Gay Cuba (Director’s Cut)

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The 1959 revolution which gave Cuba its independence ushered in a new era of equality, blind to race and to gender — but not to sexual orientation. Military necessity and contemporary Stalinist ideology served only to reinforce long-held stereotypes detrimental to the integration of homosexuals into Cuba’s perpetually reforming social structure.

Gay Cuba documents the promising changes which are beginning to take hold. In contrast with the history of random arrests of bar patrons and the forced quarantine of HIV positive citizens, the interviews which form the core of the film show that the changes in party policy and the opening of channels for the discussion and celebration of differences in sexual identity have allowed gay Cubans today to lead much more open lives. In fact, the liberal views expressed in street interviews and the contrast drawn to the repression practiced in other parts of Latin America attest to the ability of the on-going revolutionary efforts to make a very real and very positve change. Gay Cuba casts a colorful and hopeful light on efforts to reform and to humanize a society often maligned for its calcified rigidity.

Sonja de Vries 1995 57 min. USA / Cuba