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Cuba Holds Huge Gay Pride Parade


Cuba’s LGBT community held a giant parade and gay pride event in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood over the weekend. Hundreds of gay, lesbian, bisexuals, and trans folks were on hand to celebrate being out of the closet for the first time…well…ever. The Cuban LGBT community has made huge strides over the last few years due in no small part to Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela Castro. She has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights in a country that has historically been draconian in its treatment of the LGBT community. Besides the usual Latino prejudice born of the magic combo of machismo and religious intolerance, the Communist regime in Cuba enacted strict laws curbing homosexual rights almost from the beginning. Due in no small part to the influence of homophobic attitudes from the U.S.S.R, Cuba’s leaders branded homosexuality as being counter-revolutionary. I’m not sure what one thing has to do with the other but there you have it.

My family had first hand experience with this. My aunt is a lesbian and her coming out to my grandparents in her teens was one of the things that prompted their leaving Cuba. My grandparents had seen what the Castro government did with LGBT youth. A young gay neighbor of my family died in one of Cuba’s many “reeducation” camps while they tried to “chase the gay away” through Communist indoctrination. During the 80’s and 90’s, thousands of gay men were quarantined in special camps for fear that they would spread HIV in the community. Needless to say, marriage equality is a long way off. Changes in the marriage code have been proposed and shot down by the Communist party. But baby steps are better than nothing, right?

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