A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Learn without fear. To make the daily lesson the realisable idea of having a space where to accept and respect, to listen to the other in peace; where mockery, mistreatment, punishment are crushed by dialogue, and security is never a chimera.
Say school, and you will have said that, and more, because you can’t think of this institution any other way. Efforts to eliminate all forms of violence in society, and particularly in schools, are therefore welcome.
This is one of the messages that the Cuban Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia is bringing us in these days. I’m included! For schools without homophobia or transphobia, which in its 11th edition – whose headquarters is in the province of Pinar del Rio – not only promotes respect for free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity, as an exercise in social justice and equity, but also chooses a strategic scenario for it.
“Emotional violence and exclusion generate suffering, and it is not something that can be tolerated for any reason,” Mariela Castro Espín, director of the National Sex Education Center (Cenesex), told Granma.
There is an essential space, which could not be left out of this campaign that Cenesex organizes every two years, and that is the school, the interviewee confirmed, for whom she cannot lose sight of the fact that the causes of situations of violence are often interrelated.
“If we start from the fact that homophobia and transphobia are rooted in culture, institutional dynamics and relationships between people, which makes it difficult to make them visible as a social problem and their need for prevention, it can be easily understood that both phenomena are present in the schools, as a reflection of a changing social reality that requires more effective social action,” she explained.
Hence, the emphasis on these types of discrimination. This does not mean that the rest of the causes are not being addressed, but it is undeniable that we should focus on those areas where the “education” of homophobia begins, added Dr. Castro Espín.
“Cuba is a safe country, the Cuban school is safe, the family has confidence in it, and what we are looking for with these campaigns is to raise awareness, to address worries, and to provide education and guidance to the population, based on scientifically proven data in studies that we conducted in the Center and other institutions on the subject. They alert us to the need to make any of these expressions visible, in order to provide the appropriate response accordingly,” said the expert.
IN SEARCH OF TOOLS AGAINST VIOLENCE
According to academic sources at Cenesex, “studies of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Cuba are still scarce and are not focused on homophobic and transphobic violence as categories of analysis, but on violence in general”.
“Only some research addresses violence that has its origin in the prejudices and stereotypes associated with gender roles, those that the dominant cultures assign to men and women in order to maintain a social order that services the economic interests of the ruling classes,” they say.
In this sense, Dr. Castro Espín explains that, in the case of children, they do not work with or handle concepts such as sexual orientation or gender identity, but rather that prejudices are exercised through the expression of gender, which is also constructed from what we educate as roles historically assigned to the masculine and feminine.
But it must be understood, she said, that homophobic and transphobic violence in schools affects all those who are in this situation: victims, perpetrators and witnesses.
It also has a significant impact on the physical and mental health and well-being of the educational community, and adversely affects access to education, academic achievement and job prospects. “These situations create a climate of insecurity, fear and discontent in the school community. They diminish confidence in educational staff and the institution, increase the risk of self-injurious behavior and hinder the construction of enriching and non-judgmental relationships,” say scholars.
“The positive emotional environment that the school must create is fundamental for learning,” said the specialist, who pointed out that the Cuban state’s educational policy has a responsibility to continue to promote the values of inclusion, not hatred.
“Hate is begins with adults, not children. They are the ones who educate or transmit the prejudices, so the campaign is strongly aimed at making this understood,” he said.
Today, one of the main challenges facing Cenesex is to find appropriate and effective teaching tools that allow students, teachers and their families to tackle these phenomena. It is also a response to UNESCO’s call for states to investigate and address bullying issues in the context of violence in schools, said the director of the center.
The role of comprehensive sexuality education as a basis for training to prepare for and prevent violence is critical, she added.
In line with this, Manuel Vázquez Seijido, Deputy Director of Cenesex, pointed out that Resolution 139 of 2011 is a legal norm issued by the Ministry of Education itself. It orders and introduces sexuality education from the curricular point of view. It is an educational element that can become a framework that guarantees schools without homophobia or transphobia, if these elements are emphasized in the formative process.
The issue, he said, is to protect the fundamental rights of individuals, and this implies a shared responsibility that must be assumed and articulated by all sectors of society.
In Cuba, according to Cenesex experts, research that has dealt with homophobic and transphobic violence in schools has done so indirectly, one of the axes of analysis being the school environment. Likewise, another common element in these studies in our country has been the fragmentation of the samples in the LGBTI population, which prevents the integrated analysis and systematization of the results.
In this regard, they argue that retrospective research, conducted with samples of adult LGBT activists, offers among their main elements: difficulties in the processes of adaptation and permanence of trans people in school because they do not accept the school uniform established according to their legal identity (Castro, 2015; Suárez, 2015). In addition, there are experiences of rejection, physical, verbal and psychological mistreatment of trans people by students and some teachers, because they do not accept their gender expressions (Castro, 2015; Suárez, 2015) Also, there is the inability to begin or continue higher education because of the contradictions between their gender expressions and institutional norms (Castro, 2015). Finally, there is the tendency towards social exclusion of trans people in educational institutions (Castro, 2015).
For example, out of a total of 160 people surveyed, from 12 provinces in the country, 142 have been victims of homophobic acts (Garcés, 2015).
On the other hand, studies carried out in some school spaces in Havana show the existence of physical and verbal abuse, situations of social exclusion, as well as the use of a naturalized homophobic and sexist language (Rodney, 2015).
Some clues about the above can be found in the progressive exploratory study on homophobic and transphobic violence in the school careers of Cuban LGBT activists, by the authors Delia Rosa Suárez Socarrás, Massiel Rodríguez Núñez, Marais del Río Martín, Ada Caridad Alfonso Rodríguez, Gisett Suárez Gutiérrez. Their results, although they cannot be generalized to Cuban society, do offer important warning elements to work with.
