Cuba: “Socialism Yes, Homophobia No”May 22, 2014 | Print |
HAVANA TIMES — On Saturday, May 10, the seventh rally against homophobia took place in Cuba. I arrived at Havana’s ocean drive very early in the morning to witness the much-awaited event and to join the many gays, lesbians, transvestites, transsexuals and others who participated.
I believe all of us, no matter what we are like, are ultimately just that: people who have different sexual preferences and ways of dressing.
During the march, I saw a number of people holding up signs with slogans in support of the rally. They showed phrases such as “I am transsexual and like it,” “I am gay and my family loves me just the way I am,” “I love my son and respect diversity,” “My daughter is bisexual and I love her,” and others.
They were all written in the style of a music video by a band called Camila, which I’ve seen a number of times on TV. What struck me was that, on this occasion, I didn’t see anyone in the crowd holding up a sign demanding the legalization of same-sex marriages or the right of such couples to adopt children.
The other thing that struck me was that, at no point during the activities held Havana’s Pabellon Cuba later, did Mariela Castro say anything about those issues. She looked tired, uninterested in reading her speech and set on being diplomatic so as not offend anyone.
I have always sympathized with Mariela Castro. I know she does what she can for the LGTB movement in Cuba and takes things as far as they can go, or as far as they let her take them. She is a humble, well-tempered woman who conveys both confidence and self-assurance.
Something I still don’t understand is why they insist on linking the issue of homosexuality with politics. During the march, people shouted “socialism yes, homophobia no” in unison countless times. Of course, there was no shortage of the habitual “Long live Fidel and Raul!”
To top things off, Mariela availed herself of the situation to talk about the Cuban Five (who are no longer really five, but three).
There was no need to throw this into the mix that day. Everyone knows that there are many forums in Cuba devoted to the cause of the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States. Cuban television airs spots on the issue every day, and the news sometimes even hammer their case.
Our radio also divulges news about the Five and expresses the country’s wish that they return to Cuba soon.
I want the remaining prisoners to be freed as soon as possible also. However, what doesn’t quite fit into the way I see things is mixing the issue of homophobia with politics.
What’s more, neither Rene Gonzalez nor Fernando Gonzalez, two of the Five who have been released and are back in Cuba, were present at Pabellon Cuba to show support for either our cause or theirs, which amounts to offering the remaining prisoners moral support. We were offered no explanation as to the reasons for their absence. Nor do we know how the Five view the LGTB movement.
I can’t imagine anyone in New York (to mention one example) yelling something like “Capitalism yes, homophobia no!”, much less “Long live Obama!”, during Gay Pride Day. Perhaps that could happen, everything is possible, but I still wouldn’t understand it.