Cuba, Caribbean

Sexual relations between same-sex consenting adults 16 and over have been legal in Cuba since 1979, although same-sex relationships are not presently recognized by the state. In Cuba, people's organizations and public assembly must be state-approved, and LGBT associations and events were previously not permitted, however, Havana now has a lively and vibrant gay scene. Public antipathy towards LGBT people is high, reflecting regional norms. This has eased somewhat since the 1990s. Educational campaigns on LGBT issues are currently implemented by the National Center for Sex Education, headed by Mariela Castro. Read More


News & Reports:


Defiance and Arrests at Cuba’s Gay Pride Parade

Havana — Chanting “Long live a diverse Cuba” and carrying rainbow flags, Cuban gay rights activists held an unauthorized pride parade in Havana this weekend despite a warning against it by the Communist government, which called it subversive, in a highly unusual show of civil disobedience in the one-party state. More than 100 Cubans marched… Read more »

Cuba: landmark gay rights march planned despite reported threats

Plan follows cancellation of state-backed Pride-style event, after officials claimed it could be used for anti-government activity Cuban gay rights activists were planning an unprecedented independent march against homophobia on Saturday, despite several reporting they had received warnings not to attend and the government saying it was an attempt at subversion. A successful march could… Read more »

Cuba cancels its annual gay rights parade, ‘Conga Against Homophobia’

The Cuban government announced Tuesday that it has canceled this year’s edition of a parade widely seen as a sign of progress on gay rights on the island. The state-run Center for Sex Education headed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of Communist Party First Secretary Raul Castro, said in a Facebook post that the Conga… Read more »

Cuban draft constitution passes in parliament without reference to marriage equality

New constitution passes through parliament after references to marriage are removed due to protests Cuban lawmakers have unanimously passed a revised draft of a new constitution after a reference to marriage equality was removed. The draft had initially contained a statement in Article 68 that marriage is a union of ‘two people… with absolutely equal… Read more »

Cuba removes marriage equality support from new constitution after protests

Decision is to ‘respect all opinions’, claims commission writing document The commission in charge of writing Cuba’s new constitution has dropped planned references to marriage equality after protests, it has emerged. A new draft of the constitution drops the statement in Article 68 that marriage is a union of ‘two people… with absolutely equal rights… Read more »

Cuba’s most famous transgender drag queen has a message for Trump: ‘Lift the embargo’

As US officials label Cuba part of a ‘troika of tyranny’, activists warn against moving away from the detente of the Obama years The sun sets on Havana as male dancers carrying colourful fabrics, sequin lace dresses and peacock feathers rush into Las Vegas nightclub, located just steps away from The Malecon, a seaside promenade… Read more »

Evangelical Churches In Cuba Campaigning Against Gay Marriage

Evangelical churches in Cuba are campaigning against a proposed constitutional change that would open the door to same-sex marriage. In July, Cuba’s National Assembly approved a draft constitution that would allow gay couples to marry in Cuba. The public will weigh in through a consultation to be held later this year. The constitutional change is… Read more »

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Expresses Support For Gay Marriage

In his first interview since taking office, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel expressed support for changing the constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Speaking with the Venezuela-based television station Telesur on Sunday, Diaz-Canel, 58, said: “I defend there being no kind of discrimination.” Diaz-Canel, who was sworn into office in April, added that… Read more »

Evangelical churches in Cuba display anti-gay marriage posters against reform

A group of Evangelical churches in Cuba are promoting a series of anti-gay marriage posters to oppose the planned constitutional reform. The constitutional change would make the definition of marriage gender-neutral, defining it as the “voluntary and consensual union between two people without distinction of sex.” After being approved by the country’s legislative assembly over… Read more »

Cuba’s draft constitution opens path to gay marriage

Havana (Reuters) – The draft of Cuba’s new constitution opens the path to same-sex marriage, a government official said on Saturday, which would make the country that once persecuted homosexuals an unlikely leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. In the early years of Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, many homosexuals were sent to correctional… Read more »

Raul Castro’s daughter to push for gay marriage in Cuba

Havana (AP) — Mariela Castro, a Cuban lawmaker and daughter of Communist Party chief Raul Castro, says she will push for gay marriage to be included in a constitutional reform process expected to begin in July. The reform is expected to encompass a wide range of modernizing changes to Cuba’s 1976 constitution, which was designed… Read more »

Why Has Cuba’s HIV-Infected Population Doubled This Decade?