The retrospective and exploratory investigation, which aimed to characterize the homophobic and transphobic violence experienced by activists of the Community Social Networks during their trajectory for Cuban schools, had, as a sample, 90 activists from the following networks: Youth for sexual health and rights; Transcuba. Network of Transgender people, couples and families; Lesbian and bisexual women; Humanity for diversity (HXD); and Men who have sex with men (MSM).
According to the text, “the average age of the sample was 28.1 years with a trend of 22 years of age. Attendance was predominantly white (48), followed by mestizo (25) and black (17) people from the provinces of Havana, Villa Clara and Santiago de Cuba. Most of the people studied in the urban areas of their provinces and the external regime was predominant.
“Distribution by sexual orientation and gender identity as stated by the subjects was 38 gay men, 27 transgender people, 19 lesbian women, 5 bisexual women and 1 bisexual man.
“The schooling completed was concentrated in Secondary Education. At the time of the investigation, 25 people were in higher education, mostly gay men.
Among the elements of analysis that stand out in the results, the authors cite school dropout, while “22 subjects indicated that they had left school at some point in their school career, and only 9 returned, mostly trans people who sought to complete their secondary education”.
According to the research, “the average age of dropout was concentrated at 16.6 years of age at the end of secondary school, with trans people being the most represented. Of the 22 people who reported having dropped out of school, 13 referred to the fact that this decision was linked to the situations of violence of which they were victims in the school environment . They experienced physical abuse, their opinions weren’t listened to, threats against them weren’t listened to, or they were ignored, mocked, had their belongings, stolen, were insulsted, sexually abused, sexually abused, not allowed to wear the uniform they wanted, were left home, not allowed to participate in activities, contracted the HIV virus, or needed to work because the family did not cover their basic needs.
Trans people (9) are the ones who mostly refer to this experience, followed by lesbian women (3)”.
“The response of the educational institutions focused on the change of study regime or on the isolation of the victims: (…) the solution from the residences was to put us in semi-boarding schools, (…) the daily trips (…)”, some of the testimonies state.
“It should be noted that the measures implemented could be considered a form of revictimization, since it is the victims of violence against whom measures are taken and not on those who victimize them,” the authors point out.
Among those who perpetrated violence, researchers cite students, teachers, the victims’ own families, relatives of other students, teaching support staff and others.
Support networks within the school were practically non-existent, and there was a tendency to normalize the situations that occurred: (…) they are the work of boys, they should not be given importance (…) The support, in the cases in which it was present, came from students who intervened to stop the mistreatment, according to the study.
“Verbal aggressions coming from friends were not seen as forms of violence: (…) they told me that they could make jokes and play with me, but we did not allow anyone to play with you (…), while the attitude of the teachers was aimed at silencing the situations and placing the blame on the victims”.
Another element of interest is that the people affected decided not to report when they suffered violence due to homophobia and transphobia. Among the reasons for not making the complaint are: Not being prepared to make sexual orientation public: (…) I didn’t say anything because my family didn’t know about it (…) The immobility of the teaching staff results in impunity for the aggressors: (…) Even though you denounced the abuse, nothing happened (…) Fear of the consequences against double stigmatization: (…) if you made a complaint, they made fun of you because you were gay and a snitch (…)
“Such evidence shows that it is essential to sensitize student organizations to act as support networks for situations of violence in the school setting. It is vitally important to strengthen the training of teachers and non-teaching staff in the identification and prevention of homophobic and transphobic violence,” the Cenesex experts say.
It so happens that homophobic and transphobic violence in the school setting reflects homophobia and social transphobia. “Preventing and confronting these manifestations of discrimination in schools contributes to guaranteeing one of the principles of the National Education System in Cuba: access to education free of discrimination. Thus, it will be necessary to promote, not only specific policies and regulations, but also social and cultural changes, which are expressed in subjectivities and therefore in the relations between people,” says the campaign of the 11th edition of this Conference.
Nothing compares to always, and without exception, listening to children and young people in Cuba, who say that they like their school, because fear has no place in it.
COMMENTS ON WEB:
Very enlightening interview with Mariela and the information she provides on the few studies that have been done on the subject. However, I believe that in addition to raising awareness in the aftermath, it is also necessary to raise awareness and educate the family, mainly parents, about the way in which they should deal with situations that may arise with their children and to give them tools, especially to parents of primary school children, to explain to them according to their age how to treat and accept and not to discriminate and to give them guidance on how to explain to them that it is homosexuality and transsexuality (I am referring to primary school children). Because although they are parents from a generation closer to these times and are not permeated by prejudice, I imagine it must be difficult for them to give this kind of information to their children. And I point this out because of the negative comments made by the readers in the articles that reported on the conga for the day against homophobia in terms of allowing the participation of minors, who have no level of understanding of what it means to be gay, lesbian, transgender, etc.
Eusebio Hdez said:
May 16, 2018
It is good that the school is a place of wide inclusion. However, with this campaign it would appear that violence is associated with gender issues, when it is not exactly so. The campaign against any kind of violence should be extended to ¨Bullying¨ For example against disabled, skin color, personal appearance, etc.
Posted on May 15, 2018 – 7:14 by Alina M. Lotti
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Stephen Beresford probably found in Mike Jackson a good story to include in what would later become the screenplay for the film Pride, a historical drama about the work of a group of LGBT activists (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) who raised money to help families affected by the 1984 British miners’ strike.
A long time has passed since then and now Mike has had a chance to revisit those facts. Invited by the National Center for Sex Education (Cenesex) to celebrate the eleventh edition of the Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia, the activist, is also a member of the UNITE trade union. It’s the largest in the country, bringing together millions of members from various sectors, an organization in solidarity with Cuba, shared here with the public some of his experiences with the film and the event that motivated it.
