viernes, 27 de noviembre de 2015

A New Campaign For Marriage Equality Announced

A New Campaign For Marriage Equality Announced / 14ymedio, Orlando Palma
Posted on November 26, 2015

14ymedio, Orlando Palma, Havana, 25 November 2015 — After forty years
together, Roberto's partner died this year from a respiratory condition,
but he will not collect a penny of the widow's pension because in Cuba
same-sex unions are not legally recognized or protected. Situations like
this are in the sights of several independent organizations that demand
rights for the LGBTI community, and that have just launched a campaign
for marriage equality.

"We also love," is the slogan under which different civil society groups
will demand a legal framework that allows unions between people of the
same sex, and equality of rights between homosexuals and heterosexuals.
The initiative was presented to the press this Tuesday and will go
public on the first of December.

Among the groups involved in the project is Corriente Martiana (Current
[José] Martí), which is working on this project in coordination with the
Cuban Foundation for LGBTI Rights, led by Nelson Gandulla in Cienfuegos
province, and which shares the lead in the new campaign with the
Integration Project of the Gay Community in Cuba led by Navit Fernandez
in Havana.

Other entities not directly related to the LGTBI environment have begun
to get involved in the project after being invited to show solidarity,
such as the Candidates for Change project.

The organizers have developed several initiatives. including the
presentation of a written request to the People's Power delegates during
weekly office hours they have with their constituents. Each of the
activists should ask for a receipt that gives evidence of the request
and that will accompany the collective petition that is finally delivered.

The collective petition will be delivered to the National Center for Sex
Education (CENESEX) and the Cuban Parliament, Moises Leonardo,
spokesperson for the Corriente Martiana, explained to 14ymedio.

"First we will present it in municipal assemblies, then in the provinces
and finally to the National Assembly of People's Power. We will seek the
support of artists and personalities of our culture, as well as a number
of independent civil society organizations that want to join us. The
campaign starts the first of December and will last six months, but even
when that date has passed it will be ongoing."

This campaign seeks to protect a couple's rights, such as inheritance or
insurance payments with respect to accidents at work, as well as
obtaining legal protection for the distribution of property in the case
of a separation.

"The intention is to climb one more step in the defense of human rights
for a sector of the population. Practice tells us that the LGBTI
community is very united in defense of their rights, and that encourages
us a lot," added Leonardo.

Source: A New Campaign For Marriage Equality Announced / 14ymedio,
Orlando Palma | Translating Cuba -

jueves, 26 de noviembre de 2015

Activista de la comunidad LGBT de Pinar del Río denuncia acoso policial

Activista de la comunidad LGBT de Pinar del Río denuncia acoso policial
DDC | La Habana | 26 Nov 2015 - 12:23 am.

Leodán Suárez, líder del proyecto de apoyo a la comunidad LGBT de Pinar
del Río Luz de vida, denunció el miércoles en declaraciones a DIARIO DE
CUBA que la Seguridad del Estado le está acosando con amenazas y
citaciones informales, a las que se niega a acudir.

Suárez fue interceptado por agentes de la Seguridad del Estado cuando se
dirigía a un centro sanitario la mañana del miércoles. Le comunicaron
oralmente que debía acudir a una estación policial para "tratar asuntos

Posteriormente tres agentes fueron a su casa y comunicaron a su madre
que su hijo tenía 24 horas para presentarse ante la policía. En caso
contrario, "tomarían medidas contra mí y me tocaría pagar una multa que
jamás podría olvidar", explica el activista.

Suárez se niega a acudir a la cita ya que no ha sido informada por
escrito y cumpliendo con formalidades legales. "No he cometido ningún
crimen", recuerda el activista.

