Cuba Hub




Not All Gay Activists Cheering Mariela Castro's U.S. Visit

MarielaCastroMariela Castro, daughter of current Cuban president Raul Castro and niece of infamous leader Fidel, traveled to the United States this week to fight for LGBT rights, a cause she has championed for years in her home country.

"If we don't change our patriarchal and homophobic culture...we cannot advance as a new society, and that's what we want, the power of emancipation through socialism," Ms. Castro told medical professionals at a lecture in San Francisco yesterday. "We will establish relationships on the basis of social justice and social equality...It seems like a Utopia, but we can change it."

While many people are cheering Castro's advocacy, the Miami Herald reports that many LGBT Cubans are crying foul.

"For Mariela Castro, or anybody else under the Castro dictatorship, to say they are representing the rights of anyone is an insult to the hundreds of thousands who have either been killed, jailed or assassinated by their own hands, or the nearly 100,000 people who’ve jumped into the ocean looking for freedom who haven’t made it here," Herb Sosa, executive director of the Hispanic gay rights group Unity Coalition, told the paper.

Miami resident Pedro S. Romanach also voiced opposition, saying that despite Castro's efforts, there are still fundamental rights that Cubans, gay and straight alike, lack: She may be pro-gay marriage, but the very elementary rights Cubans don’t have — freedom of the press, freedom of assembly — gay people don’t have those rights in Cuba. Neither do straights."

He went on, "She doesn’t represent anybody but herself. The real heroes in Cuba are the gay people who are pro-gay and pro-freedom and the anti-communists who aren’t getting any publicity.”


Mariela Castro Leads Gay Rights Parade Through Streets Of Havana

CastroMariela Castro, noted sexologist and daughter of Cuban president Raul, led a gay rights march in Havana on Saturday. From the AP:

The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro said ... that her father advocated eliminating sexual discrimination, and reiterated her own hope the country would soon legalize same sex marriage.

Mariela Castro, a noted gay rights advocate and head of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, also repeated her praise for U.S. President Barack Obama's public remarks in favor of same sex marriage, saying the American leader's words "have great value because of the influence they might have" on others.

Castro moderated her praise of the president, noting that although his words are lovely, there is as yet no federal push to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States.

Castro claimed that her father supports marriage equality as well, even though he's never spoken publicly on the subject. She insists he's "working behind the scenes" to bring about change in the island nation's marital law:

"[Working quietly] is surely part of his tactics and strategy; it is his style," she said. "I am not going to pressure him to say things publically, because I am more interested in concrete results."

Castro is hopeful that the Cuban parliament will address marriage equality when they convene in July. If they do, it will represent a rapid evolution in Cuba's stance on same-sex relationships: as recently as 2004, Havana's police were still raiding gay and drag parties.


LGBT Stories: Coming Out In A Cuban Family

Nicholas Pineiro TR

BY NATHAN MANSKE

Guestblogger On the Tour, I especially loved hearing stories where I learn even a little about new cultures. That's why I was excited when Nicholas, who grew up in Little Havana in Miami, wanted to share his story. With Nicholas's story, I never knew where it was going until the very end. The way he sets up Cuban culture, the workplace discrimination, then finally the moment when he tells his parents...you're waiting to find out if it ends happily or not right up until the last bit of his story.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Driftwood Nathan Manske and Marquise Lee embarked on a 4 month, 50 state tour of the United States collecting stories for their I'm From Driftwood site. We'll be sharing some of the stories they collected along with some of the insight into what they saw. They're still encouraging people to submit their written stories via IFD. You can follow IFD on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

CHECK OUT OUR RECENT LGBT STORIES...
It's Okay to Be Gay in Montana[tr]
Teen Becomes More Popular After Coming Out in Conservative Town [tr]
Bullying Affects Everyone [tr]
Accidental Online Chat Leads to 13 Years of Love [tr]

Continue reading "LGBT Stories: Coming Out In A Cuban Family" »


Diana Nyad Forced to End Swim from Cuba to Florida

Tweet_nyad

Sixty-one-year-old Diana Nyad, who yesterday set off to break an open water swimming record from Cuba to Florida was forced to give up her pursuit after 26 hours in the water, CNN reports:

Nyad, who is 61, struggled through ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma Monday before she was forced to give up the 103-mile swim. Strong winds and less than ideal currents played into her decision, her team said.

"Earlier in the evening, she was surrounded by dolphins and a beautiful Caribbean sunset. But strong currents blew her 15mph off course," her team posted on her Twitter account.

The attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida was the second for the swimmer, who said at a news conference Sunday that she is fitter today than she was in 1978, when she first attempted the crossing but was unable to finish.

Said Nyad: "I am not sad. It was absolutely the right call."

Previously...
Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO [tr]


Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO

Nyad

Sixty-one-year-old former world-record holder and out lesbian swimmer Diana Nyad set off on a 103-mile swim today across open water from Cuba to Florida, through the Straits of Florida. Nyad is swimming without a shark cage. If she completes the swim, she'll be the first to do it without the cage.

Nyad played 'Reveille' on a bugle before plunging into the water and beginning her swim.

Nyad2 Said Nyad earlier in the day: "I also want it to be a moment for thousands, and I dare say millions of people my age, who are going to look and say, '60!' The joke is 60 is the new 40, and it's true. We are a younger generation than the 60 that went before us."

The AP adds:

Nyad will be relying on special equipment that surrounds her with an electric current imperceptible to humans but strong enough to keep most sharks at bay. Whitetip sharks are not deterred by the field, so divers will be standing by to gently discourage any of those who get curious - without harming them.

In 1979, Nyad set a world-record for open water swimming without a cage, on a 102.5 mile swim from the Bahamas to Florida.

Watch the beginning of her swim, AFTER THE JUMP....

Continue reading "Diana Nyad Begins Swim from Cuba to Florida without Shark Cage: VIDEO" »


Cuba to Consider Civil Unions?

Cuba

Is Cuba on the verge of considering civil unions?

The announcement was made by Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro and the director of Cuba’s national sex education center, during an interview with Spanish broadcaster Cadena Ser earlier this month. Castro, the island’s leading gay rights advocate, said Cuban authorities are already studying the proposal in preparation for the upcoming Community Party conference on Jan. 28.

“This is a historic opportunity, and I think we’re close to having draft legislation,” said Castro, who also revealed in the interview that gay Cubans can serve in the military. “We’ve been working on this issue for a long time, with a lot of activism. We’re starting to see results and a political solution.”

Previously...
Independent Groups Hold Gay Pride 'Stroll' in Havana [tr]


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged