Lesbian hip-hop duo from Havana fights homophobia with music

Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:06am EDT
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By Magdalena Mis

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - According to Odaymara Cuesta from the lesbian Cuban hip-hop band Krudas Cubensi, there's a gay person in every family in Cuba.

But a lot needs to change in Cuba before its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens are able to expose their true identity without fear of discrimination in an island nation once notoriously hostile toward them, she said.

"Cuba is a very misogynistic country and it's hard to be a lesbian or queer person here," Cuesta told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Havana.

"Even though the new generation is more open and tolerant, we need to be better educated about same-sex relationships and LGBT rights."

In the early years after 1959 revolution, homosexuality was seen as counter-revolutionary and Cuba's socialist rulers sent gay people to correctional labor camps.

But gay rights in Cuba have taken great strides in recent years. In 2010, former president Fidel Castro said he regretted the discrimination faced by gay Cubans after his revolution, saying it was a "great injustice".

His niece Mariela Castro, daughter of current President Raul Castro, has been at the forefront of promoting gay rights, and last year led activists in a mass symbolic wedding to promote acceptance of gay and transgender Cubans.

In 2014 the National Assembly approved a labor law that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation, and free gender reassignment surgery has been available since 2008.   Continued...

File photo pof eople dancing during the Eighth Annual March against Homophobia and Transphobia in Havana, May 9, 2015. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini