Xiomara Reinoso Gomez
HAVANA TIMES — They say there’s no bigger hell than a small town. This isn’t always the case.
There’s a town so small you can barely see it on the map. Despite this, it has the status of a municipality. I am speaking of the greater Havana coastal town of Regla.
Its residents are marvelous people: happy, authentic and, most importantly, very brave.
I spent my teenage years along with my sister in this town. We moved there when I was nine and she was twelve. I lived there till the age of 18.
That was fifty years ago, back when homophobia seemed like an incurable disease in Cuba.
In this town, however, there were plenty of gays and lesbians. And many of them lived with their partners without any problems.
On my block, there was a gay couple who shared the house with the family of one of the partners, another gay man who lived alone and, next door, a lesbian couple.
We treated one another with mutual respect. We got along so well that, more than neighbors, we looked like family. When someone had a problem or had to get to the hospital in a rush, there was always a neighbor ready to lend a hand.
I never heard anyone belittle anyone else. Everyone did with their own bodies what they pleased.
The lesbian who lived next door was already a mature woman. She had six children from a previous marriage, and I never once heard anyone reproach her for anything.
We would sit on the curb at night to talk – heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, prostitutes, crazy people…yes, we had a few of those. One of the crazies had three university degrees and was very eloquent. When she got treatment, she sounded sane.
The town had humane values, which is what counts.
I don’t criticize others for their sexual orientation, nor am I interested in that. The time I spent in Regla taught me to be this way.
I do however criticize parents who disown gay or lesbian children. I criticize those who are homosexual and pretend to be heterosexual to deceive their partners.
I criticize the lack of education, the loss of values and many other deplorable developments we are seeing these days.