LGBT Cuba - 2013
Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, homosexuals were viewed as counter-revolutionary and heavily persecuted, often placed in hard labor camps. Catholicism, Latin American machismo, Fidel Castro’s once publicized belief that homosexuality was a bourgeois perversion, and Che Guevara’s definition of the socialist “new man” – a strong, virile an overtly heterosexual and masculine man to reshape the country following the revolution - are some of the reasons homosexuals have been forced to struggle.
But by 2013, Cuba has become one of the most progressive countries in Latin America and the Caribbean for LGBT rights.
In 2010, Fidel Castro took responsibility and apologized for past treatment of homosexuals.
Adela Hernandez became the first transgender person to hold political office.
Mariela Castro Espin, daughter of president Raúl Castro and feminist revolutionary Vilma Espin, heads an organization called the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), which has be fighting for sexual education and gender equality in Cuba for years. Sexual reassignment surgery became covered by government health plans in 2008 and numerous educational campaigns on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, contraception, homophobia and HIV/AIDS have been pushed through the country.
Cuba still has a long way to go to eradicate all institutionalized discrimination and prejudices in society, but people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are beginning to live openly and be accepted by society.