By many measures, Cuba is doing a bang-up job of fighting HIV. The country has long boasted the lowest HIV prevalence of any Caribbean nation, and was recently celebrated internationally for becoming the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission. Over the last five years, however, Cuba has seen a startling rise… Read more »

This is how Fidel Castro persecuted gay people

Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro has died aged 90 – prompting strong debate about his time in power that included the rounding up, persecution and murder of LGBT people. Homosexuals were viewed as inherently counter-revolutionary and homosexuality was declared a “deviation incompatible with the revolution” by Castro’s regime. LGBT people, particularly gay men, were routinely sent… Read more »

Cuban youths, LGBT community enjoy nightlife, dream of better future

Some youths pick remaining on island over U.S. migration Sanata Clara, Cuba – The night starts with a stop by the Camilo Theater, inside the tallest building in Santa Clara, Cuba, in what’s known as the Santa Clara Libre Hotel. Inside one of the rooms that used to be a movie theater, a popular cover… Read more »

Cuba’s gay community comes out of the closet

Santa Clara, Cuba — As summer kicks off on this communist island, tall transvestites in short sparkling dresses and high heels line up at El Mejunje nightclub, a ruined hotel that turns into a sanctuary on Saturdays for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. Some patrons start shaking their hips to the beat of American hip-hop,… Read more »

Transformational Journeys 2016

El Puente—A Bridge to CUBA The St. Paul’s Foundation calls this adventure—El Puente—a bridge, hoping it to be the first of many crossings for our organization between Cubans and Americans as it becomes easier to engage deeply with one another. Cuba and the US are so geographically close, but the journey across, as you will discover, still has… Read more »

Lead By Mariela Castro, Cuban Gay Activists Plan Mass Symbolic Wedding To Promote LGBT Rights

Havana, May 5 (Reuters) – Cuban gay rights activists led by the daughter of President Raul Castro plan a mass symbolic wedding on Saturday to promote acceptance of gay and transgender Cubans in a country once notoriously hostile toward them. The ceremony will be part of an annual gay pride parade and will be symbolic… Read more »

Lesbian hip-hop duo from Havana fights homophobia with music

London (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – According to Odaymara Cuesta from the lesbian Cuban hip-hop band Krudas Cubensi, there’s a gay person in every family in Cuba. But a lot needs to change in Cuba before its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens are able to expose their true identity without fear of discrimination in… Read more »

Cuba for sale: ‘Havana is now the big cake – and everyone is trying to get a slice’

Property developers are queuing up to pounce as Cuba opens its doors to the world. Proposals for Havana’s old harbour are described as ‘Las Vegas meets Miami in the Caribbean’. So can the city cope with the commercial storm ahead? In central Havana’s Parque Fe del Valle, at the end of a street bustling with… Read more »

Is Cuba Taking the Lead on LGBT Equality in Latin America?

Last May I had the pleasure of hearing Mariela Castro, daughter of current Cuban president Raúl Castro and niece of the infamous dictator Fidel Castro, speak while she was visiting on her extremely controversial trip to the United States. The following night I was fortunate enough to be granted direct access to her at a… Read more »

Changing attitudes in Cuba on gays and lesbians

As US-Cuba relations thaw, LGBT community hopes diplomatic changes lead to greater acceptance. Ash-Har Quraishi reports Source – America Aljazeera

Gay Men’s Chorus prepares to perform in Cuba after thaw in travel restrictions

Singers will team up with Cuban gay group Mano a Mano for nine concerts This Saturday, 20 members of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington will head to Cuba to perform – following the historic easing of travel restrictions between the two countries after half a century. The Chorus will join forces with the island’s… Read more »

LGBT advocate challenges Cuban human rights record

Sagua La Grande, Cuba — A gay blogger who is a member of an independent Cuban LGBT advocacy group told the Washington Blade last week that human rights factor prominently into his work. “Definitely for a situation like ours (in Cuba,) human rights are something that are suppressed,” Maykel González Vivero told the Blade on… Read more »

Raul Castro’s Daughter Mariela Sponsors Blessing Of Cuban Gay Couples

Havana (AP) — The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro sponsored a blessing ceremony Saturday for gay couples on an island where gay marriage remains illegal. Nearly two dozen gay couples held hands or embraced, some crying, as Protestant clergymen from the U.S. and Canada blessed them as part of official ceremonies leading up to… Read more »

Cuba to hold mass wedding to push for legal recognition of same-sex marriage

LGBT rights activists in Cuba are planning a mass wedding this weekend, with a view to pushing for legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Leading the activists will be Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro, who happens to be a leading LGBT rights campaigner. Although only symbolic, and not legally recognised, the mass wedding… Read more »

Lead By Mariela Castro, Cuban Gay Activists Plan Mass Symbolic Wedding To Promote LGBT Rights

Havana (Reuters) – Cuban gay rights activists led by the daughter of President Raul Castro plan a mass symbolic wedding on Saturday to promote acceptance of gay and transgender Cubans in a country once notoriously hostile toward them. The ceremony will be part of an annual gay pride parade and will be symbolic because same-sex… Read more »

Exclusive: Cuban advocate meets with U.S. lawmakers in Havana

An LGBT activist is among the Cuban human rights advocates with whom House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other members of the U.S. House of Representatives met during their trip to the country last month. Juana Mora Cedeño of Proyecto Manos and other members of Cuba’s civil society who work independently from the government… Read more »

