News and Facts about Cuba

Cuba Censors Axe Same-Sex Couples

Cuba Censors Axe Same-Sex Couples

September 7, 2012

Isbel Diaz Torres

HAVANA TIMES — Horrendous! With the stroke of a pen they have managed to

give a homophobic skew to the instructions of the 2012 census takers!

One of the paragraphs that defined who would be considered partners was

crudely struck out.

This information was reported by Maykel Gonzalez Vivero in

his personal El Nictalope ("Hawkeye"), on Wednesday, September 5.

It made it to my email thanks to that good brother and journalist

Francisco Rodriguez Cruz (who has his own blog called Paquito el de Cuba).

I took off running to find a copy of the publication, and it was indeed

exactly like Maykel had said.

The sentence in question is found on page 47 of the "Census Taker

Instructions." In this manual, blue ink is used to cross out the

sentence that had read: "Same-sex couples are allowed, provided they are

cohabiting in the same household."

In its place, someone handwrote in the margin: "PARTNERS MUST BE OF


Of course this doesn't involve the personal initiative of some

homophobic individual. Maykel tells us that he was shown the official

directive by Ovidio Bermudez Acosta, the census director in Sagua la

Grande (in the center of the island).

The National Office of Statistics and Information (ONEI) sent a set of

instructions titled "Methodological Details and Errata Identification,"

in which the next to the last page calls for the striking of the

original language and its replacement with the discriminatory sentence.

From what I've been able to find out, this has also occurred in Villa

Clara, Matanzas and Havana, which makes it pretty obvious that this is a

national policy.

Thus, a document developed by specialists at ONEI was subsequently amended.

So who was it that was so bothered by the inclusion of gay couples? Who

on this island decided to conceal a reality from others who are trying

to understand it?

How will it be possible to establish policies to recognize rights that

have been wrongfully denied if, when we get the chance, an overly

enthusiastic "censor" can decide who should or shouldn't be considered

partners in this country?

First, this approach directly violates the recent "Guidelines of the

Communist Party." But for someone like me, who isn't active in those

ranks, the most important consideration is that it violates the rights

of a large number of people who live in this country.

It makes us invisible. We're erased from the map. They claim that we're

alone, that we're incapable of forming families. We don't count as

loving couples. They say we aren't what partners "should be."

The truth is that they can't make us invisible. We're now developing

strategies so that they'll count us, even if they don't want to.

Activists on the island are bringing this information to the attention

of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people so that all of us will

be aware of what's happening. We're also asking them to declare

themselves in consensual unions in those cases where this is so.

If the census taker ignores or modifies our responses (as it's

apparently planned) we can refuse to finish answering the questionnaire.

Nobody can come along and tell us who Cuban partners "should be."

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