Gay Life in Havana Today
IT WAS EVIDENT by the mid-1980s that Cuban gays had begun to feel much less intimidated by the state in relation to the way they publicly expressed the sexual dimension of their lives. They have become once again a visible part of street life in downtown Havana and to a lesser extent in some of the larger provincial cities. They are for the most part discreet in their public behavior, but no more so than homosexuals in most Latin American cities. Gays cruising on their own, as well as couples and larger groups socializing together, have become part of the street scene in Old Havana and Vedado. If their dress and behavior are largely indistinguishable from that of straight males, how do they recognize each other? "By the way they walk, by the way they look at you. When they gaze at you, they undress you," explained an old hand.
More and more, young gays are developing a sense of gay identity and consciousness. They are beginning to break out of their individual as well as national isolation. They are becoming aware of the growing rights of gay males in other countries and of