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LGBTQ+ Community in Cuba 

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    Cuba is an island in the Caribbean that is perceived to be stuck in the 1960s. Due to the embargo that the United States placed on Cuba, it is not as developed, still having cars for the ’50s and ’60s as well as not having the advancements in medicine like many other developed nations. Cuba is one of five countries under communist control. Communism is the theory that all citizens should be equal with respect to goods, money, and property.

    The United States of America is located in North America between Mexico and Canada. Unlike Caba, the U.S hold about 33% of the world’s wealth, this allows the citizens of this country to have access to the best medicine and technology. The United States is one of 123 nations under control of a democracy. A democracy is the complete opposite of communism; the citizens have a say through their vote on who is in power and what laws will be passed.

    Cuba being often seen as underdeveloped and the U.S being known as one of the most developed nations in the world causes many to believe that the States are more progressive when it comes to controversial topics such as the LGBTQ+ community, but this is false. LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questions, and everyone in between. Lesbian is a “women whose emotional, social, political, and sexual orientation is towards women” (Majied 28).

    Gay can be used for both men and women but it is used more for “men whose emotional, social, political, and sexual orientation is towards men” (Majied 28). Both men and women can identify as bisexual which mean an “individual whose emotional social, political, and sexual orientation include both males and women” (Majied 29).

    Transgender is used for “people whose preferred gender identity differs from the one prescribed for them at birth based on the physical characteristics with which they were born” (Majied 29). When one states they are questioning that means that they are “in the process of evaluation or reevaluation their sexual orientation” (Majied 29). There is many other genders and sexual orientations under the acumen that are represented with the plus sign. Cuba and the United States are completely different countries that have independent past events, leaders, and ideas that affect the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.

    The LGBTQ+ use of the The National Centre for Sexual Education (CENESEX) after the AIDs outbreak allowed members to gain acceptance in Cuba. Many believed that to contract HIV/AIDs, a virus that inhibits the body to fight infections, you needed to be gay. This caused the LGBTQ+ community in Cuba to help citizens become educated on the virus because the government wasn’t doing it.

    Through the center, they held safe sex classes, distributed HIV prevention pamphlets, and free condoms (Motley 6). The director of CENESEX, Mariela Castro Espín, has also helped with the acceptance of the community. She is the daughter of Raul Castro and the niece of Fidel Castro her name gave her some advantage in helping progress Cuba’s mindset. Espín made it one of CENESEX responsibilities to plan celebrations for International Homophobia Day each year.

    After the first annual celebration in 2007, “ the National Program of Sexual Education and Sexual Health (ProNess) was rewritten… to include themes of diverse sexual orientation and gender identities, and the New Family Code, including the right for non-heteronormative families” (Kirk 118). This one day that allowed the LGBTQ+ to celebrate who they are caused a change in their rights to be similar to those of a heterosexual.

    If the LGBTQ+ community didn’t take the HIV/AIDs academic in their own hands and spread awareness that anyone can get this virus and how people in the community are humans too than ProNess wouldn’t have been changed. The Stonewall Inn is a gay bar on 53 Christopher Street, New York NY 10014, where the 1969 riots took place. Four cops entered the bar for their monthly raid. They were waiting for the van to take the people who were arrested and alcohol back to the police station.

    A large crowd was outside the bar waiting to get in not know that Stormé DeLarverie was inside fighting with the four cops. When the van finally came they threw her into it and this is when the crowd went began to attack. They began to fight the cops until backup came and got them out of the situation. Any gay bar at this time got raided once a month. The only way to make sure your alcohol and people weren’t taken was by paying off the officers.

    DeLarverie was sick of the torment and decided to stand up. After the riot, it leads to the first pride parade as a form of protesting. “The Stonewall Riots of late 1969 are commonly taken to mark the birth of the gay liberation movement” (Meyer 441). The riots were the start of the LGBTQ+ community realizing that they can have their voices heard and be able to fight for respect and acceptance. Leaders help guide people and the leader of Cuba and the U.S are major aspects on why the amount of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community is vastly different.

    Cuba was under the control of Fidel Castro from 1958 to 2008. Two years after giving dictatorship to his brother Raúl Castro he “formally apologized for the UMAP camps and the pervasive homophobia of the 1960s”( Kirk 119). The UMAP camps were Military Units to Aid Production labor camps that homosexual men would be forced into. This caused many to pretend to be something they weren’t.

    Castro didn’t allow his pride to get in the way and stated, “We had so man and such terrible problems, problems of life or death. In those moments I was not able to deal with the matter of homosexuals. [Homosexuality] is a natural aspect and tendency of human beings.” (Motley 2). Having a leader say that being homosexual is natural and there is nothing wrong with them helps others to accept it because they saw Castro as an intelligent man.

    The United States had George W. Bush as president from 2001 to 2009. A president is elected by the people, unlike Cuba where they were forced into having their leader. President Bush wasn’t as accepting and open-minded as Castro was. Bush stated, “Our policies should aim to strengthen family structure, not undermine them, and changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure” in response to ProNess in Cuba including the New Family Code (Wickham 11a).

    This was President Bush’s way to say that a family can only consist of a man and women. He supported a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. Having such a negative view and wanting to go so far as to make a constitution to ban what should be a basic right for people in the United States affects people’s perception of the community. People voted for Bush trusting him to build the country in the right direction so him being public about his disagreement with the LGBTQ+ community allowed others to be so open about negative views.

    Cuba’s ideas are based on education and respect which help bring acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. The Cuban Communist Party (PCC) made a large change to their “Fundamental Principles- the basis on which the Party’s ideology is communicated- to include respect for sexual diversity” (Kirk 119). The PPC also noted that it is important for all citizens to have rights at their 2016 National Economic and Social Development Plan.

    These changes help show how to respect the LGBTQ+ community. Cuba also tries to educate citizens. CENESEX with a few other groups similar in Cuba “began working to help educate families to accept gay and lesbian relationships” (Motley 7). Their goal was to explain to families that is isn’t healthy to reject their child, grandchild, brother, sister, etc. Rejection from family is the leading cause of suicide and depression in the LGBTQ+ community and CENESEX tried to show families that to hopefully get them to accept their blood. Respect and education go hand and hand in Cuba to further acceptance for these humans. The United States, on the other hand, don’t employ these same ideals.

    Expect acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community is contributed to many other factors. Citizens in the United States are prone to being around people similar to them and don’t find the courage to state their different thoughts. For one to accept a person who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community is “based on the size of the Evangelical population [and] the education level of citizens” (Hume 1098). If one lives in an area that is highly religious then they are less likely to accept the LGBTQ+ community because they are taught that being gay is a sin.

    They don’t have the education to know otherwise. The lower the education level is the more likely the person is to believe the negative connotations with the LGBTQ+ community because they are likely to believe everything their leaders believe. The U.S doesn’t provide its citizens with the tools to educate or show its citizens how to respect the LGBTQ+. Overall, Cuba is more progressive when it comes to acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community compared to the United States.

    Cuba has the CENESEX planing International Homophobia Day which helped laws to get a change in favor of the community, Fidel Castro being able to admit the wrongs of Cuba towards the homosexuals in the 60s, and they show their citizens how to be respectful and educate them on the unknown. The United States instead had police raiding Gay Bars to add more trouble into their lives, had President Bush openly state that the community shouldn’t get married, and don’t teach their citizens on how being in the acronym is natural. This causes the LGBTQ+ community to continue to go through discrimination and violence in 2018. The United States, a developed nation, should take notes for this country stuck in the 60s.

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    LGBTQ+ Community in Cuba . (2021, Sep 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/lgbtq-community-in-cuba/

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