El opositor tiene en Pinar del Río un centro de información y ayuda a
miembros de la comunidad LGBT y personas con VIH. "Parece que toda esta
actividad les molesta mucho y por esto ahora sucede todo esto", señala

Source: Activista de la comunidad LGBT de Pinar del Río denuncia acoso
policial | Diario de Cuba -

lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2015

Behind the rainbow curtain - Cuba's queer revolution

Behind the rainbow curtain: Cuba's queer revolution
16 NOV 2015 - 8:19 AM

Cuba is the land of libré, home of the revolución. Its LGBT liberation
is a relatively new phenomenon, widely reported as a result of advocacy
from a daughter of the Castro family. Yet behind closed doors and away
from international eyes, the ongoing violence against LGBT people, HIV
misinformation, and a gay culture created for tourists tells a different
story. As all of Cuba prepares for the post-embargo age, are its queers
experiencing genuine libré, or are they puppets of agitprop?

"This is a special time. Everything is changing but we are still what we
used to be. Now is the perfect moment" - Linnett Hernandez Valdes, Cuban
actress and LGBT ally.
In Havana, the primary source of income is tourism. As with any economy
reliant on international visitors, locals are very friendly and warm.
This also means discovering the real Havana, not just the
tourist-friendly parts, can be difficult. Fortunately I was on tour with
Glory Box, a decidedly queer cabaret headlining the Havana Theatre
Festival and through that, I managed to meet some local queers that
helped me discover Havana's deeper layers of LGBT.

The first queer Cuban I met was Miguel. A local writer/director in his
late twenties, the theatre festival assigned him to our show as our
translator and guide, or as he put it "I will be your best friend in
Cuba!". Miguel explained to me that much has changed in the last seven
years in Cuba since Maria Castro (daughter of President Raul Castro)
began her highly visible campaign for LGBT equality.

In today's Cuba, he explained, there is much openness with one's
sexuality and gender identity. The government pays for gender
reassignment surgery, and queer gatherings have moved from the
underground to the tourist strip. This is not without issue given Cuba's
dual currencies and clubs being too expensive for most locals to attend.

Some queer activists view Maria Castro's campaign for LGBT equality with
suspicion and more than a little frustration - grass-roots campaigns had
been toiling away on the issue for years before the Castro family
decided queer was cool.

Indeed, this LGBT visibility sits in stark contrast to the
post-revolutionary persecution of LGBT, endorsed by the Castro family.
In the 1970s while parts of the world were experiencing "Gay Lib", Cuba
was still sending some LGBT citizens to work camps. Miguel went to great
pains to explain to me these weren't hard labour camps ("They didn't
work very hard"), but rather were a way of removing the problematic
queers from the general population.

This is very much in the past, and any culture around the world has its
tale of queer woe be it today, ten years ago, or at the turn of the last
century. Despite this unsavoury history, queer Cuba has existed for some
time in spite of extreme opposition.

In the small city of Santa Clara, a queer oasis has existed for more
than 30 years. Santa Clara is sort of a Cuban version of San Francisco,
a bohemian mix of queers, musicians and artists. Another Havana local,
Alejandro, told me about the incredible El Mejunje. A nightclub and
gathering space for queers, artists, and outsiders, El Mejunje runs a
weekly "live talk show" hosted by a mix of drag queens, lesbians and
queers. The divas of El Mejunje take their live shows into the mountain
towns that surround Santa Clara to help educate people about LGBT
liberation, a much needed form of activism given what I was about to
learn at a visit to the local LGBT/HIV centre.

Cuba and Australia share some similarities with the HIV epidemic, and
some stark differences. In both countries, gay men - or more
specifically men who have sex with men (MSM) - make up the majority of
people living with HIV (between 70-75 per cent of in both countries).
Both countries have roughly the same number of people living with HIV
(between 23,000-26,000). Cuba's HIV prevalence is just shy of 0.2% of
the total population (11 million), making it the lowest in the Caribbean.

I visited the only LGBT/HIV drop-in centre in Havana. It houses a number
of organisations including Siempre Conmigo, which provides HIV support
services and prevention for Havana's MSM population.

Siempre Conmingo's director, Gustvao Valdés Pi, is a handsome yet
exhausted looking gay man in his early 40s. He told me that education
and engagement around HIV prevention remains a huge challenge in Cuba,
as most young gay men are more interested in the influx of iPhones than
STIs. Syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and TB infections are all
relatively high as a result of low testing.

