Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Telenovelas and Teleprejudices / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

Telenovelas and Teleprejudices / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado
Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado, Translator: Unstated

Cuban television debuts at its usual time of 9:00 in the evening, on the
Cubavision channel, a telenovela–soap opera–titled "Under the Same Sun,"
which is already generating a buzz. Although they haven't provided much
information about it, it's said to consist of three stories. In the
first one being aired, are the taboos and intolerance that still exist
in society against homosexuality, among others. Some time ago an
interdisciplinary team, taking advantage of the reach of this mass
media, television, and with the support of the press, began influencing
people with a different view of human sexual diversity. I celebrate the
intention and the task, even more because a long time ago international
organizations, such as the United Nations, and coalitions of countries,
such as the European Union, jumped the barrier of segregation for sexual
preferences and established legal mechanisms to prevent discriminatory
practices in this and other aspects. We perceive in our country that
perception is gradually changing in this regard.

Societies, which over the course of history have been governed by
heterosexual men, supported through the ages the macho attitudes with
marginalized visions and social standards that have fallen into disuse.
Thus discrimination against women was such that no one considered
lesbianism as a sign of homosexuality in them, while in men it was
regarded as a disease. Thus, a lesbian inclination in women was actually
suspected, it was subject to double or more incisive discrimination.

Cuba was no exception in regard to this evil. Since the beginning of
this process–which increasingly is less than revolutionary–it is
customary to belittle and devalue those who are different. To be gay is
to suffer humiliation, along with continuing detentions and restrictions
on travel to avoid to meeting with like-minded people and related
groups. Everything was questioned and questionable, except for the
bearded manhood who had fought for this model. Beyond that, machismo and
militarism were the medals of those times which marginalized people of
different sexual orientation. They saw them and looked down at them like
flies in the soup, and so they were treated …

Today, Dr. Mariela Castro, Raul's daughter and Fidel's niece is trying
to clean up the images of her uncle and father from decades ago, and
vindicate the rights of the gay community in a crusade against
homophobia. Marches are held each year in the streets of the capital by
bringing together several hundred homosexuals to demand that their
rights be recognized. I support Mariela's campaign, although it
reawakens in me the logical question that surely has attracted many.
"Don't heterosexuals have rights too? What about the rest of society?
What about freedom of expression and association? And the multiparty

It is incongruous that the daughter of Cuban President be allowed to
demonstrate in our streets with a large group of people who advocate
sexual freedom that we, as part of alternative civil society, may not do
so, having had for decades other valid demands, legitimate and humane
that are also covered by international legislation as a part of
modernity. There should be consistency in the rights issue, you should
not recognize some and ignore others.

Taking this work as a departure point, it strikes me that is just and
necessary to hold a day against diversophobia, or fear of political
diversity, from which the Cuban authorities and their supporters suffer.

For now, I think we can start an "International Campaign Against
Pluriphobia"–rejection or fear of plurality–to prevent totalitarian
systems from washing their hands of contradictions, and manipulating
them to look like the rule of law. In justice and legitimacy, it is
necessary to paint the entire house, not just the facade.

May 30 2011


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