Fidel Castro takes responsibility for injustices against gays in Cuba as a new sexual revolution begins

2 Mar

Fidel Castro has officially gone on the record admitting that many injustices against homosexuals in Cuba after the 1959 revolution fall squarely on his shoulders. “He said in an interview with La Jordana, a Mexican newspaper, “If someone is responsible, it is me.” For A man like Castro to make such an admission after some half century of gay persecution in Cuba is a tremendous step toward beginning to heal wounds and remedy the situation fr LGBT persons still living on the island.

 Beginning in the early 1960’s, Cuba underwent what could be termed as a homosexual cleansing of sorts in which people identified as gay were often removed from their jobs, imprisoned or “re-educated.” The reeducation process was not too unlike that used in the United States today by some evangelical organizations sans the religion portion. The normal process is starvation and isolation until the person in question can be mental and physically broken down and brainwashed into a new way of thinking. Castro accepted sole responsibility for not paying attention to this accepted form of abuse.

Until 1979, homosexuality was a criminal offense in Cuba, and actual sex between two same sex persons was illegal until the mid 90’s, but in the Cuba of the 21st century there is now talk of ratifying same sex marriage measures to grant homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual partners. While some are championing Fidel Castro for his admissions of institutionalized discrimination against homosexuals being tolerated in Cuba, others are laying the praise at the feet of his brother Raul Castro who is now in power. People doing either are not wholly correct – it is Mariela Castro that is the force behind this conceptual change in ideology.

Mariela Castro is the daughter of Raul Castro and is a staunch advocate for the need to get effective sex education programs in place and change the prevailing negative attitudes toward all minorities on the island around to a positive light – not just gays. If she is successful in pushing her agenda through the assembly, Cuba will actually be among the most liberal Latin American countries, if not the leader, when it comes to rights and protections for homosexual and transsexual people. The main focus of her agenda is to allow for legal same sex unions, transgender persons to change their sex on ID cards without having a GRS procedure, and inheritance rights.

In order to help get her ideas into action as quickly as possible she has consciously decided not to use the word “marriage” in the legislation she has prepared at the request of the LGBT community who fear it may significantly delay or prevent passage of the measure. Mariela Castro has also stated that her father is behind her in this initiative and has only advised her to go slow and stay the course.

 Championing human rights is actually not a new concept for her as her mother was a leading advocate for women’s rights. She did intimate that when she was young her father was a “macho homophobic”, but he has mellowed quite a bit as he has aged. Mariela has operated a sex education center for some time now which also serves as a safe haven for transsexuals where they can get counseling and support.

Although the government may be taking a more liberal and embracing posture towards homosexuals, for many Cubans homosexuals are still seen as ill people, or people with a character flaw. Years of institutionalized discrimination and government organized anti-gay rallies have embedded that type of mentality in many citizens which they are unable or in some cases unwilling to shake. The overwhelming sentiment however seems to be that most people feel homosexuality is wrong, but not criminal and that gay people should be allowed to live their lives so long as doing so does not detract from others living theirs.

Sources:
La Jordana
Bbc.co.uk

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