HIV treatment is free (in fact, HIV-positive Cubans are provided meds
and meals by the state, given the importance of having a meal with many
medications). However, the embargo has lead to some issues with HIV
treatments arriving regularly (access to pharmaceuticals was one of the
first things the US cut off, meaning Cuba relies on shipments from
China, as well as manufacturing their own generic versions). The
treatments available are certainly not frontline, with most HIV-positive
Cubans still needing to take multiple pills per day. When I showed
Gustavo my bottle of one-a-day pills, he just shook his head and shrugged.

As with other parts of the world, even in highly developed nations such
as New Zealand, when access to frontline HIV treatments is limited, the
community's knowledge about genuine HIV transmission risk is equally
behind the times. The idea of PrEP (the HIV prevention pill) is as
foreign to Cubans as Reaganomics. My guide Miguel said he had heard
about PrEP through a bootlegged episode of How to Get Away With Murder,
and literally believed it was made up for the show.

This means that when it comes to HIV prevention, condoms are the only
method of protection. Unfortunately, condoms aren't that cheap given the
average income for young people is $20 AUD per-month. Add to that, lube
is even harder to come by (pardon the pun). When I asked Miguel if he
understood that condoms are only effective with the right lubricant, he
shrugged and said most guys just use spit.

However, Gustavo had a seemingly endless supply of condoms and lube at
the HIV/LGBT drop-in centre, and he shoved a box of them in my Miguel's
hands. My new friend's eyes lit up, like it was gay Christmas.So if
Siempre Conmingo had free condoms to give away, why didn't more Havana
gays make the most of the building?

Gustavo revealed that stigma relating to being gay or MSM was actually
worse than HIV stigma (one might suggest we face the opposite issue in
Australia). Getting men to walk through the door of the drop-in centre
is a big issue, and the gay clubs (traditionally the scene of much HIV
prevention outreach) are geared towards tourists, not locals.

It seems that for all the visible work done by Maria Castro, there is
still a hidden world of extreme homophobia that many Cubans are not
talking about. I asked Gustavo what would be the first thing he would
change about being LGBT in Cuba, and his response was heartbreaking.

"Behind closed doors there is still violence, with LGBT being kicked out
of their homes, or told they cannot be with their partners."
"The biggest problem is the treatment of LGBT at home," he said, with
all the weary anger of someone who has had to say this over and over.
"Behind closed doors there is still violence, with LGBT being kicked out
of their homes, or told they cannot be with their partners."

When pressed about this violence, Gustavo told me he estimated one-third
of murders in Cuba not economically motivated were a result of LGBT
violence. When I remarked at how astonishing the figure was, he shrugged
and said it was an estimate. Actual data on LGBT in Cuba is hard to come
by, especially for the trans community who are excluded from surveys and
studies (like most places in the world).

In a culture that, away from tourist eyes, still isolates and in some
cases murders its LGBT citizens, it's easy to see how marriage equality
seems like an impossible goal. For some, it is a very real desire
though, which I learnt when chatting with a young Cuban by the name of

Source: Behind the rainbow curtain: Cuba's queer revolution | Programs -

lunes, 9 de noviembre de 2015

La homofobia alrededor de Carlota

La homofobia alrededor de Carlota
¿Por qué no se animan Mariela Castro y su CENESEX para que la historia
oficialista suene menos intolerante?
lunes, noviembre 9, 2015 | Felix Bonné Carcasés

LA HABANA, Cuba – En los últimos tiempos, la prensa oficialista cubana
le ha dado una gran cobertura a la persona de Carlota, líder de la
sublevación de esclavos centrada en el antiguo ingenio matancero
Triunvirato. Esto me ha animado a evocar unos recuerdos de mi lejana
adolescencia, que pueden ayudar a iluminar otra faceta de ese personaje

En el libro de Corintios, al hablar de "la preeminencia del amor", la
Biblia refleja la fuerza tremenda que puede alcanzar este sentimiento.
En otras culturas, épocas y contextos, ha quedado plasmada también esa
gran verdad. Entre los monumentos literarios escritos al respecto, se
cuentan El arte de amar, de Ovidio, El libro de buen amor, del
Arcipreste de Hita, la magnífica novela Sor Juana de los Ángeles, sin
olvidar Romeo y Julieta, de Shakespeare.

