Brief encounter with Mariela

      For Miguel, who still dreams of being a Social-Democratic woman
Yesterday I went to a conference on sexuality held at the Museum of Fine Arts. For two weeks, there has been a series on erotic art accompanied by films and talks. Just this Tuesday there was a chance to hear about the incorporation of transsexuals into society and the prejudices that still exist against them. So on the way to Alamar–where the Festival of Poetry Without End is going on–I dropped into the amphiteater in the old Asturian Center.
After the conference I had the chance to ask Mariela Castro a question that torments me every time I hear about tolerance for sexual preference. I still don’t understand that we accept the right of another to choose with whom they make love, however we continue in this ideological monogamy they have imposed on us. If concepts such as “sick” have now been banished from the study of homosexuality, why does the adjective “counterrevolutionary” continue to be used for those who think differently. For me, it’s as serious to call someone who doesn’t conform a “faggot” as it is to call them a “worm.”
As today is the day that those rights should be at the center of everyone’s attention, I want to show a short video of my brief encounter with Mariela. The audio is poor and so I have transcribed the dialog for those who are unable to hear everything.
Mariela: Including treatment for transgender people is something that’s called for in the law. We don’t ask for more.
Yoani: I’d like to ask if this entire campaign being undertaken, in some way, for society to accept sexual preference could, at some point, move to other roles and will also fight for tolerance of other aspects which could be points of view and political and ideological preferences. Will we also come out of these closets?
Mariela: I don’t know because I don’t work in that area. The ideological and political field is outside my responsibility. I think I am doing the best I can given my ability.
Translator’s note
Mariela Castro Espin is the daughter of Raul Castro and his late wife Vilma Espin, and she is the niece of Fidel Castro. She is the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education and an advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.

This was originally written and published in Spanish by Yoani Sanchez and translated and posted in her English version blog. Since the castro regime continues to curtail her internet access and continues to block access to her blog and other internet sites in and out of Cuba, we are posting Yoani’s work in its entirety in solidarity and to help promote and distribute same.

2 thoughts on “Brief encounter with Mariela”

  1. I love Yoani. She takes a subject that could make her bitter and turns it around to her benefit. She does not refute Mariela’s points, but uses them to make her belittle herself when she obviously won’t extend those rights to “political” deviants. Notice that deviation from the norm is quite natural, both in politics and sexuality, but Mariela refuses to indict her father and uncle for labeling others as “unnatural” and worthy of jailing, beatings, torture, and even death, for deviating politically.

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