“It was during Margaret Thatcher’s second term in office (1983-1987) when she intended to close a large number of mines and put thousands of workers out of work. I was just a young man of socialist thought and a member of the LGBT community, for whom it was important not only to recognize their rights, but also those of others.
“Stephen, the screenwriter, thought the story was incredible and worth taking to the big screen. The experience was different for those of us who were part of that group. I came from the working class and it was easy for me to identify with that cause.
That is to say, during all these years millions of human beings have had the possibility of learning the real dimension of the facts…
In September 2014 it premiered in the UK and it was amazing! Many young people were attracted to it. Today, new groups have emerged in the gay community, such as those who support dockworkers and immigrants. Many are trying to do what we did at that time. We couldn’t hope for anything better!
Thanks to the film we were able to broaden our voices in the UK and in other nations, and to speak not only of struggle and commitment, but also of solidarity.
This is the first time he has visited Cuba and it has only been three weeks. However, how do you see respect for the LGBTI community (this last letter has been incorporated a few years ago and means intersex)?
I feel very safe here; there are no drug users or homeless people on the streets. Compared to London there is a great contrast. My country has lived for 40 years with strong right-wing rule, but now the new leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is a great candidate on the left.
As for what you ask me, I believe that Cuba has made progress on the rights of the LGBT community, similar to my country.
If there was the possibility of a second film….
If that happens I’ll migrate to the moon!
The 11th Cuban Conference against Homophobia and Transphobia: For schools without homophobia and transphobia, began on May 4 and will run until May 18 in the context of the 30th anniversary of Cenesex, the main organizer and promoter of the event. Under the motto I include myself, this year – and for the second time – the campaign focuses on better education for the new generations.
By Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Posted: Friday 11 May 2018 | 07:33:31 PM
Yesterday, as part of the 11th Annual The Cuban Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia was held at the Karl Marx Theatre in the capital, the artistic gala that every May supports respect for free and responsible sexual orientation and gender identity, as an exercise in justice and social equity. The Cuban conga against homophobia and transphobia will be held on Saturday for the same purpose.
The initiative, for the first time, will take place at 6:30 p.m., from the intersection of the capital’s streets Línea and Paseo to the José Antonio Echeverría Recreational Center. In this place will be held the Festival for Diversity at the end of the conga.
From the Cuban sexual diversity strategy, unique in the world, many countries, even developed ones, could learn from it,” says Canadian researcher Emily Kirk, author of the first foreign book on the official approach to sexual diversity in the country.
Cuba’s Gay Revolution: normalizing sexual diversity through a health-based approach is the first overseas vision of the Cuban Program to normalize sexual diversity based on health. Author: Youth Rebel Published: 09/02/2018 | 09:00 pm
Although it is not among the books presented these days in La Cabaña, the debut of a text on Cuban reality is news in the international media.
This is the first vision from abroad of the Cuban program to normalize sexual diversity based on health: Cuba’s gay Revolution: normalizing sexual diversity through a health-based approach was published by Lexington Books, from the United States, after two years of persistent effort by its author, Canadian Emily Kirk, Doctor of Science in Latin American Studies and expert on global development issues.
She decided to first publish the results of her field research in the world’s most difficult publishing market, not so much because of the controversy over the sexual issue, but because of the suspicion that any scientific defense of the social achievements of revolutionary Cuba raises in that country.
This year, the book will be printed in the UK and Canada and presented in Spain. It has already been translated into Turkish and a Cuban publisher offered to take it to Spanish. Meanwhile, a copy of the work will be available at the Cenesex documentation center, courtesy of Kirk.
Beyond its publicized novelty as a first approach to the Cuban official vision on this issue, the text is a working tool for the multidisciplinary team that examines the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in Brazil, Fiji, Ecuador, India, South Africa and Cuba.
As an international expert in health programs, she emphasizes the virtues of a strategy that is almost invisible to our population because of its daily obviousness. Her opinion is conclusive: the Cuban treatment of sexual diversity is a unique and very special experience in the world. Many countries, even developed ones, could learn from it to advance in the solution of problems that accumulate centuries of inequality.
You don’t have it all figured out, there is much to gain even in terms of laws, conduct, sexist stereotypes…But it is impressive how they have managed to focus their actions on the unquestionable value of human health, their physical and emotional well-being, beyond the subjective interpretation of what is a sexual right or how they exercised, which is the most frequent approach that other countries work with,” explained Dr. Kirk in an exclusive interview for Sexo Sentido.
The choice of the title of her work certainly reflects an advertising strategy, Emily said, smiling. The Cuban Revolution is well-known and attracts a lot of interest. Part of that admiration is due to the government’s obsession with the health of the people and its sincere efforts to bring that care to other parts of the world, he said.
She began her research on the Cuban health system in 2008, and from 2011 she focused on the systematization of treatment of sexual diversity. She has known the island since she was a child because he used to accompany her father, Dr. John Kirk, whose love for the history of Cuba she honors with this book today.
In the last ten years, she has been able to observe the country’s evolution regarding these issues, and she admires very much what has been achieved by Cenesex, the Federation of Cuban Women and other Cuban institutions, but above all, the change of mentality that is already being felt in the street.
It also believes that we have great advantages over other countries in the area in terms of laws in favor of the family and individual rights. It states that our society is prepared to update its codes in terms of what is popularly incorporated as knowledge, feeling and social behavior.
He enthusiastically asserts that her studies of Creole reality do not end here. The book is a balance between 1959 and 2014, but Cuba continues to evolve and she is eager to observe this process and share her achievements with other nations where her academic tasks and her humanist vocation also take her.
In all countries, this is a problem to be addressed. In my city, diversity marches began 25 years ago and the first time around 100 people participated (including my family); however, in 2016,100,000 people marched, a quarter of the entire population “.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
By Juventud Rebelde
Published November 13, 2017 11:19:49 AM
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
LOS ANGELES, November 13. —Lena Headey, who plays the part of Cersei Lannister in the acclaimed TV show Game of Thrones, has come forward with claims of sexual harassment against the well-known Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, thus joining a growing list of similar accusations, according to Telesur.
Through the Madrid, Spain-based Heroes Comic Con, the actress revealed that she also was harassed by the Weinstein Company and acknowledged that the ongoing wave of allegations made by a large number of female performers in Hollywood should have taken place earlier.
Headey posted on Twitter that, during the Venice Film Festival, the producer asked her to take a walk with him, and at one point Weinstein made some suggestive comment. She just laughed it off, but has never been in any Miramax film since.
Two years later, in Los Angeles, after a breakfast meeting with the producer, he asked Headey to go up to his hotel room with him to give her a script. Despite the fact that she made everything quite clear to him, he marched her to his room with his hand on her back.
When Weinstein’s key card to his room did not work, Headey says, he grabbed her arm tightly and walked her to the hotel exit, called her a taxi, and whispered: “Don’t tell anybody about this. Not your manager, not your agent”.
Israeli-American filmmaker Harvey Weinstein was exposed before public opinion following the publication of reports in The New Yorker and The New York Times that the producer is facing 64 charges of rape and/or sexual harassment. What started with the accusations of eight brave women performers mobilized others in Hollywood and elsewhere who lived through the same experience at some point in their careers but chose to remain silent out of shame or fear. It seems that the Weinstein case will keep tongues wagging, inasmuch as it has become a banner under which women are airing an issue which, more often than not, is kept under wraps and usually marked by doubts as to the validity of the allegations and lack of sufficient legal support.
Most of the time, Weinstein’s alleged targets were young showbiz hopefuls. He is said to have abused them with the help of his colleagues and his powerful credentials. (Photo: Getty Images)
The actress recalls a meeting with Weinstein in which the producer “regaled me with offers of a lavish life filled with trips around the world on private planes if I would be his girlfriend”, she wrote on Instagram. Kelly says she declined.
In the summer of 2000, while she was filming the Miramax-distributed Get Over It, Sagemiller says Weinstein invited her into his hotel room, where he asked for a massage and refused to let her leave the room until she kissed him.
British actress Dix was 22 when Weinstein invited her to his room at the Savoy Hotel, ostensibly to watch footage from a film in which she was appearing. “As soon as I was in there, I realized it was a terrible mistake”.
The French actress told Le Parisien that Weinstein allegedly pursued her after his company bought the 1993 film Fausto, in which Darel starred. In 1995, she says, Weinstein asked her to meet him at a suite in The Ritz, where he allegedly propositioned her—even though his wife at the time was in the next room.
He offered to have me be his mistress a few days a year. That way we could continue to work together. Basically, it was ‘If you want to continue in America, you have to go through me.’”
“What could I do? Could I go to the police and say, ‘This disgusting man made me an indecent proposal in his hotel room at The Ritz?’ ” Darel told People. “They would have laughed at me. Even when you are raped it is difficult to prove, and society, in many cases, puts the burden of proof on women.”
Forlani, star of the Miramax movie Boys and Girls, alleges that she “escaped” Weinstein’s advances five times.
When Beckinsale was 17, she alleges, she was invited to meet with Weinstein at the Savoy Hotel. Though she assumed the meeting would be in a conference room, she says she was sent to the producer’s room instead. “He opened the door in his bathrobe,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
After meeting with Weinstein and a director in a hotel lobby to discuss a movie role, “Harvey asked me to stay and chat with him,” Delevingne wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “As soon as we were alone he began to brag about all the actresses he had slept with and how he had made their careers and spoke about other inappropriate things of a sexual nature.
“He invited me to come to his hotel room for a drink. We went up together. It was hard to say no because he’s so powerful. All the girls are scared of him. Soon, his assistant left and it was just the two of us. That’s the moment where he started losing control,” the French actress wrote in The Guardian. “We were talking on the sofa,” Seydoux alleges, “when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself. He’s big and fat, so I had to be forceful to resist him. I left his room, thoroughly disgusted. I wasn’t afraid of him, though. Because I knew what kind of man he was all along.” He then invited me to his room. I quickly declined and asked his assistant if my car was outside. She said it wasn’t and wouldn’t be for a bit and I should go to his room. At that moment I felt very powerless and scared but didn’t want to act that way hoping that I was wrong about the situation. When I arrived I was relieved to find another woman in his room and thought immediately I was safe. He asked us to kiss and she began some sort of advances on his direction. I swiftly got up . . . I said again that I had to leave. He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room.”
After casting the actress in Emma, Weinstein allegedly asked Paltrow to meet with him in a suite at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, where she says he put his hands on her and suggested “they head to the bedroom for massages,” according to The New York Times. “I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified,” says Paltrow.
“I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did,” Jolie told The New York Times. “This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable.”
“In the early 2000s Harvey Weinstein called me into his office,” Graham wrote in Variety. “There was a pile of scripts sitting on his desk. ‘I want to put you in one of my movies,’ he said and offered to let me choose which one I liked best. Later in the conversation, he mentioned that he had an agreement with his wife. He could sleep with whomever he wanted when he was out of town. I walked out of the meeting feeling uneasy. There was no explicit mention that to star in one of those films I had to sleep with him, but the subtext was there.
French actress Godrèche says that following a meeting at the Cannes Film Festival, Weinstein invited her to his suite at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, where he allegedly asked to give her a massage. “The next thing I know, he’s pressing against me and pulling off my sweater,” she told the Times. Godrèche then left the suite.
