[DEBATE] : Cuban Government Backs Calls to Combat Homophobia
critical.montages at gmail.com
Mon May 26 17:30:22 BST 2008
On Mon, May 26, 2008 at 11:28 AM, peter waterman
<p.waterman at inter.nl.net> wrote:
> An enormous abrazo (hug) for Mariela Castro!
> I think I might appreciate here, however, a national 'sorry' day, in which
> those who speak in the name of The Revolution, apologise for having taken
> almost a half century to catch up with the imperialist USA and capitalist
> Brazil in such matters. (If they wish to use it to admit their own sexual
> prejudices and pecadilos, that's OK by me too).
Some of the reforms on sexuality came in Cuba later than in richer
capitalist countries, but Cuba decriminalized sodomy in 1979 and
struck down, in 1988, the public ostentation laws which had remained
on the books since 1938 and had been sometimes employed against GLBTQ
individuals, whereas the USA, being derailed by Bowers v. Hardwick,
478 U.S. 186 (1986), didn't decriminalize sodomy till 2003 with
Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558.
I do agree with you, however, that the Cuban party ought to apologize
to GLBTQ individuals for a number of offenses against them that it had
committed in the course of the revolution.
> Any more than I am expecting, soon, racial equality for Blacks (how many of
> these are there in leadership positions?) or even a Black Pride day...or
In the USA, where the one-drop rule has ruled the ideology of race,
racial boundaries, especially between Blacks and others, have been
sharp; the rest of the Americas generally did not subscribe to the
one-drop rule. This is the crucial difference that has also shaped
politics of race ever since: activism based on Blackness as a social
identity has made much more sense in the USA, given its rigid
classification system, than in the rest of the Americas, where
boundaries have been more flexible, mixing has been more common (and
sometimes celebrated), and money whitened.
> The traditional left internationally has preferred to celebrate high levels
> of education and health care, whilst keeping silence about such matters.
That is probably because most leftists in all nations themselves were
trapped in homophobia till relatively recently, at least until the end
of the long sixties.
Moreover, practices and ideologies of sexuality have been more various
across (and even within) nations than matters such as education and
health care which are easy to compare internationally. Classification
of people into homosexuals, bisexuals, and heterosexuals was invented
by psychiatry in the late nineteenth century, and self-identification
based on this classification began to spread only slowly and
gradually, beginning with upper classes of Western capitalist
countries. This heterosexist regime of seuxlaity has yet to complete
its world conquest.
That said, debate on homosexuality in Cuba among foreign leftists was
not non-existent: see, for instance, Hidden from History: Reclaiming
the Gay and Lesbian Past, ed. by Martin Duberman.
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