La historia que me propongo narrar data de 1953. En aquella época,
teniendo yo catorce años, me la contó una señora ya muy viejita –decía
tener 91 años– nombrada Evarista. Ella tenía una situación familiar
precaria, y por eso mi abuela y mi madre la ayudaban casi a diario con
excedentes de nuestra comida. También tenía una bisnieta algo mayor que
yo, de la cual me enamoré, aunque sin ser correspondido.

Cuando la señora Evarista no podía acudir en persona a buscar la comida,
me brindé –por razones obvias– para llevársela a su casa, ubicada a tres
cuadras de la nuestra. En esas ocasiones, la ancianita solía
entretenerme con sus historias. También me alertaba de manera discreta
sobre la ferocidad que pueden entrañar las garras de un amor poco

Evarista citaba las narraciones de su abuelo, que perteneció a la
dotación del ingenio Triunvirato y estaba locamente enamorado de la
esclava Carlota. Ésta, según ese testimonio, era muy bella. No debe
haberse parecido –pues– a los horrorosos dibujos de ella que ha
publicado la prensa castrista, exceptuando quizás al que aparece en el
Juventud Rebelde del primero de noviembre. Como dato curioso, puedo
mencionar que esta última imagen parece el vivo retrato de la sobrina de

Por su belleza, Carlota era muy asediada por los demás esclavos, que
nada obtenían de ella. En ocasiones era violada por los amos, lo cual
seguramente encendió aún más su espíritu rebelde y sus ansias
libertarias. Poseía dotes de líder, y las mujeres y hombres de la
dotación la seguían de manera espontánea.

Cerca del Triunvirato había casi una docena de otros ingenios. Por
aquella época era costumbre, al menos en Matanzas, permitir que los
esclavos –si no otros, sí los de "buen comportamiento" – visitasen esos
lugares vecinos con el fin de intercambiar viandas y otros artículos.
Fue así que Carlota conoció a Fermina, esclava de la dotación del
ingenio Ácana. Cuentan que al instante surgió entre ambas una pasión

Los planes de sublevación del Triunvirato estaban ya muy avanzados, pero
aún no había llegado la fecha escogida. Pero quiso la casualidad que
Fermina fuese castigada y enviada al cepo. Carlota, al saberlo,
enloqueció y adelantó el alzamiento. Toda la furia contenida por los
siglos de explotación y tortura estalló aquel día en Triunvirato.

Tan pronto los insurrectos controlaron ese ingenio, la enardecida
Carlota partió para el Ácana y liberó a su amada. De paso también le
ajustó las cuentas a un tal Evaristo, quien, aunque al parecer sin que
existiera un verdadero amor entre ambos, había sido hasta aquel momento
el marido de Fermina.

Después los sublevados siguieron hacia otras plantaciones de la zona,
cuyas dotaciones también lograron alzar. La insurrección duró hasta que
fueron cercados y derrotados en el ingenio San Rafael. Allí fueron
apresadas –entre otros– las dos amantes; ambas fueron ajusticiadas.
Resumiendo: en Carlota hubo ansias de libertad, pero también amor y pasión.

Pienso que los honores que le ha rendido el gobierno cubano a la jefa
insurrecta son correctos y merecidos. Pero también lo sería que, en vez
de hablar tonterías sobre la acción de Carlota para liberar a una
"amiga", se dijese algo más cercano a la verdad. ¿Se animarán el Cenesex
y su jefa Mariela Castro a hacerle siquiera un modesto homenaje?

