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Dark Side of Cuban LGBT History

The future of Cuba has often been on people’s minds and thoughts; a lot of people have high hopes for it and others just dismiss it. Just like any other country, Cuba has a big population of LGBT people. In Cuba and around the world, the LGBT community is not really a minority, but often the numbers lie and unfortunately many are still in the closet.

Cuba still scores ridiculously low when it comes to basic human rights. LGBT people have always been targeted and still are to this day. Even if there is a positive gradual shift, Cuba still has a long way to go, just like the rest of the world.

The country had a few openly LGBT bars in Pre-Revolutionary Cuba, but soon that was to change. In the 1930s, a new law came to power: the Public Ostentation Law. This law heavily encouraged the discrimination of queer people and was only repealed in 1988!

Cuba’s revolution raised a lot of hope for many people and especially for LGBT people, who helped the revolution to take place. Unfortunately Castro wasn’t any kinder than the previous rulers of Cuba. Homosexuality was widely regarded as a product of capitalism, which should be entirely rooted out of a communist society.

The country used different methods to get rid of homosexuals, because in their eyes the ideal “New Man” was a strong and surely heterosexual male. UMAPs (Military Units to Aid Production) were soon introduced. These were labor camps designed to turn men into heterosexuals.

Castro later apologized for the mistreatment in the camps, but the government still tried to keep enforcing the Public Ostentation Law. The government decided that in order to rebuild the country, they had to get rid of “unwanted” people such as homosexuals, disabled people and criminals. If you were deemed undesireable by society, you were given a span of two months to leave Cuba. This was known as the Mariel Boat lift.

This was the darkest period of LGBT persecution in Cuba, but there is still more to the story.

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