With a population of just under 75, and a reputation for well-preserved colonial architecture, not cruising, a gay bar seems an improbable niche-filler. Gats Loco is the only bar in the area and they claim to have cold beer. He hands me a cold one and sits down beside me. He says his name is Osmel, but everyone calls him SiSi.
SiSi is an English professor who moonlights at the bar for extra cash. He sharpens his grasp of American idioms by listening to heavy metal and writing out the lyrics every night when he gets home. Then he breaks into a wide grin.
I tell him I am not. Nor is the owner. Nor are any of the employees. So, a friend of mine, he opened this place. I think the owner figured it might be good for business. The gambit has already started to pay dividends. As the story goes, when the straight, married mother of three heard about Gats Loco and its rainbow flag, a representative sent word that Mariela would be making an official visit to "sponsor" the bar. There are other gay bars on the island, but a gay bar willing to work with the regime rather than against it is El bucanero homosexual adoption.
The island is undoubtedly evolving, experiencing its first glimmers of free enterprise in 55 years, but one thing has remained very much the same: In Cuba, the regime is your ultimate customer. LGBT rights have undeniably improved in Cuba over the past odd years.
But while have been some gains, many problems remain. The social stigma attached to being gay in predominantly Catholic Cuba is present in the same ways it is everywhere else in the world.
Western tourists prefer a "friendly Cuba" to a notorious human rights violator.
This past December, the Cuban parliament passed a new labor code that included a clause outlawing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. On its face, it would seem that Mariela has tried — and continues to try — valiantly to move the LGBT agenda forward.
Under a pilot project, after pledging loyalty to the Revolution, she became the first Cuban to receive government-sponsored sex-reassignment surgery and underwent a full male-to-female transition.
When Wendy marched with Ignacio and about 20 others in a small, unauthorized Pride Day parade in Havana in JuneMariela confronted Wendy, asking how she "could live, in bed and in a home, with an enemy of the revolution. Two
El bucanero homosexual adoption later, she and Ignacio were married in Havana. The guest list also sent a powerful message. Mario Jose Delgado is a gay activist and independent journalist in Havana who also believes the outside world is being duped by Mariela.
He and other LGBT Cubans are "very unhappy about the awards and recognition" she has received abroad, insisting, "It does not reflect the feelings of the gay community on the island. Last November, Delgado was headed home to the Alamar section of Havana when three men in civilian clothes threw him into the backseat of a El bucanero homosexual adoption. They drove him to the outskirts of town, where he was beaten in the face with a rock.
Delgado says the men, who have never been identified, were interested only in the information he was carrying, which included names of members of a Christian LGBT group Delgado belonged to called Divine Hope. The attackers took his cellphone and USB drive, as well as his notes and calendar, where the details of a demonstration Divine Hope was planning to hold the next month were stored. They also took his baseball cap for good measure. Delgado is certain his attackers were state security agents, though it is impossible to know for sure what exactly prompted the beating.
But there are plenty of LGBT Cubans who have settled into relatively comfortable lives by not calling too much attention to themselves.
In Havana, I rent a room in a private home the Cuban government legalized this in Two men live here and it is obvious they are a couple, though they never "El bucanero homosexual adoption" it. The dial-up connection in their duplex apartment is a luxury in Cuba, but looks like an antique to me. They obviously feel awkward about their situation.
But living in relative peace like this is a quantum advance from the era when same-sex couples lived in fear of being rounded up and sent to a labor camp. Even Fidel has come a long way.
In those moments, I was not able to deal with the matter of homosexuals. She seems El bucanero homosexual adoption view the people sent away by her father and uncle as some sort of accidental by-catch, human turtles mistakenly caught in tuna nets.
Mariela quickly corrected her interlocutor, taking exception to the term and insisting they were segregated "training camps. The exchange between Mariela and her audience brings to mind a Cuban saying: Cubans are prevented from fully communicating with one another.