Source: La homofobia alrededor de Carlota | Cubanet -

viernes, 6 de noviembre de 2015



While marriage equality is currently illegal in Cuba, it may not stay
that way for long. At this year's Pride festival in May, activists
staged a symbolic mass gay wedding, and one of Cuba's leading LGBTQ
activists is Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro (and
niece of Cuba's previous long-term leader, Fidel Castro). She is also
the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education in Havana
(or CENESEX), and is a sitting member of Cuba's parliament, the National
Assembly of People's Power.
Ms. Castro says her father also supports same-sex marriage, however a
bill submitted to Parliament to make it legal has been stalled since
2014. However, a new campaign, "Nosotros también amamos" ("We Also
Love"), which takes advantage of the processes (link in Spanish) laid
out by the Cuban Constitution for citizens to propose legislation.

According to Cuban law, issues may be brought to legislation via working
their way up from neighborhood assemblies to the municipal level, from
there to the provincial level, finally up to the national level. It is
hoped that the issue can move forward in Parliament with the backing of
the citizenry combined with CENESEX and Ms. Castro's efforts.

Nosotros también amamos has been organized by the LGBTQ organization La
Corriente Martiana, but has been endorsed by two other LGBTQ
organizations, the Cuban Foundation for LGBT Rights and the social media
group Shui Tuix.

The campaign officially begins on December 1, and the three groups are
distributing pamphlets with directions on bringing this issue before the
different levels of government, and the proposal is available online at
Facebook (link in Spanish).

Source: Will Gay Marriage Come To Cuba? -

jueves, 5 de noviembre de 2015

En planes una campaña para legalizar matrimonio gay en Cuba

En planes una campaña para legalizar matrimonio gay en Cuba
La petición ciudadana "Nosotros también amamos" busca que en Cuba se
apruebe el matrimonio igualitario y cuenta con la representación de
organizaciones de la sociedad civil.
Idolidia Darias /
noviembre 04, 2015

"Nosotros también amamos" es una campaña que busca consenso nacional
para llevar a la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular de la República de
Cuba una petición ciudadana que apruebe el matrimonio igualitario.

Cuenta con la representación de organizaciones la sociedad civil cubana,
heterosexuales y homosexuales dentro de la isla.

La Corriente Martiana, institución heterosexual que brinda servicios a
la sociedad civil, es la gestora de la campaña, dijo a Martí Noticias su
director Moisés Leonardo Rodríguez.

Esta propuesta la secundan la Fundación Cubana por los Derechos LGTBI,
dirigida por Nelson Gandulla y el proyecto gay SHUI TUIX, dirigido por
Nabit Fernández desde una página de Facebook.

Las tres organizaciones piden que la Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular
debata la legalización del matrimonio igualitario y que finalmente se
legalice este tipo de unión.

Toda persona, independientemente de su orientación sexual, que quiera
apoyar esta petición a favor de la comunidad LGTBI y sus derechos, puede
hacerlo a través de las vías de la Constitución, precisó Rodríguez.

Sacando provecho de la Constitución

La ley es muy clara sobre las estructuras para hacer reclamaciones y
cada miembro de la sociedad que quiera enviar la propuesta debe partir
desde las asambleas de base y luego transitar por las municipales,
provinciales hasta llegar a la Asamblea Nacional.

"Los cubanos se han adaptado a que todo venga de instancias superiores
pero esta vez hemos decidido tomar la iniciativa de forma directa,
aprovechando las posibilidades que brinda la constitución vigente en
Cuba y que es muy clara sobre las manera de hacer reclamaciones. Desde
esa premisa vamos a partir", dijo a Martí Noticias, Nabit Fernández.

"Lo que nos interesa es que se apruebe el matrimonio igualitario y vamos
por las mismas brechas que da la Constitución en los artículos 41 y 42
que dice "Todos los ciudadanos gozan de iguales derechos y están sujetos
a iguales deberes"; y sanciona y proscribe la discriminación por motivo
de raza, color de la piel, sexo, origen nacional, creencias religiosas y
cualquier otra lesiva a la dignidad humana.

