HAVANA TIMES — From May 4–18, the most important event for the Cuban LGBT community takes place, a drive against homophobia and transphobia.
This year, it is marked with a peculiar and much-needed CENESEX (Centro Nacional de Educación Sexual) campaign “for schools without homophobia and transphobia.”
Everything seems perfect, everyday it seems like the issues of homophobia and transphobia are being beaten, but there is another problem, one that continues to exist and which can’t even be controlled, and that is prostitution.
I will now tell you the story of Raul, a friend of mine, which is based on real events:
A teenager, he is only 19 years old, his name is Mario Hernandez, he lives in Alamar, with his grandparents, he doesn’t study, but he works, he works his body out every day at the gym, so he is in perfect physical condition, because Mario makes a living with his body.
It’s Friday, he leaves Alamar and he arrives at his destination, Vedado. Our boy walks down all of 23rd street, with a totally masculine swag, which is capable of making any girl who sees him fall crazily in love with him.
He’s arrived, the place is banging (that’s what he says to say that a place is busy), at the BimBom, on Infanta and 23rd Streets, there are always tourists there, it’s a sure bet.
Mario is wearing trousers that stick to his skin, which highlight his working tools, at the front and the back.
Leaning against the wall of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, he smokes a cigarette, while he works at looking at an apparently 55 year old man up and down, who according to him, could be his father.
The man approaches him, they introduce themselves, this time he isn’t Mario, now our friend is called Raul. The tourist was quite direct; he asked “how much do you ask for a night?”
Raul remains silent for a moment to give a bit of mystery and appear interesting, but he’s already thought about the price beforehand, 40 CUC for a whole night of Cuban sex. The foreigner accepts and takes him to Room 3 at the Ines Hostal, also on Infanta street.
The room is perfectly adapted for the encounter; they go in and begin to slowly kiss each other, Raul feels his phone vibrate for a second and asks to go to the bathroom so that Andres can start taking his clothes off.
He checks his phone in the bathroom, he has a missed call from his girlfriend; yup, Mario has a girlfriend who he’s been with for quite some time, but according to him, he has to make a living.
He finishes up in the bathroom and comes out into the room wearing fewer clothes, where the man is waiting for him to start the job.
Before starting, Raul warns the man that he won’t have sex without a condom; the tourist refuses, but convinces him by saying that he’ll pay 100 CUC to do it without protection. Both of them agreed and so the game finally started.
Raul woke up at 7 AM in the morning; he sees a note by his side and an envelope with 150 CUC inside. The message read: “Thank you for all the pleasure you gave me, I hope you never forget me, I’m already a part of you.” Puzzled by what he had just read, he leaves and goes to his home in the Alamar neighborhood.
Today, May 7th, it’s been two years since this story happened and Mario Hernandez is now here, at my home, crying, and telling me he has HIV.