Cuba Exhibits Homoerotic Art Banned in US
One of the biggest miconceptions about Cuba is its attitude against homosexuality. I will not deny that there were lingering machismo/anti-gay attitudes and laws from the pre-Revolutionary days that carried into the Revolution - as persist in many Latin and Carribean countries today. But the movie "Before Night Falls" ingrained a particularly vile and false view of Cuba's intolerance to the world (that is a whole other post).
I know things have changed there just from my visit in 2003. I was suprised to walk down the Malecon at midnight and see it thronged with hundreds of gay Cubans openly partying into the night. Of course, that is a freedom that I wish we had here in the US - partying in the parks all night long. But it also reflected a sanctioning of homosexuality that would never be tolerated here, perhaps outside of San Francisco.
But the State TV broadcast of images yesterday from an opening of Robert Mapplethorpe's photography exhibit, called "Sacred and Profane," complete with National Assembly Presidnet Ricardo Alvarez in attandance, is just the kind of signal that the attitude shift in Cuba has permeated society. This comes on the heels of a film shown at the Havana Film Festival called "Sexuality, A Right to Live," which depicted transvestites being trained to teach other men how to practice safer sex and avoid HIV-AIDS.
Mapplethorpe is a celebrated photographer who achieved worldwide fame when in 1990, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and its director were charged with obscenity for exhibiting Mapplethorpe's photographs. Many frankly depit male nudity and homoerotic themes.