Cuba’s Gay Rights Evolution

In Cuba, street marches have historically been government-orchestrated events or dissident protests that are swiftly crushed by the authorities. So it was downright startling when, in May 2007, Fidel Castro’s niece sauntered down the street with a small army of drag queens waving gay pride flags. Long before the Obama administration announced a dramatic shift… Read more »

Cuban activists welcome normalized relations between U.S. and Cuba

Cuban LGBT rights advocates on Wednesday welcomed President Obama’s announcement that the U.S. will seek to normalize relations with their country. Yosvanys Fonseca Aguilar of the Network of Young People for Health and Sexual Rights,, a group that is part of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX), which Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban… Read more »

Cuba: Mariela Castro casts first ever vote against government over LGBT protections

Mariela Castro – the daughter of Cuban president Raul Castro – has cast the first ever recorded vote against a government bill, over a lack of LGBT protections. Cuba has a tradition of legislation passing through the 612-seat National Assembly unanimously, even when bills are controversial outside of Parliament. However Ms Castro – who is the… Read more »

Foreign Policy: Don’t Believe Castro’s “Gay-Friendly” PR

Cuba Wants You To Think It’s a Gay Paradise. It’s Not. Cuba has come a long way on LGBT rights since putting gays in labor camps. But don’t believe the Castro family’s gay-friendly PR. I’m surprised to see a rainbow flag outside a tiny bar called Gats Loco in Trinidad, an old sugar town on… Read more »

How Cuba’s Gay Rights Activists Are Starting a Revolution With Kissing

Against the backdrop of gay pride in the United States — where cities are bursting with revelers and colorful parades celebrating gay rights — it’s not unusual to spot groups of same-sex couples kissing. But this past weekend, in Havana, Cuba’s capital, 60 people marked gay pride weekend with a second annual “kiss-in” to protest… Read more »

‘¡OUT! The Transformistas of Havana’ Documents Performers in Cuba’s Gay Cabarets

A groundbreaking new book by Eric Politzer is currently in production and it provides a platform for the captivating performers at queer cabarets throughout Cuba. Historically, cabarets on the island nation have served as spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Cubans to gather and form community and support each other, which is especially… Read more »

Cuban Gay Rights Activist Brutally Beaten, Arrested

David Bustamante Rodriguez, a 21-year old gay rights activist, was arrested for holding a peaceful protest on the rooftop of his home in Santa Clara. During the protest, he chanted “food and freedom” and held signs demanding the respect for human rights. He is now being accused of “public disorder.” David, who is HIV positive,… Read more »

Cubans celebrate gay rights, but marriage remains distant

(Reuters) – Several hundred Cubans danced to a conga beat, waved the rainbow flag and proclaimed their same-sex love on Saturday, celebrating great advances in gay rights while patiently waiting for the still politically distant right to marriage. About 500 people marched in the seventh annual parade against homophobia through Havana’s Vedado district, where cross-dressing… Read more »

Cuba passes ‘historic’ ban on anti-gay workplace discrimination

Over the weekend the country’s Parliament approved changes to its labor code, including protections against workplace discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation The Caribbean island of Cuba has reportedly implemented workplace discrimination protections for its LGBTI citizens. Blogger Andres Duque reported on his website Blabbeando Cuban blogger Francisco Rodriguez, also known as Paquito El… Read more »

Gay and prouder in Cuba

Cuba’s gay and transgendered population can live more in the open than perhaps any time in history, but some problems persist. Editor’s note: This article is part of a series by Boston University journalism students. Havana, Cuba — In this city’s leafy Central Park, young gay men mix freely with lesbians, transsexuals, and others whose… Read more »

‘Homophobia, no! Socialism, yes!’ chant hundreds of Cubans in pro-gay march

The Cuban government sponsored an anti-homophobia march led by gay rights advocate and daughter of Cuban president Mariela Castro Fidel Castro’s niece led hundreds of Cubans over the weekend in a march to promote gay rights in the island. Married mother of three Mariela Castro, daughter to current Cuban leader Raul Castro, led hundreds of… Read more »

Cuba to Host 6th Day Against Homophobia

Havana, Well-known figures from science, culture and sports will participate in Cuba’s Sixth Annual Day against Homophobia, to run from May 7-18, said executives from the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX). The director of that institution, Mariela Castro Espin, announced that invited guests include international experts such as British sociologist Jeffrey Weeks and the… Read more »

Transgender woman is first to win office in Cuba

Havana – Adela Hernandez, a biologically male Cuban who has lived as a female since childhood, served two years in prison in the 1980s for “dangerousness” after her own family denounced her sexuality. This month she made history by becoming the first known transgender person to hold public office in Cuba, winning election as a… Read more »