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Cuba’s first LGBT hotel, “Gran Muthu Rainbow Hotel”, reopened in Cayo Guillermo, in the province of Ciego de Ávila (East), on November 15th. It had originally opened in December 2019, but had to be closed shortly thereafter due to the coronavirus pandemic. Information is from the Exam.
According to the sales manager at the accommodation center, Marlis Delgado, the hotel’s existence represents “important steps towards the new family code”, which is being studied in Cuba.
“This means a step forward for our society and having this hotel here right now and another one that will be inaugurated shortly in Havana, gives us the possibility that this family code has a slightly stronger foundation to be approved”, says Delgado .
For the first few weeks, the main foreign visitors to the site were Canadians. For one of them, Kevin McGrath (37), the hotel could serve as an inspiration for the government to make “the appropriate changes for all LGBT people who come to Cuba”.
“It’s a cozy place and we feel very included”, he adds.
The new family code in Cuba, which should be sanctioned by the National Assembly at the end of the year, and then submitted to a national referendum in 2022, contemplates same-sex union.
Originally, the idea was to incorporate the theme into the 2019 Constitution, but at the time there was strong rejection generated by the Evangelical Churches and some other social groups, and the debate was postponed.
The expectation with tourism is that the hotel will receive around 100,000 visitors in the last 45 days of 2021. In 2022, the expectation is that there will be 2 million tourists.
CUBA AND HOMOSEXUALITY
It is well known that after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, gays were persecuted. According to the book “Before Nightfall”, in the early days of the revolution there was a lot of police violence, concentration camps and forced labor for all those who were dissidents to the new Cuban regime and those who were considered “sexually deviant” also indicated a “sign for dissent ”
“Homophobia was the rule.” says Mariela Castro in an interview with Opera Mundi – “What was considered abnormal was the respect for those who had chosen a different sexual orientation. But, I repeat, it was not something specific to Cuba.
The institutionalized homophobia of the early years of the Revolution reflected this reality and was in keeping with the culture of the time. Making fun of homosexuals was normal, as was belittling or denigrating them. It was normal to discriminate against them in the market, in their professional life, and this was the most serious aspect”
Mariela also mentions that the Cuban Revolution had a political program that called for the fight against inequality, racism and different forms of discrimination against women, in addition to the end of injustices, but contradictorily had not been interested in homosexuals.
Gays could not work with education or culture because they were considered “bad role models for children and students” and it was necessary to distance them from the youth. The discriminatory policy was only revoked in 1976, when the Ministry of Culture was created and the resolution was considered unconstitutional and, finally, was eliminated. In 1979, homosexuality was no longer a crime.
Since then, there have been many advances regarding the LGBT issue in the country, including the public health system promoting sex reassignment surgery, and also on May 17th being commemorated the “national day against homophobia”, which is sponsored by the government. There are laws that protect gays against discrimination in the workplace, for example, and there are campaigns promoted by the state media that denounce prejudice against LGBTs.