Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Homophobia in Cuba - The Work Ahead of Us

Homophobia in Cuba: The Work Ahead of Us
May 27, 2014
Luis Rondón Paz

HAVANA TIMES — In the afternoon of May 17, I happened to sit down in
front of the TV to watch Telesur. They were airing a documentary about
the LGBT movement titled "El Mismo Amor, Los Mismos Derechos" ("Same
Love, Same Rights").

Even though I missed the beginning of the film, it left me nailed to my
seat. I was moved to find out that countries like Argentina have made
progress in the struggle to secure effective legislation in this
connection – something which, unfortunately, does not exist in Cuba when
it comes to sexual minorities.

It's sad to come to this realization this way, I thought. In light of
the absence of constituted control and regulation mechanisms, I cannot
help but conclude that, over the past five years, very little progress
has been made in terms of sexual rights and recognition.

An illustration of this is how, in 2012, the National Population and
Housing Census did not register non-conventional (same-sex)
partnerships, thus thwarting any short-term project aimed at impelling
equitable reforms and building a country with greater guarantees for
citizens in terms of fundamental human rights. The maneuver, rather,
constituted a step back in policies aimed at raising the awareness of
Cuban society in issues of equity and justice.

I believe the law ought to be in step with our awareness campaign.
Otherwise, these become what many members of the LGBT community, for
reasons I do not agree with but respect, call a "circus."

Had the 2012 census registered these families, today the higher
government institutions (I am referring to the Cuban Parliament), rather
than pressured, could be persuaded on the basis of a tangible study,
results and statistics, and this, the highest representative of the
people's will in Cuba, would be duty-bound to address the demands of
sexual minorities and set down laws that guarantee their rights on the
basis of an inclusive, democratic and just Family Code that is in step
with the coming new constitution. The Council of State would then
instruct the Council of Ministers (an entity with real power) to
implement its decrees, reforms and laws, so as to establish a formal
body of laws that guarantee these fundamental human rights.

One of the appendices of the platform for Cuba's new "socialist"
economic model points out that the Cuban State is determined to impel
policies that do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. It
remains to be seen whether the recently appoved "Labor Code" will
address the "matter." As far as I know, the Official Gazette has not yet
published the document because the final revisions had allegedly not yet
been made.

I wonder:

How long will it take for the document to be edited, so that the
recommendations voiced during the last sessions can be added to it?

We'll we have to wait 4 more years?

Why so much secrecy? Why doesn't anynone in the media say or write
anything about what's happened with the Family Code?

Will there be a "new constitution" – if one is actually drawn up –
reflecting the reforms Cuba has implemented in the face of changes
around the world?

Whatever the case may be, I have not lost hope. But, damn! I'm 31 years
old and I still don't see where we're heading clearly. I was 24 when
someone awakened in me the idea of seeking legal recognition and
protection, securing the right to build a non-heterosexual family,
becoming a person, feeling that my country is just and that it
guarantees rights for everyone.

I want for gay marriages to cease being unconstitutional, as they are in
Cuba today, that they become an option for those who wish to establish
them, and that those people also enjoy the benefits of having their
partnership recognized by law. I want for these possibilities to be
guaranteed by the law.

I believe that what we need to become better, freer and fairer human
beings is to build a Cuba in which there are no longer any reasons to
hold a rally against homophobia, that the "issue" cease to be a topic of
conversation or a joke told at workplaces and nightclubs. I want for
that lifestyle to become one more option, for diversity to be accepted
as what it is: as diversity, nature, life.

I dream of a future Cuba that has become a tourist destination for the
LGBT community, where people go not to engage in sexual tourism but to
get to know this Caribbean isle, a place without discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, where physical or
psychological violence arising from these does not exist.

I would like to start thinking of Cuba as the country where structured,
institutional homophobia has disappeared, because the government finally
managed to identify the root of the problem and took action to guarantee
the wellbeing and rights of all Cubans.

Source: "Homophobia in Cuba: The Work Ahead of Us - Havana" -

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