Desde el año 2007, Mariela Castro Espín, directora del Centro Nacional
de Educación Sexual (CENESEX), ha prometido ante los medios de prensa
hacer una petición a favor del reconocimiento de los matrimonios
igualitarios en Cuba en la Asamblea Nacional.

"Las dos veces que lo ha intentado le han quitado la palabra y no se ha
debatido, por esa razón decidimos tomar la iniciativa de forma directa",
indicó el activista Nabit Fernández, quien fue profesor y especialista
de supervisión y control en la Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas (UCI).

¿Cómo impulsar la campaña?

Moisés Rodríguez explicó que los grupos gestores de la campaña
contactarán directamente a las personas para que hagan las propuestas en
las asambleas de barrio.

Fernández coincide en que este es el primer paso, aunque advierte que
también se plantean involucrar al CENESEX:

"Pensamos que aunque Mariela Castro no haya logrado nada hasta el
momento, el CENESEX, como institución sí tiene el poder para influir, si
está respaldado por una petición ciudadana, puesto que es un centro
estatal y su directora es miembro de la Asamblea Nacional del Poder

La campaña comenzará oficialmente el 1 de diciembre, con tres grandes
actividades en las provincias Artemisa, La Habana y Cienfuegos.

Los promotores piensan distribuir plegables e impresos para que las
personas comiencen a conocer que los involucrados en el tema son la
Corriente Martina, Shuix Tuix y la Fundación LGTBI donde explican a la
gente cuáles son los pasos que deben dar.

Además, la propuesta circula ya por páginas de Facebook y en la web Un
gay en La Habana.

Source: En planes una campaña para legalizar matrimonio gay en Cuba -

sábado, 24 de octubre de 2015

Mariela Castro Absent from Human Rights Hearing on LGBTI Discrimination in Cuba

Mariela Castro Absent from Human Rights Hearing on LGBTI Discrimination
in Cuba / 14ymedio
Posted on October 23, 2015

14ymedio, 20 October 2015 — An independent group of transgender
activists in Cuba denounced for the first time, on Monday, LGBTI
discrimination on the island before the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights (IACHR). Mariela Castro, director of the National Center
for Sex Education (Cenesex), however, did not participate in the
meeting, in which the lawyer James L. Cavallaro and other members of the
— Tracy Robinson and Felipe Gonzalez — listened for an hour to the
testimony of several speakers, such as Juana Mora Cedeno, from Free
Rainbow; the transgender Sisy Montiel from the Transfantasy Network, and
Carlos Quezada, from the Institute on Race Equality and Human Rights.

Quezada acknowledged the "visibility" of the subject in Cuba, lamenting
that it is associated with one name, that of the daughter of Cuban
president Raul Castro. "However, such visibility at the international
level contrasts with the real human rights situation for members of the
LGBTI community in Cuba," he explained. "Members of the independent
community in defense of LGBTI rights in Cuba wonder what would happen
with the visibility of the issue on the island, if the Mariela Castro
were not in Cenesex," he added.

The activists Cedeno and Montiel have petitioned the Cuban authorities
to avoid discrimination based on sexual orientation, with no
response. Both also affirmed that they are victims of police
surveillance and the tapping of their phones and added that agents of
State Security questioned them about their possible participation in the
last Summit of the Americas.

Cedano highlighted that the lack of official data on the rights of LGBTI
people, which has been collected in independent surveys. These surveys
have put into relief the discrimination and abuses against the
community, including by the Cuban authorities themselves.

The activist pointed out the discrimination in the workplace and
denounced the impunity enjoyed by these discriminatory attitudes towards
homosexual, lesbian and transgender people.

Sisy Montiel, sentenced to 17 years for "female mannerisms," talked
about the marginalization from an early age of young boys who want to
dress like girls, warning that this condition forces them to leave
school and thus end up in prostitution.

Source: Mariela Castro Absent from Human Rights Hearing on LGBTI
Discrimination in Cuba / 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -