By Inter Press Service Cuba Editors
May 8, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
Havana, May 8 – Transgender people and lesbian women reported dropping out of school due to bullying, revealed a retrospective research on homophobia and transphobia in schools conducted by the government’s National Sex Education Center (Cenesex).
Conducted by a group of five authors, the exploratory and retrospective study on homophobic and transphobic violence in the school career of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) activists is the basis for the eleventh edition of the Cuban Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which for the second year focuses on schools.
According to the report, to which IPS had access, Cenesex researchers surveyed 90 adults from community social networks accompanied by the Cuban state institution, from Havana, Villa Clara and Santiago de Cuba.
The schooling of the population studied was concentrated in secondary education and, at the time of the research, 25 people were in higher education, mostly gay men.
Dropping out of school
However, 22 subjects indicated that they had dropped out of school at some point in their school career and only nine returned to school, most of whom were trans people seeking to complete high school.
The average age of dropout was concentrated at 16.6 years of age at the end of secondary school, with a majority being transgender people.
Of the 22 people who reported dropping out of school, 13 claimed that the decision was linked to the situations of violence they were subjected to in the school environment, an experience that prevailed among trans people and lesbian women.
Taunts and insults were the most frequent manifestations of harassment recalled by respondents, followed by threats, physical abuse, ignoring and stealing their belongings.
“There is no place in the school environment that escapes the phenomenon,” the report distinguished, identifying as moments of greatest risk the exit and entry to school, the time between classes and recess in the playground.
According to the study, the bathrooms and shelters were the spaces with the highest incidence of acts of abuse inside the schools, with verbal attacls that could be accompanied by physical violence.
The response of educational institutions focused on the change of educational status or the isolation of victims, the report said.
The researchers emphasized that the measures implemented could be considered a form of revictimization, since they impacted on those who suffered harassment and not on those who committed it.
Who are they, anyway?
As the perpetrators of the violence or harassment, the students themselves dominated by a large margin, followed by the teaching staff, support staff and relatives of the victims.
Support networks within the school were virtually non-existent, according to the research, which found a tendency to normalize situations of violence.
The support, when it happened, came from students who were intervening to stop the abuse. The attitude of the teaching staff was aimed at silencing the facts and placing the blame on the victims, the sample studied reported.
The people affected decided not to report violence due to homophobia and transphobia, either because they did not feel prepared to make their sexual orientation public, or because they did not feel ready to report the immobility of the teaching staff, or because they feared the consequences of double stigmatization.
Faced with violent situations, the mechanisms most often used by victims were to ignore what they were told, to isolate themselves, to try not to draw attention to themselves, or to respond aggressively.
The homophobic and transphobic violence experienced had an impact on the mental health of the victims, the study said.
Fears, fear of people’s reaction when reporting, poor school performance and rejection of school were some of the consequences observed.
However, the report argued that when research participants reflect on and evaluate these stages of their lives, they report that such situations have had a positive influence over time because they have strengthened their character.
The study concludes that homophobic and transphobic violence in the school setting reflects homophobia and social transphobia in Cuba.
The return to school and the recomposition of the victims’ life projects is an indicator of change for Cuban society and schools, the report said.
Raising the awareness of youth organizations to function as support networks for situations of violence in the school environment and strengthening the training of teachers and support staff for the prevention of homophobic and transphobic bullying are recommendations of the study.
It also suggests that educational authorities strengthen monitoring of the places where homophobic and transphobic violence is most prevalent.
Universal and free access to education and health, as well as the principles of equality established, are conquests that are endorsed in the current Constitution (1976), in its articles 39 and 50, stated the researchers in the introduction of the study.
However, in its opinion, the reduction of homophobia and transphobia to which lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people on the Caribbean island are exposed remains to be achieved. (2018)
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
During the Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the interest of the international media in hearing the opinions and expectations of those of us who advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights in Cuba is growing exponentially.
A colleague who works for the Russian publication Sputnik asked me to comment on the response of Cuban society and its institutions to the educational and advocacy work of the past decade, the progress made, and the issues to be resolved.
Before reproducing here the interview that resulted from this exchange, I would like to complement it with a few ideas that, due to the necessary journalistic synthesis, were left out when editing this text.
On the reactions to the debate on how to deal with discrimination on the grounds of homophobia and transphobia, I would just like to emphasize that the Cuban people have a great sense of social justice, and I would like as a rule to be better at this aspect of human rights too, so that they want to listen to arguments, argue, confront their fears and concerns, and – in the end – understand and grow.
Among the advances I listed, I would also like to rescue the articulation of networks of LGBTI activists – and which also include many heterosexual people in solidarity with our rights – which contributes to the visibility and promotion of these issues.
Finally, in relation to the points to be resolved, Sputnik only included the recognition of homoparental families and their legalisation by marriage or another similar legal form, although my list of priorities was a little longer and more complex.
