What’s happening in Cuba?
It’s only relatively recently that Cuba has been making some forward progress on LGBTQ equality.
Prior to the 1950s, Cuba was a socially conservative society. Things took a turn for the worse for the LGBTQ community following the Cuban revolution, with anyone who was perceived as ‘different’ viewed as a potential threat to national security. From the early 1960’s LGBTQ people were systematically targeted and imprisoned in labour camps. This persecution continued into the 1970s.
Same-sex relationships were decriminalised in 1979, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that social attitudes began to change and there was less discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Mariela Castro, daughter of Raúl Castro, is one of Cuba’s most prominent LGBTQ activists, and has been instrumental is pushing for LGBTQ equality.
Cuba is currently in the process of drafting and adopting a new constitution. The proposed constitution will be put to a referendum vote on 24 February 2019.
LGBTQ advocates had proposed the the current constitution be changed to eliminate the description of marriage as a union of a man and woman. The proposed changes would have explicitly made same-sex marriage possible.
However, in response to widespread public debate and discussion, the government has recently announced that the language that will be included in the proposed referendum will be more generic – effectively staying silent on the question of marriage equality.
This is effectively a sideways step by the government, bowing to anti-LGBTQ advocates. In order to make any further progress towards marriage equality, changes will now need to be made to Cuba’s Family Code.
Things are slowly getting better in Cuba.