Costume designer Dunning says that Weinstein offered her a screen test before inviting her to a meal; upon arriving at the restaurant, she says, Dunning “was told that Mr. Weinstein’s earlier meeting was running late, so she should head up to his suite,” according to the Times. There, Dunning found a bathrobe-clad Weinstein, who allegedly offered her contracts for three films on the condition that she have three-way sex with him. “You’ll never make it in this business,” she says he replied when she laughed in response. “This is how the business works.”
The actress, who starred in a string of Miramax movies in the 90s, told The New Yorker that in 1995, Weinstein was alone with her in a hotel room, and proceeded to massage her shoulders, which made her “very uncomfortable.” She alleges that he then chased her around the room. A few weeks later, says Sorvino, Weinstein abruptly showed up at her apartment in New York after midnight. Sorvino says she told him her boyfriend was en route—a lie that persuaded Weinstein to leave. She believes that night negatively impacted her career: ”I definitely felt iced out and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it.”
Campbell, a writer and artist, wrote in The Times of London that in 1995, Weinstein called her out of the blue and invited her to meet with him about potential work in his hotel room. There, she alleges, he asked her to “jump in the bath” with him.
With information from Vanity Fair
By David Brooks, US correspondent for Mexico’s LA JORNADA daily
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Faced with the increasingly obscene and dangerous political landscape in this country, we hear responses that are moving from the simple no to Trump and his agenda, to something that could generate a progressive change in this country.
The most recent state and local elections in various parts of the country held on November 7 were what some expected, wished, prayed for … that is, a first warning of what could be a wave of repudiation and even progressive change through the the polls in the intermediate elections (federal legislative and several governorships) in 2018 and through new, or renewed, decentralized but allied social movements.
Not only did the Democrats sweep away Republicans in states like Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and others, but many of the electoral winners were not only Democrats but progressives, and in many cases these victories had a tinge of divine vengeance.
For example, Lee Carter, a marine veteran of the Iraq war, who identified himself as a democratic socialist, defeated a Republican to take his place in the lower house of Virginia, and celebrated that night by inviting everyone to sing Solidarity Forever, the hymn of trade union movement.
Also winning a seat in that same chamber wasa Danica Roem, defeating a Republican who had promoted anti-transgender measures and who had declared himself the main anti-homosexual in the state; She is now the first transgender state legislator in the country. Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala became the first Latinas to become state legislators in Virginia’s history.
In Hoboken, New Jersey, the new mayor is Ravinder Bhalla, a Sikh lawyer, who declared: I am everything Trump hates: a dark man in a turban, and a proud American with the knowledge to stop his assault on the values of our country. . In Helena, Montana, the progressive Wilmot Collins is not only the first African-American to be mayor in the history of the state, but is a refugee from Liberia who won against the Republican mayor who opposed to the entry of refugees to this country.
In Philadelphia, perhaps the most radical district attorney in the country, Larry Krasner, civil rights lawyer, fierce critic of the massive incarceration in this country and who has represented Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street activists was elected. In the Atlantic County commissioner race in New Jersey, Ashley Bennett defeated the Republican in that position; She decided to challenge him at the polls after he via Facebook if they would return home in time to cook their. dinners.
Braxton Winston, who won a seat in the city council of Charlotte, North Carolina, is an activist whose image went viral: his fist held high in front of a battalion of riot police before being arrested in a demonstration against the death of an African-American at the hands of police. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the next mayor will be progressive Tim Keller, who replaces the outgoing conservative Republican.
The progressive triumphs were remarkable, as they offered more evidence of a growing sector within the Democratic Party outside the centrist leadership. Electoral organizations such as the Working Families Party and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) together with the growing diaspora of the support movement for the democratic socialist Bernie Sanders (still the most popular national politician in the polls), Our Revolution and new networks as Indivisible, they were key to generating these triumphs.
But it was also the result of new alliances between social groups, especially immigrant organizations that promoted candidates who directly faced the xenophobic policies of pro-Trump Republicans and other civil rights defense organizations such as Black Lives Matter, along with organizations defending the rights of women and environmentalists.
What happened in the November elections with hundreds of progressive local and state candidates is the beginning of a wave (…) a massive repudiation of Donald Trump, said Joe Dinkin of the Working Families Party. Independent experts, such as the influential Cook Political Report, indicate that the polls, for now, indicate that a political wave in favor of the Democrats is being glimpsed in 2018, implying that they could retake control of one, and even both houses of Congress.
The wide range of active resistance against Trump is showing its potential to go beyond being just opposition to the populist and at the same time plutocratic right-wing agenda and pushing forward a progressive agenda both at the polls and in the social sphere, where some claim it is growing a movement of many movements, varied and decentralized, as described by LA Kaufman in The Guardian. He argues that, in addition to established progressive organizations that have seen their membership grow (as in the case of Working Families and DSA), an impressive number of local grassroots groups have flourished -but at the same time, adding to national networks as Indivisible- that as a whole are six times bigger than the Tea Party (the most influential rightwing current within the Republican Party).
And not everything is manifested or has an end in the electoral field, with these movements -inmigrants, indigenous people, anti-war military veterans, defenders of freedoms and civil rights, environmentalists, professional athletes, artists, students, workers’ organizations and trade unions- fighting in several fronts, but with more and more solidarity among them, which makes them very dangerous for the guardians of power.
The “no” that defined the initial resistance to the seizure of power by Trump and his allies is now seeking to invent, to invite, to a yes.
(Taken from La Jornada )
They don’t feel sorry, should they?
Roberto Alfonso Lara Licenciado en Periodismo.
Graduado en la Universidad Central “Marta Abreu”
de Las Villas en 2013.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Two women walk together, holding hands, appropriating the same space and right that society allows heterosexual couples. Two women love each other and do not hesitate to share their affection, under the warm sun of these days. Two women kiss in public –an innocent touch of lips– and around them the looks of contempt, the feeling of disgust, the scandalized common shame.