I will now list those other aspects which I also consider to be still unresolved, and on which we will have to continue to insist in the coming years:
Specific protection against homophobic and transphobic violence and harassment in the Penal Code.
Recognition of gender identity without the need for genital reassignment or court rulings through the Civil Code.
The possibility of assisted reproduction for lesbian couples and the right to adoption for homosexual couples in general.
Affirmative policies to increase access to education and work for trans people.
Non-exclusion of any type of employment, including the armed forces.
Improvement of the procedures for the actions of the police and other institutions guaranteeing socialist legality in order to avoid discrimination on these grounds.
Implementation of curricular and extracurricular programs based on a comprehensive sexuality education that provides teachers, students and families with scientific tools to confront bullying and school violence due to homophobia and transphobia.
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, SPUTNIK’S INTERVIEW
Cuban discussions against homophobia and transphobia
HAVANA (Sputnik) – The 11th edition of the Program against Homophobia and Transphobia, which will be held in Cuba until 18 May, encourages discussion on the rights of the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and intersex (LGBTI) community, Cuban journalist and activist Francisco Rodríguez Cruz told Sputnik.
“The (Cuban) population knows and discusses this problem, and is eager to receive information about it; there are opinions in favor, and others not so much, that are still related to ancestral prejudices, scientific ignorance and cultural obstacles, but in general the trend seems positive to me,” said Rodríguez Cruz.
The current edition of the program, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the National Sex Education Center (Cenesex), directed by the daughter of former president Raúl Castro, sexologist Mariela Castro, shows that Cuban society has responded to these meetings with great sensitivity, according to the activist.
“As we enter the second decade of this educational initiative, the issue is already on the Cuban political and public agenda,” he said.
In his opinion, “it is enough to follow the discussions that take place in the journalistic information about these days in the digital media and social networks on the internet, where people comment on their doubts, dissagrements and arguments in favor of respecting LGBTI rights, to appreciate the richness and honesty of the discussion. It ranges a position of wanting to know more, to where many more LGBTI people already participate with visible empowerment”, he stressed.
From the institutional point of view, “it is a strength to have Cenesex, which leads not only these days, but the entire sexual health and education program in the country throughout the year, on multiple topics,” he said.
This makes it possible to coordinate responses with other central government agencies, civil society organizations, universities and scientific and research centres.
“In the last decade, the confrontation with discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was progressively understood and supported by the (ruling) Communist Party of Cuba, which explicitly included it in its most important governing documents,” Rodríguez Cruz said.
“This facilitates discussion within society and its institutions, without this implying absolute understanding by all party militants and people who have responsibilities in decision-making structures of the State and the Government, and who are not immune to the misunderstandings, prejudices and resistances of a non-negligible part of our citizens,” he stressed.
In his opinion, the main advance “is the widespread understanding that homophobia and transphobia constitute an anti-value, something that is not good, is wrong, and therefore, very few individuals assume it as an unbridled position”.
“Even people with prejudices or discriminatory behavior towards the LGBTI community claim to be neither homophobic nor transphobic,” said the activist.
From the political point of view, the inclusion of the principle of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the Conceptualization of the Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development and in the Strategic Development Plan until 2030 is the main success, according to Rodríguez Cruz.
“Another milestone was the approval in 2013 of the Labor Code, the first Cuban law that expressly protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation, in this case, in the workplace,” he explained.
In Cuba, there is free, specialized care for transgender people for psychological support, modification of their bodies and genital reassignment when they want it, something that “is also a significant result whose implementation dates back to 2008,” he said.
Unfortunately, however, “there are many more remaining issues,” he said.
“Further progress will have to be made in the implementation of legal norms and public policies that guarantee equal rights for LGBTI people, in areas such as the recognition of the families we constitute and their legalisation through marriage or another similar legal forms,” he said.
LGBTI activist hopes that some of these issues will come up during the debates and proposals that will accompany the already announced process of reforming the Constitution, and others will require further work of argumentation and elaboration.
“It is foreseeable that advancing in these goals of equity will imply contradictions, steps forward and even possible specific setbacks, depending on the nature and preparation of the political leaderships, the social consensus that we reach through educational work and the strength of the social activism that we are capable of promoting,” he concluded.
In the first decades after the Cuban Revolution, homosexuality was declared a deviation incompatible with the revolutionary process, and it was only in the late 1990s that the taboo on homosexuality was weakened in public debate.
