Machos, Maricones, and Gays: Cuba and Homosexuality

Machos, Maricones, and Gays: Cuba and Homosexuality

Machos, Maricones, and Gays: Cuba and Homosexuality

Machos, Maricones, and Gays: Cuba and Homosexuality

Synopsis

Since the Cuban revolution in 1959, male homosexuality has been a controversial aspect of Cuban society. In this strikingly honest and accurate portrayal of homosexual life, Ian Lumsden explores the treatment of male homosexuality under Castro within the framework of prerevolution prejudices and preconceptions. His remarkable first-hand report links the cultural history and current erosion of traditional "machismo", the correlation between traditional women's roles and the relationships between gay men, and homosexuality as defined by the law and as presented in typical sexual education. From the international controversy over state-imposed sanatoriums for HIV/AIDS patients to the underground gay social scene to the issues affecting gay life and family ties, Lumsden explores the differences between being publicly gay and being privately gay in Cuba.

Excerpt

This book is a gay Canadian's attempt to come to terms with the Cuban revolutionary process and the place of homosexuals within it. To understand the pages that follow the reader needs to know my own viewpoint and preconceptions. Therefore this introduction serves to introduce the author as well as the subject.

Postrevolutionary Cuba has at various times filled me with hope and admiration, exasperation and frustration, anger and despair. I have admired the social changes that have benefited countless Cubans, and I have been outraged by the Castro regime's authoritarian treatment of some of its citizens, including friends of mine, who have been jailed, forced into exile, or cowed in their daily lives. I have marveled at the formulation and implementation of programs that the rest of Latin America cries out for. Yet I have also been exasperated by the regime's bureaucratic nature and disgusted by its dogmatic imposition of policies that were foredoomed to failure and that inevitably brought hardships to ordinary Cubans. Along with many Cubans I have loved and hated Fidel Castro, a "bad daddy" if ever there was one. I have always empathized with the Cuban people--surely among the warmest and most generous people in the world--who do not deserve the hardships that have been imposed upon them, particularly by the U.S. economic blockade.

My first visit to Cuba was in 1965, when I spent six months there doing research for my Ph.D. thesis. It was an intellectually and politically stimulating time, one that was full of optimism about the future of Cuba. I stayed in a run-down hotel in Old Havana, eating my meals with fellow students in the university canteen--chiefly rice and beans. Although I enjoyed a few privileges, mostly derived from a press card that I had engineered before leaving Canada, I lived much more simply than the majority of foreign residents in Cuba, almost all of whom were working on contracts that afforded them far better lifestyles than most Cubans enjoyed. I believe that I had more . . .

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