Machos, Maricones, and Gays

Cuba and Homosexuality

Ian Lumsden
Book Cover

PB: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-371-3
Publication: Jan 96

HC: $84.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-370-6
Publication: Jan 96

Ebook: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0559-3
Publication: Jan 96

304 pages
5.5 x 8.25
8 halftones

A historically based, first-hand report of contemporary homosexuality in Cuban society and culture


This remarkable account of gays in Cuba links the treatment of male homosexuality under Castro with prejudices and preconceptions prevalent in Cuban society before the Revolution. Ian Lumsden argues that much of the present discussion does not acknowledge the significant improvements that have occurred in the last decade. As an antidote to what he considers wide-spread misinformation, Lumsden locates the current issues surrounding homosexual identity within the broad context of Cuban culture, history, and social policy and makes revealing comparisons to the experience of homosexuals in other Latin American countries.

Lumsden explores the historic roots of the oppression of homosexuals through such issues as race, religion, and gender. He considers the cultural history and current erosion of traditional "machismo," the correlation between traditional women's roles and the relationships between gay men, and homosexuality as defined by the law and as presented in typical sexual education. He addresses the international controversy over state-imposed sanatoriums for HIV/AIDS patients, and details the social scene, the varying ideals among different generations of gay Cubans, gay life and family ties, and the difference between being publicly and privately gay in Cuba.

Lumsden's involvement over the years in gay culture in Cuba, his interviews with gay Cuban men, and his formidable scholarship produce a strikingly honest, accurate portrayal of the changes in homosexual life.


"(This book) is sure to upset both sides of the Cuban Question, which speaks well for the author's thoroughness and his open-mindedness...adding to (its) value as a resource on gay Cuban life is a comprehensive bibliography, an essay on santeria by Tomas Fernandez Robaina, and the 'Manifesto of Gay and Lesbian Association of Cuba.'" —Lambda Book Report

"This is a fascinating book, in part the result of personal interest and travel in Latin America and in part a well-researched study."Information for Social Change

"Lumsden's perceptive study of the intricacies of gay life in Cuba is an essential text for those attempting to understand the complexities of gender, sexuality, and homosexuality in modern Latin America."GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Contemporary Cuba
2. Machismo and Homosexuality before the Revolution
3. Institutionalized Homophobia
4. Homosexuality and the Law
5. Homosexuality and Sexual Education in the 1980s
6. The Erosion of Traditional Machismo
7. Gay Life in Havana Today
8. The Impact of AIDS
9. An Imperfect Revolution in an Imperfect World
Appendix A: Cuban Sexual Values and African Religious Beliefs – Tomás Fernández Robaina
Appendix B: El Pecado Original – Pablo Milanés
Appendix C: Manifesto of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Cuba
Select Bibliography

About the Author(s)

Ian Lumsden, associate professor of political science at Atkinson College, York University, is the author of Homosexuality, Society, and the State in Mexico.