I am Paquito, from CUBA; I am a Marti follower and a an author; I am a communist and gay journalist; I am a convinced and superstitious atheist; I am the father of a son whom I have adored and have been a partner for fifteen years with a seronegative man who loves me; I have been an AIDS patient since 2003 andam a survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for more than twelve years; I am a university professor and a student of life; a follower of Cuban economic issues and a passionate devourer of universal literature; an incontinent and belligerent moderate; a friend of my friends and a compassionate friend of my enemies; often wrong and never repentant; a hardened and eternal enthusiastic optimist; alive and kicking; in short, another ordinary man who wants to share his story, opinions and desires with you…
May 5, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Since Saturday, the website of the political magazine of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Cuba Socialista, is available on the Internet at www.cubasocialista.cu.
As part of the launch, the fourth season of the printed magazine, which printed six copies to date, the last of which is dedicated to the October Socialist Revolution, was also presented.
According to Enrique Ubieta, director of both publications, the aim of bringing Cuba Socialista to the web is to encourage discussion. “It is not an information magazine, but a magazine of reflection, with texts that do not age.”
He also declared its intention to “feed” the site with new content on a weekly basis, although it also has dossiers, interviews, essays and galleries that have been published in the printed version.
According to th curator and art critic Helmo Hernández, who is also a member of the magazine’s Editorial Board, the meaning and objectives of Cuba Socialista were established by Fidel Castro since its creation in September 1961.
“Cuba Socialista aspires to create intellectual debate among the population and to promote the political and ideological culture of Cuban society,” Hernandez said.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
What would Russia have gained from the murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripel and his daughter Yulia? This is the question asked by Argentine-Canadian international information analyst Alberto Rabilotta. He praises the equanimity and impeccable realism that Russian President Vladimir Putin has demonstrated to show the falsity of the accusations without aggravating tensions that are the goal of the United States and its allies in this and similar conflicts.
The poisoning of the former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain on 4 March occurred when the fable of “Russiagate”, with which Putin allegedly manipulated the US elections in the name of Trump’s victory, was beginning to fall apart.
Anyone who knows about the behavior of the rulers and intelligence services of London and Washington, throughout history, and especially in recent times, knows that there is very good reason to believe that what happened to Skripal and his daughter happened when British Channel 4 journalists were about to reveal that the manipulation of the election in the United States and the Brexit referendum in Great Britain had been the work of the British company Cambridge Analytica (CA), which has offices in London, New York and Washington and which used data from Facebook.
Cambridge Analytica is an “offshoot” of the Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), a company that has manipulated elections in numerous countries – including some in Latin America. This necessarily implies that it had strong links in the political world related to Washington and their structures of government and intelligence. Further proof of this is the fact that one of its main shareholders is the American billionaire Robert Mercer who has financed, among other reactionary campaigns, including that of a number of Republicans, including Donald Trump.
On March 19, TV Channel 4 in Great Britain broadcast a report on CA made with recordings -some of them secretly made- between the end of 2017 and January 2018, in which executives and collaborators of CA exposed the type of manipulation that this firm used in the Brexit referendum in Great Britain and in the United States elections that gave the victory to Donald Trump. On the basis of these, major propaganda campaigns were carried out to show that these events had been manipulated by Moscow.
Interestingly, before Channel 4 broadcast its report, CA founder and director Alexander Nix resigned. This shows he knew what was about to be revealed and what their consequences for the firm and its owners would be. Rabilotta notes that on December 15, 2017, the Wall Street Journal had written that Robert Mueller, special advisor to the Justice Department, had asked CA to submit documents from its investigation “on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.” From this it’s evident that even then the U.S. intelligence services were aware of CA’s role in that electoral process.
Moreover, The Times of Israel revealed that CA worked with Israeli companies and that, in addition to using Facebook data, it carried out classic blackmail operations with honey traps, which are Ukrainian prostitutes who specialize in recording situations that encourage blackmail, using former British and Israeli spies.
With the information available and beginning to emerge, it is clear that this entire operation, as well as those who participated in it and those who benefited from it, were known to the US intelligence services and their allies well before 19 March, the date when British Channel 4 broadcast its report. Thus, long before March 19 and the fateful March 4 – the poisoning of Skripel and his daughter – the key figures in London and Washington knew that Russiagate at the Capitol in Washington was destined to collapse permanently and disastrously. Not only that, but that the political and diplomatic cost of that campaign against Russia, forged from the beginning by millionaires, politicians and companies from the United States and Great Britain, would have to be borne, Rabilotta reiterates.
With the information available and beginning to come to light, it is clear that this whole operation, as well as those who participated in it and benefited from it, were known to the US intelligence services and their allies, long before March 19, when British Channel 4 broadcast its report.
Mr Rabilotta recalls that, on March 1, President Putin announced Russia’s progress on strategic arms and Syria launched an offensive to liberate strategic areas near Damascus controlled by financed and armed terrorist forces financed and armed by imperialism and its allies, who were preparing an operation using chemical weapons that would be blamed on the Syrian government to justify military intervention by the US and its allies.
May 7, 2018.