julio 3, 2020
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LGBTI

Cuban LGBT + activism and the first anniversary of 11M

Even with so many differences, the independent activisms that take place inside and outside Cuba can have common agendas: egalitarian marriage and the denunciation of the plebiscite of the Family Code, the right of association, the vulnerability of trans people, etc.

Between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning of last Monday, May 11, some LGBT + activists in Cuba denounced on their social networks the hacking of the Dame la mano platform. There, several debate forums are scheduled to return to the agenda of gay, lesbian, trans and queer people on the Island, a year of the alternative march held despite state reluctance.

Around that time, more than two thousand users followed the live broadcast of youtuber Alexander Otaola, who had announced in advance another discussion forum dedicated to the anniversary of 11M. That fact provoked, days before, a debate about who can and who cannot discuss the Cuban LGBT + agenda. The arguments maintained the usual antagonisms: political or apolitical, a favor against the Government and its institutions, inside or outside national borders, homosexual or heterosexual.

Each group believes in its positioning and its strategies. Some respect the positioning and strategies of the other. Some don’t. The divisions are endless, and attest to the plural activism of which Cuban residents such as those of the diaspora are a part.

Lawyer and activist Lidia Moreno participated in the Virtual Debate Forum «11M, one year after the march in Cuba»

«It is more than evident how diverse is the activism that is taking place now in Cuba, mediated of course by political, ideological positions … But there is something serious, we do not respect each other. And I do not think it is a problem of activism, but of a society that has not been educated for dialogue based on respect for differences, «says Lidia Romero, lawyer and forista from the Facebook group Building an agenda for sexual diversity in Cuba , towards where the activities of Give me your hand finally moved.

And indeed, in each of the two groups that decided to commemorate 9/11, the representation of the other was missing. Either because they were not invited or because they rejected the invitations.

Víctor Manuel Dueñas and Yosmany Mayeta participated in the “Virtual Forum for the Day of the Cuban LGBTI Movement”

One of the guests on Otaola’s special program, Dutch-based Cuban activist Víctor Manuel Dueñas, commented that «a certain type of activism within Cuba is touching on issues that are not dangerous to the regime.» By “not dangerous” is understood anyone who does not directly criticize the island’s social and political system.

Even within the Island the range of perspectives of activism is varied. It does not happen that because they live in Cuba, everyone is on the same plane. There are those who believe in alliances with government institutions, and there are those who do not. What they do agree on is that the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) does not represent everyone. There those who disagree have no place.

In 2008, Cenesex expanded its line of work to serve the LGBT + community. He placed the theme in Cuban society and more discreetly in the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP), in the hands of the center’s deputy and director, Mariela Castro. But beyond that, it has not specified any of the demands of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans community to the Government of the Island.

Biologist Ariel Ruiz Urquiola is one of the activists who does not believe in institutions or in the Government, or «misgovernment», as he calls it. He assures that the historical memory of repression and harassment of homosexuals in Cuba cannot be erased. However, they don’t like splits within the LGBT + community, based on any criteria.

“I am gay, and I am not the one to discriminate against another homosexual because of his political ideals. Don’t you think that the community is already discriminated enough so that within it blacks, people with HIV, communists and non-communists are discriminated against? That gives you an idea of ​​how solid is that activism for the rights of the homosexual community in Cuba, ”he says.

If Lidia and Ariel agree on something, it is a precarious activism. Good because those who have spent years in it could not achieve the recognition or legal implementation of their rights, as Lidia says. Well because, according to Ariel, «it cannot be claimed that in a country where there is no freedom whatsoever, there can truly be a well-articulated movement, rather than a genuine question of spontaneity, which was what happened on May 11» .

Ariel Ruiz Urquiola participates in the “Virtual Forum for the Day of the Cuban LGBTI Movement”

«One of the guests on Otaola’s special program, Cuban-based Dutch activist Víctor Manuel Dueñas, commented that» activism within Cuba is addressing issues that are not dangerous to the regime. » «Non-dangerous» means anyone who does not directly criticize the island’s social and political system. «

Even with so many differences, the independent activisms that take place inside and outside of Cuba maintain common agendas: egalitarian marriage and the denunciation of the Family Code referendum – where the concept of marriage will finally be defined – the right of association (which is transversal to groups with other causes), the extra vulnerability of trans people, and the public apologies that the Cuban Government has not offered for the repression against homosexuals in the Military Production Support Units (UMAP).

The question now is whether a joint platform is possible. One that manages to unite that plurality of activisms, where political, racial and gender differences are respected. One that achieves, while also respecting the channels that each group deems necessary, guarantees for the rights of LGBT + people, which have been violated in Cuba for decades.

The activist Ulises Padrón was one of the participants in the Virtual Debate Forum «11M, one year after the march in Cuba»

An article of Yucabyte.org

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