1969 was an eventful year for me, for the Left and for L/G folks. I came out and transitioned. People’s Park happened and white kids were shot at and killed by the police, a year before Kent State. The Weatherman faction of SDS expelled the Progressive Labor faction (PL was neither progressive nor actual laborers). Stonewall happened.
Gay and lesbian people were denouncing the treatment of L/G folks in Cuba. Even though L and G didn’t include people with transsexualism I considered myself a part of that struggle as well as part of Weather.
Therefore I was dismayed at the low level of consciousness displayed by members of the straight Left including the Weather faction when so many went running off to Cuba that summer to join the Venceremos Brigade on what was ostensibly a mission to aid in the harvest of Cuba’s sugar cane but which came off as a junket by those on the Left who were affluent enough to afford the trip during which they got to meet Castro.
Many of us were angered by the failure of those privilege folks, the elite of the straight left to confront Castro over his abuse of L/G people.
Perhaps if they had it would have awakened Fidel’s awareness of his counter-revolutionary stance regarding L/G people much earlier.
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has been in the news a good amount recently.
In an interview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, the former Cuban head said that in the early years of the revolution homosexuals were persecuted and that he regretted that they were marginalized or sent to agrarian reform camps as punishment.
“If someone is responsible, it’s me,” he said, according to the BBC.
Castro added that he was too busy dealing with attacks against him and his government to put a stop to homophobic attitudes within his regime.
The communist government did however soon change their stance on homosexuality. In 1979 homosexuality was decriminalized and there have been recent efforts to legalize same-sex unions.