-I don’t know, wow, I would be sorry, warns another woman.
Prejudices persist and reality is responsible for challenging them. Every day it is more frequent to see the amorous self-assurance of two women (or men) in the street. They try to lead their lives in this way, naturally, like the rest of the people, without feeling discrimination and offense towards one or another relationship. But the more habitual the scene is, the more settled the phobia of the different. There are still many people who conceive and accept, in public, only one type of affection.
To love and show it openly through any caress, goes through a strongly patriarchal culture, which still recognizes as legitimate and obligatory the value system linked to heterosexuality. Censure the candid kiss between two females with the same arrogance that should admonish the kissing, almost pornographic, of two young people of the same or opposite sex in a park or corner of the city. What’s reprehensible, given the case, does not lie in the sexual condition of those who kiss, but in the impudent manner in which something so intimate is exhibited. However, the morality shared today is sometimes more condescending in the face of obscenity and less in the face of what differs from their beliefs.
The prevailing macho and homophobic tradition repudiates the expressions of affection between two lesbians, for many, the most hidden and marginalized population within homosexuality. The reactions and terms used to define them (“disgusting”, “filthy”, “repulsive”) are truly offensive and show how little literacy continues Cuban society on issues related to sexual and civic education.
For the psychologist and activist Norma Guillard, a decades-long defender of the rights of lesbian women in Cuba, the situations of discrimination and rejection that involve them represent another example of gender-based violence in the country. This makes it difficult to face “lesbophobia” in the family and social spheres; more when there is not even a systematic observation about their conflicts, nor is sexuality promoted from an early age that allows people to face, with the necessary self-esteem, the condition in which they wish to live and be happy.
However, the matter goes beyond the institutional and legal efforts in favor of the rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals and Intersex people (LGBTI), even in the nations where they have been recognized. Very recently, last October in Buenos Aires, Argentina –considered one of the most “gayfriendly” capitals in Latin America– Mariana Gómez, married to Rocío Girat, was arrested for kissing in public with her wife, in a clear attack on her sexual orientation The fact gave rise to protests against the obvious episode of lesbophobia.
If kissing is, as we know, a liberating and exciting act, its enjoyment in public, in a measured and tender way, should be assumed without sexist and discriminatory questions. Nobody is given the power to decide who should do it or not, but the possibility of being more tolerant, sensitive and respectful of the difference.
Roberto Alfonso Lara Licenciado en Periodismo.
Graduado en la Universidad Central “Marta Abreu”
de Las Villas en 2013.
Donate Blood, Not Prejudice
By LISANDRA GÓMEZ GUERRA.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
The Autoexclúyete [Self-Exclusion] Campaign seeks to guide people on the health requirements they must have so their blood can be used
At the Sancti Spíritus Provincial Blood Bank, behind the desk of the receptionist, there is a poster that, rather than informing, generates noise, misinterpretation and, above all, segregation.
Seeking to explain the health requirements that a person must have to become a blood donor, the poster warns: “There are individual behaviors and actions the law does not prohibit, but that can be a disease-transmission risk among those who practice them. It is recommended that these people self-exclude, that is, they should abstain from donating their blood. Among these practices are: homosexuality, bisexualism, sexual promiscuity …”
This is worrisome because the fact that an institution belonging to the health sector expresses such misconception on the diversity of tastes, behaviors and inclinations of human sexuality is indicative of underlying discrimination.
According to Graduate Nurse Víctor González, Deputy Director of the Center, the Autoexclúyete Campaign seeks to guide the population on what health requirements they must have for their blood to be used. Thus, everyone should be able to tell whether they are eligible or not to donate blood. But, more than that, the poster reveals that at this workplace, in the 21st Century, several myths and misconceptions are still held.
Historically, homosexuals have been blamed for the emergence and spread of HIV. Several religions maintain that it is a punishment for going against nature. For years, however, science has been responsible for denying this and, although it is true that AIDS is more common in men than in women, it has also been shown that its spreading was linked to the widespread habit of not using condoms.
It is also known that in Africa –the geographic region where the disease began spreading– the first infections were among heterosexual persons. The truth is that AIDS has no face.
This wrong perception is also linked to the prejudice that the homosexual population is promiscuous. It is striking that, for the World Health Organization, a promiscuous person is “one who has more than two sexual partners in a year”. So the label fits homosexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals, transsexuals and as many denominations as we would care to mention.
Rather than worrying about how a person finds pleasure, it would be advisable that the Provincial Blood Bank maintain its excellent work. To this end, there are some provisions –a sort of ABC– ranging from detection by primary health care services of those who wish and are eligible to donate blood, to the analyses of blood samples to corroborate the quality and type of blood, whoever the person is.
The real risks are not in what we are, but in the responsibility (or lack of it) with which we face our lives. Only free from stereotyped conceptions can we live in a more just and less exclusionary world.
10 Responses to “Donate blood, not prejudice”
Incredible, as I read it I do not believe it … and what role has played in all this by the administration of the blood bank that has allowed such a poster ?? … UFF … attitudes like these leave a lot to be desired …
Companions of Escambray:
With my mouth open I have been left to read the Public Health reply to this letter, published in today’s print edition. I had not really read the commentary from the journalist Lisandra Gómez and ran to see her on this medium. Why have not they put that reaction here already? I hope to see you soon and, if you can, to include this opinion below.
First of all I want to say that it is a very serious disrespect to the readers to send a press text so poorly worded. The lack of agreement, coordination in ideas and misuse of gerunds and other components of language are obvious. Incidentally, even the poster contains linguistic errors. And it has been there for years, according to them, without someone noticing not only the errors of form, but, above all, content!
The poster is very eloquent, well, it is enough to publish it alone, without comment, to realize that the letter sent by the sanitary authorities seeks only to protect itself from a correct criticism, but was eluded by them, since apparently they believe themselves infallible.
