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.