The Silent Debate

Mariela Castro told the international press that there is a debate in Cuba about sexual diversity. Homosexuality nevertheless remains a taboo subject for Cuban society and a problem treated with silence by the government and its media. The path passes through several sticking points that the authorities dare not bring up for discussion in a macho society.

After Raul Castro came to power, his daughter achieved official recognition of the day against homophobia on the island, and government authorization for change of sex. She has also worked on the presentation of various legislative initiatives.

The most important matter is the presentation of a draft law amending the Family Code, to legalize unions between people of the same sex. But official sanction of gay relationships with the same rights as heterosexual marriage does not guarantee the elimination of homophobia.

Nor will it eliminate the widespread idea that homosexuals are bad people. Much less the harassment and contempt of the police. The Spanish magazine Interview denounced the jailing of 700 homosexuals without charges being brought against them. The special article was published this month under the title “The Revolution is for Machos.”

On the island, homosexuals are extended recognition as a social group. This fact does not imply acceptance.  When a Cuban is asked – Are you in favor of the legal recognition of marriages between two persons of the same sex, or that they should be given rights to adopt? – the most common response is a resounding no.

Most Cubans do not accept the adoption of children by homosexuals, a right that stems from the recognition of a marriage relationship. The situation indicates that there should not be a rush to approve an amendment of this nature, without first encouraging a national debate.

In this regard, the government’s failure to raise and protect the rights of these people is total. Its actions go no further than having a parade, one day a year. As long as they are not recognized as a social group with political rights, their interests will never be debated in the National Assembly. It is not sufficient to have tolerance campaigns using homosexual symbols.

Ultimately, it is not whether or not to protect the rights of homosexuals. Their relationships are a reality that must be taken into account from the legal point of view. The legal recognition of their personal situation does not imply their protection.

The individual rights of all Cubans are seriously violated on the island. They first need guarantees and impartial courts, in order to defend their rights as individuals. We will never reach that point while the debate remains silent.

Laritza Diversent

Translated by: Tomás A.

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