A few years ago, I think that in the middle of 2014, I read another similar reaction and I think it becomes worrisome that tendency to not accept the external valuations, more when in the eyes are mistaken.
I would recommend to those who wrote this document to contact the fellows of the Cuban Association of Social Communicators to give them a course on how to write, brainstorm ideas and, finally, communicate. I’m serious. So maybe they do not incur new mistakes other than that already denounced by the publication.
Finally I recommend you reread the letter of the companera Lisandra so that they realize that yes, they exclude instead of adding followers to the campaign of blood donation. And discriminate. The poster speaks for itself.
I, too, have been stunned by such a poster. If, as from journalism itself, we have tackled on other occasions, blood banks are rigorously analyzed before use, if Cuba is ever more advanced in methods and resources to ensure safe blood, if the fact that donations are made voluntarily contributes to that aspiration, what does the campaign of self-exclusion then respond to? Do they no longer have the necessary resources for a reliable quality test, or are they increasingly costly to the country and, therefore, is it expected that this measure will contribute to safer donations? This initiative is worrying, as well as others that have appeared in recent times, but are another matter.
And who says that heterosexual people with a single partner can not be carriers of HIV, one responds to their sexual behavior, but what about the couple? What else do you do if you are gay, bisexual, straight or trans, autoexclúyete discriminates more, if you want to prevent: rapid testing is a method to detect HIV / AIDS.
What a shame to find such promotional banners like these. Apparently, we do not agree on promotion and propaganda, as close as May 17 and the day against homophobia. Thanks to whatever, we have in the world a profession called “journalism” that criticizes, values and educates. Good post
What communicator and designer could participate in the conception of this campaign? That is discrimination, segregation, an outrage and use of faculties that no institution can tell people to EXCLUDE to donate blood. I have donated blood repeatedly and have never been asked such things.
And the blood does not undergo a rigorous analysis to know if it is optimal or not? Or just for the word of the donors is approved ???
Congratulations to the journalist Lisandra.
When I saw the misleading poster (let’s call it that), I wondered where they received the title that accredits them as health officials, those responsible for such nonsense (I included from who conceived the idea of the poster, who gave the campaign its name and even who approved it and put it on).
I came back to a country lost in geography (I think beyond the stone age) and I resisted thinking that in the country where I trained as a scientist there could be people so twisted, able to hide their homophobia and disguise it from ignorance, illiteracy, medical, epidemiological and other excesses that I prefer not to mention.
SELF-EXCLUDING !!! ??? but where it has seen similar and opprobrious nonsense !!! And such inadequate and erroneous arguments. Does this nurse not know about the very rigorous quality tests to which the donated blood is (donation by donation) before being released and declared fit for use? Or is that the hidden intention of “de-instruction” another.
Is it that we are going to return to a past that we have criticized so many times and that we have so often admitted the gravity of the mistakes made?
I wonder if there is a scientific advisor who reads what is going to be published in that institution or someone responsible for such nonsense to not be displayed on behalf of a health institution that is respected ?.
I am more relaxed if it is only a local initiative, wrong but perfectly correctable. If the evil has other dimensions, then it is still much more serious.
Thank you Lisandra Gomez Guerra for this article that expresses the feeling, concern and indignation of many who have wondered, baffled, if the program of Nursing Degree where our colleague Victor González graduated should be reviewed, completed or in case this Is optimal, then analyze the suitability of who holding a professional title acting as if it were not. THANKS also to the editorial board of this newspaper for putting objectivity and social justice on the side of reason.
I understand that my words may sound a bit strong and hopefully my opinion is not EXCLUDED (in the middle of this harmful campaign) to face the lack of objectivity and put the finger in the yaga of that old behavior that disguises homophobia with many masks and has made many bleed. THANK YOU!!
I am glad that people are as prepared as you to analyze and that response so admirable, because, without offending anyone, and without ideology trastocada, has said the greatest truth, that in these times there are still people with such reasoning and even worse that there is a leader a little analyst and prepared that he did not give a stop to this stupidity, thanks to the journalist that I hope that comment has not brought consequences as usual in our country.
I imagine that many are very worried about what is written on that poster, and others do not even count, it is not necessary to offend anyone if what is just read is enough to draw some conclusions, what a shame and then they say they know what they are talking about (I.e.
We will denounce it internationally. If I could file a lawsuit with that institution, I would … but we already know that we are unprotected.
By Francisco Rodriguez Cruz [from his blog] June 28, 2017
The closest thing I’ve ever seen of the United States was at a vantage point in Cuba from where we can see –quite far away– the unwanted Guantánamo Naval Base, in the eastern part of our country. I also got a bit close when I visited Canada, many years ago. Well, and from Mexico, not that long ago. That is, from the two bordering nations, although I did not cross the border. But this time I have stepped –technically speaking– on US territory, on my first visit to the Embassy of the world empire, here in Havana.
The motive was noble, though; and the results were positive. I was invited –as one in a small group of ten people whom the Embassy identifies as activists for the rights of the LGBTI community– to participate, this June 28, in a worldwide interactive electronic chat on thr occasion of the Gay Pride Month.
I found it a pleasant surprise that, in times like these, the State Department organized a panel on “Perspectives and voices to face hate crimes”. There were two interesting panelists and a moderator who were in New York and Washington. It may be a good sign that President Trump cannot turn back everything that the American people have already conquered.
Beberly Tillery, executive director of the New York Project against Violence, and Brett Parson, who oversees the Special Links Division of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, responded to questions from activists, officials and other participants who had been invited to the United States embassies in Chile, Canada, Tunisia, Malawi, and Ecuador, among other countries.
To our delight, this exchange –that lasted just over an hour and a quarter– included one of the many questions we had sent from Havana.
