Cuba has come a long way on LGBT rights in the last ten years. The Advocate reports:
In 1963, just four years after coming to power, Fidel Castro said in a speech at the University of Havana, “[t]he socialist society cannot permit that kind of degeneration. Youths who aspire to that sort of thing? No! For trees that grow twisted, the remedy is no longer so easy.” In the 1970s, LGBT Cubans faced severe discrimination and many were sent to “rehabilitation and reeducation” camps. Cubans diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s were also isolated from the rest of society. But 2013 is a different story. While full equality for LGBT Cubans is still not a reality (nor is it in the U.S. or elsewhere), progress has been made in many noteworthy ways.
Fidel Castro’s niece is at the forefront of the LGBT rights movement in Cuba:
CENESEX, now led by Mariela Castro, Vilma’s daughter, has the mission to contribute to “the development of a culture of sexuality that is full, pleasurable and responsible, as well as to promote the full exercise of sexual rights.” While CENESEX runs a highly effective prevention program for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, much of its work is in advocacy, working to change attitudes and perceptions of the LGBT community among Cuba’s citizens and, ultimately, its leaders through a mixture of public events and less visible but effective education and support.
Cuba does not yet recognize same sex relationships in any legal manner.