Raul Castro Support's LGBT Rights in Cuba


I've never understood why some people don't like gay people. My belief is that all people were created equally; but I guess not everyone feels that way. It’s my strong opinion that as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, then you should be able to live your life in your own way. God gave us free will, so why should man restrict that? With President Obama’s recent support of same-sex marriage, another country seems to be making an even bigger step into the same direction.

At a recent gay-rights march in Havana, Cuba, Mariela Castro said that her father, Cuban President Raul Castro, supported banning discrimination based on sexual orientation: this is huge for the Cuban LGBT community. Even today, being part of, or in support of, the LGBT community is illegal. Seriously? Illegal to live life your own way? They’re not robbing people, they’re just trying to find love and break hearts like everyone else. 

Once Mariela’s uncle, former Cuban President Fidel Castro, took power in 1959, homosexuals were considered a suspect class that faced harassment and violence. Until 1970, many of the LGBT community were sent to work in forced labor camps. Even renowned homosexual Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas fled to America seeking asylum from the mayhem. Back in 2004, the BBC reported that Cuban police were arresting gays and transsexuals, shutting down meeting places; private gay clubs and parties were also continually raided. 

In 1997, The Cuban Association of Gays and Lesbians was shut down, and its members were arrested. Even though things are better for the LGBT community in Cuba today, they definitely are not where they should be. In a big change, as of 2010 it is no longer outlawed to have gender reassignment surgery; the national health care now covers it. In 2010, Fidel Castro also apologized for his treatment of homosexuals while he was in office. He claimed that he was too busy with other issues to deal with gay harassment, and blamed the mistreatment of gays and lesbians as a remnant of the Batista regime. 

It's a bit off that Mariela Castro, the same woman who dismissed a lesbian tweeter and previously referred to has said that pride marches areas “unnecessary”, would be the only voice you’d hear speaking about the issue in Cuba. 

I think it’s pretty unethical for anyone, especially the government, to be able to tell me who I can or can’t love. I’m not sure if Mariela Castro truly feels for the LGBT community, or if her advocacy is some sort of political move. Either way, if she's right about her father's support of gay marriage it will mean a world of change for many of Cuba’s citizens. It would mean no more living in the shadows, and the freedom to be themselves.