On closing, there was a brief summary where there seemed to be consensus on the similarity of many of the episodes of discrimination, violence and homophobic and trans-phobic crimes suffered by LGBTIQ people in the world. This included in the nations that have advanced the most in public policies and specific legislation on the topic.
For this reason, several participants pointed out the importance of maintaining a more fluid exchange of good practices between and within civil society and government institutions like the police.
In particular, I reiterated my old idea that the coincidences between Cuba’s and the United States’ policies in relation to the fight against homophobia and trans-phobia could be one of the means of rapprochement. Of course, with the proviso that the current administration rectifies its current backward standing, and there is an eventual rescue of the process of normalization of relations that President Obama began.
So far, this was a summary of the content of the meeting. Now, I’ll add a little bit of folklore, with my most personal expressions and impressions.
I cannot deny that I was curious to see the place; to nose around the environment of that building so mysterious and emblematic in our history and city. A building that the majority of the Cuban people only see from outside, mostly when we march along the Malecon or rally at the Anti-Imperialist Tribunal to protest against successive US governments.
Therefore, to keep the tradition, I thought it would be OK to take part in the dialogue, but also to make a statement –even more so if this time we were remembering the disturbances of Stonewall: an act of rebellion by definition. And so I found a nice red pullover –special for the occasion– with the phrase #UNBLOCK CUBA. This was an initiative that some compatriots present welcomed.
I must acknowledge the politeness and professionalism of the diplomats who received us: Messrs. Derek Wright, Political Secretary, and Justen A. Thomas, First Secretary with the Press and Culture Office. They courteously ignored my T-shirt. I was left with the concern that –maybe because of it– a group photo was not taken. I had been so looking forward to have them pose by my side!
I was also a bit disappointed, because in that place –where I thought I would enjoy fantastic air conditioning– full of that freedom of expression they keep throwing at us, I was not allowed to bring in my cell phone or my digital camera. And they also made a number of suggestions on what to say or not about this encounter in our blogs and social media network profiles. By the way, I did not understand very well what they said, and for that reason, I may unintentionally fail to comply.
But since I’m a law-abiding person – even if it is US law– I give you my word that I tried to behave as best as possible, even when, at the door, a security guard –apparently not very patient with my awkwardness trying to empty all my pockets– asked me if it was the first time I’d been to the place. I smiled at him and said, “It shows, doesn’t it!”
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive to the daily POR ESTO! of Mérida, Mexico.
Political organizations and religious institutions of all kinds, tones, and colors have tried to legislate about what have been (or are) the most appropriate “carnal relations.”
An investigative work on homosexuality in several countries, by University of New Mexico professor emeritus of sociology, Nelson Valdés, states that the Bolsheviks in Russia criminalized homosexuality for a short time in 1922. But it has been a general rule that both communists, socialists and capitalist parties always avoid defining guidelines on sexual orientation.
Valdés points out that in the United States, the change came just on December 6, 2011, when US foreign policy manifested itself in defense of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender “rights” in some countries of the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then announced a global LGBT policy, although she acknowledged that she was talking about this subject “knowing that my country’s record on human rights for homosexuals is far from adequate.”
Until 2003, it was a crime in the United States to be LGBT. Many homosexuals in the United States suffered violence and harassment. For some – among them many young people – harassment and exclusion continue to be daily realities. “Hence, as in all nations, we have a lot of work to do to protect human rights in our country,” Secretary of State Clinton said in a December 2011 statement.
His new international policy promised to open the borders of the United States to give aid and protection to the LGBT refugees and asylum seekers … as long as they came from those countries of which Washington demands regime change.
Practically, the United States had only added one more pretext for its intrusion into the internal affairs of those countries that defied American power.
Shortly afterward, in the mid-1970s, the media “influenced” by Washington within their own nation and around the world unleashed a great campaign on the alleged discrimination against homosexuals in Cuba.
Simultaneously, a media crusade was initiated to demonstrate that “the roots of homophobia in Cuba were in the revolution of Fidel Castro and the new Cuban communist leadership.” In 2000, the Cuban leader admitted his personal responsibility for not having promptly corrected the phenomenon, derived from the stubborn policies of years before the revolution.
Until 1973 homosexuality was considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and other related professions throughout the hemisphere shared similar attitudes. Homosexuality was considered until very recently a “deviation” and prohibited in the majority of the states of the United States. For its part, Cuba had inherited a macho culture because of long-standing attitudes, both in Spain and in the African cultures that contribute to its national identity.
However, in the last two decades, says Professor Nelson Valdes, the changes on issues of sexual identity and gender have been extraordinary. The Cuban media has played a systematic and concerted role in the education of the general population. Cinematography has been at the forefront in discussing these issues. In the last 13 years, Cuban television has more explicitly explored issues related to alternative sexual behavior.
The openness to openly gay behavior has not been limited to Havana alone. Homophobia is clearly in decline throughout the island as evidenced by the fact that gay and lesbian candidates are being elected to public office. A well-known foreign observer has pointed out that, in this area, “Cuba is much more liberal than the United States and Europe.”
What remains to be addressed is how it has been possible for a country characterized by such macho tendencies so entrenched in institutions, politicians, and national culture to have changed so much in the relatively short period of half a century and now that homophobia has become the enemy.
Indeed, the mainstream media and political and social leaders in the country have openly attempted to positively influence the population, in which some of the older people have tried to cling to the sexual and gender roles learned before the triumph Of the Cuban revolution.
Valdes highlights as a great achievement that Cubans have overcome the idea that machismo, manhood, and masculinity are the expressions of what defines a revolutionary. But, in my opinion, it is the awareness of the necessity of national unity for the defense of the revolution that has played an essential role in such a transcendental task for the progress of the human condition.
July 6, 2017.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.