HAVANA TIMES — On Saturday, May 14, under a scorching sun, a great many people of different sexual orientation rallied against the homophobia that still prevails in our society.
This year, I noticed that, despite having been denied much publicity on television, as is habitual in our socialist country, the number of people who attended the rally was a bit greater than in previous years.
Though I was there in support of the LGTB movement, I didn’t feel comfortable. First, because the point of departure was not the same as in previous years and no information about this was given beforehand.
Some of us had to find out through word of mouth that the rally would start at the back of the Hotel Nacional. Similarly, the regular start time of 10 in the morning was pushed back to around noon. The wait became tedious and, to top things off, once the conga line got going, the old slogans from previous years, “socialism yes, homophobia no,” were again repeated.
I saw no signs demanding the right to same-sex marriage and, in the brief speech offered by Mariela Castro, inside the pavilion, she demanded an end to the US blockade and asked us to become united to take part in the struggle with more political awareness.
This time around, she did not demand the release of the Cuban Five, as they’ve already been released, thank god, but I was surprised when she publicly invoked the figure of Oscar Lopez Rivera, a Puerto Rican independence fighter who, in her words, has been in prison for more than 34 people for struggling for his country’s independence.
I wonder what any of this has to do with the struggle against homophobia. Mariela once again mixed things that, for me, as a homosexual, are unrelated. I had never heard anything about this man she mentioned, I don’t even know if he’s gay. The truth is that there are things I don’t understand, I don’t know whether I’ve got a mental problem. I may be the one who doesn’t know anything, but those political issues don’t seem to have anything to do with our struggle.
To be clear, I am not insensitive to the issue. I am against the unjust imprisonment of anyone. What I mean is that there’s something that doesn’t fit the context of the day and we need to focus more on the rights of the community, to deal with issues such as marriage, adoption and others.
Perhaps Mariela [president Raul Castro’s daughter] is being pressured to include such political actions in our campaigns, actions that have nothing to do with our priorities.
With respect to Mariela, I’ve said it on other occasions. She is agreeable and tempered, but, I am beginning to think she’s the kind of person who thinks only her opinions matter. From her speeches, I sometimes notice that she would not approve of someone being against her opinions and ways of seeing things. I see her as a woman who doesn’t understand or implement democracy; someone who can’t accept that, among millions of people, there’s bound to be a broad range of opinions and desires.
Personally, I see the same charade repeat itself year after year, and the LGTB community is making progress at a snail’s pace. I remember a time in Cuba when students who didn’t do their work at school would get a turtle pinned to their shirts, do you?