yet is the fact that this people have to get their condoms from this special worker instead to buy it in any gas station, market o pharmacy like in any normal country of the world………. this gay person attitude is for me the normal attitude any normal person should have having such harassing treatment…… for me the non normal attitude is the one all other people in the place showed including the writer…. what is not normal is to accept to be mistreated by a regime that treats AIDS patients different, like pestilent people …. the people in the place and the writer just shows the final product of an abusive totalitarian regime that makes all possible to transform the people in docile lambs, ready to accept any abuse, any discriminatory treatment, any degradation ….. with exception of that hard criticized gay person that seems to be the only normal person in the place…

  • If being a HOMOSEXUAL was normal , you wouldn’t have to proclaim to anyone , that you were one . As well , you wouldn’t hide the fact from anyone , that you are one .

  • To echo a bit of Moses’ sentiment, I would have to say that in the gay community there are people of all types, as there are in any other group. But I’m feeling that the author here has some insecurity issues. Don’t get me wrong, gay men the world over struggle with this, but gender conformity is something that seems strictly enforced in Cuba according to what I’ve observed. Like any other latin-american country, it is understood that men must act “masculine” and women act “feminine.” Granted, Cuba is more tolerant of GLBT people than other latin countries, but that tolerance only goes so far. More work needs to be done to bring awareness of the GLBT community and gender expression in general.

  • I used to feel the same way Warhol P seems to feel when loud and obnoxious black folks would come into my toney upper middle-class white neighborhood grocery store or post office or coffee shop or wherever while I was there demanding services. Then, about ten years ago, I realized that when there were loud and obnoxious white folks, my white friends felt no compulsion to explain or defend these annoying white people. They took the position that every one is accountable for themselves and no one else. I learned that I did not have to carry the burden of justifying why some black people talked too loud or wore flashy clothes and jewelry. Warhol P should feel free to be himself and not be embarrassed by “queens” or whatever extremely flamboyant gay people do. The burden is with the ‘other’ people to learn to judge every single person on the merits of that person. Failing to do that is their problem, not Warhol’s.

  • I am curious how the appointment clerk noted your homosexuality? Was that noted in your dental records?

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