Thursday, June 01, 2006


A Cuban Perspective
INTRODUCTION- Sexuality is not reduced to a simple physiological process, in view of the fact that the environment also has a crucial influence. Sexual differentiation is divided into 1.- Genital (chromosomal sexuality), 2.- Gonadal (ovaries and testes), and 3.- Phenotypical (external activities). Within this framework there are an enormous series of variations, ranging from undoubted pathology to effeminate men to masculine women , transvestites and transgendered individuals, many of which fall into other categories.
The individual may or may not manifest his/her sexual preference, which can be open or hidden. Sexual preference indicates that the individual recognizes erotic (genital), affective (loving) relationships of beauty and attraction, with regard to specific individuals. This can take the form of open, practicing homosexuality and in other cases of passing tendencies, among which we can distinguish; 1.- developmental, in puberty, 2.- circumstancial, when men or women are isolated from the opposite sex, 3.- neurotic, a psychological disturbance rendering the subject incapable of heterosexuality, 4.- symptomatic, due to organic-cerebral illnesses, 5.- intermediate, a phase between homosexuality and bisexuality. 6.- egosyntonic, in which a sexual variable is assumed without neurotic tendencies, 7.- egodystonic, in which there is lack of self-acceptance, 8.- sociodystonic, in which there is lack of acceptance by society at large. Homosexuality normally should be considered a personality construct and not an illness. This paradigm is complicated by the fact that effeminate homosexuals are atypical, and that there are effeminate men who are not homosexuals.
CAUSES- Outdated theories of the causes of homosexuality express fear of homosexual seduction. Other theories deal with the idea of a pathological or dysfunctional family; a weak , hostile or distant father, a dominating or uninterested mother who might feel greater ties to her husband although she might secretly despise him, ambivalent relations with older brothers and sisters, broken homes, etc., An unsatisfactory relationship with the father, the theory goes, could result in an unconscious hatred of women.
Inescapable facts are that homosexuality is extended symmetrically throughout the world, is present at an early age and cannot be modified. If a monozygotic twin is homosexual or the other is also. This does not happen with bicygotic twins. Professor Gunter Dorner has found existence of a sexual center in the hypothalamus, with two parts, one female one and one male. This structure has critical period in the prenatal phase where a quantity of hormones are produced, stimulating, inhibiting or altering it, and there can develop a contradiction between the genetic sex and the sexual brain due to the nervous system and the physiological state of the mother. The direct action of androgens (male) or by means of their conversion into estrogens (female), upon the nervous system can produce modifications in the sexual conduct of the individual. Dean Hamer (US) observes that among the maternal relatives of a homosexual there are more homosexuals than among paternal relatives. This led to the discovery that 64% of homosexuals share characteristics in the X chromosome, which is inherited from the mother. Anthropological studies show that homosexuality is present in the entire world, and not solely in homosexuals. It is also possible that constitutional and psychogenic homosexuals exist who have differing origins, but with similar manifestations. The conclusion is consensual that nobody can choose his or her sexual variation, nor modify it at will. What is needed is critical thought. Human value is not dependent on heterosexuality or homosexuality, but in the human being himself. One must coordinate the objective with the subjective, thought with reality, reflection with action.
BIOLOGY AND SOCIETY- In order to understand homosexuality one must take into account four main points 1.- Socially organized historical practice, and homosexuality as an objective reality, 2.- The correlation between science and a system of values, 3.-The interrelation among social and personal values and in the life of a homosexual, 4.- The interactions between the homosexual and society. Human beings are a product of the evolution of life, independently of the social, national, rational, class groups to which they may belong.
Since social life was generated, however, humans stopped being purely biological creatures. Human beings develop as the result of the accumulated historical experience of humanity. Human beings are the product of morfophysiology, the human psyche , and their accumulated historical experience. This process of socialization has its biological underpinnings, to be sure; matter in constant movement permits that the biological system become an element of the social system. The biological does not act in a pure form, but is modified by the social. A person’s life milieu creates the content of his/her psychological world , determines his consciousness, the essential characteristics of his personality and his function in society. Karl Marx speaks of the nature of man in two senses; first, that which is natural , corporeal and organic, second, the common characteristics of human beings, whatever their socioeconomic conditions or the time in which they live. Human essence, he says, is not something abstract, inherent in each individual, but the totality of social relationships. The nature of man is a product of history. Upon changing his external environment, he changes himself. The Cuban philosopher Zaida Rodriguez emphasizes, "all in the human being, from his/her erect position to language and abstract thought, is the fruit of his social practice".
Even so, one must point out that human beings are not simply mechanically a product of their past, or they would never be responsible for anything. Human beings, upon transforming their surroundings, create conditions that allow them each time to become freer from natural selection. There exists each time a progressively greater dimension and enrichment, a greater flowering and diversity of human gifts, a greater stability in the species, an advance in the means of production and in highly specialized industry as a means of development. The family, collective labor, consumption, all have repercussions in the living organism. The human personality is an important stabilizing link from the external to the internal (where decisions are made). It makes the biological depend on the social., where they are modified mutually, and the natural biological factor acquires a qualitatively new form, a renaissance, in the process of the influence of humans upon nature. The means of production are destined to transform nature and the means of human development, drive knowledge, habits and specific abilities, psychological qualities, and creative abilities. The brain reflects external reality, but at same time it regulates internal processes. Alterations in the immune system, for example, can be produced that can result in depression and a greater possibility of contracting infection. The social being represents social relations in the process of production, and the individual being is the totality of the material relations of a concrete individual. At same time one must take into account his social class. One’s individual life lasts his lifetime, but social life evolves without stopping, advances, is never ending and perfects itself more each time. Its continuity depends on two things, the production of the means of existence, and of the continuity of the species.
THE HUMAN SPECIES- The relation between man and woman, according to Marx, is an intrinsic part of the human being, the distillation of all relations. There can be no development nor social progress without living beings having descendants by means of the heterosexual form of reproduction. It is not only about the moment of conception, but it continues in education and socialization. Each sex participates contributing its specificity, complementing the other even as its excluded from its opposite. In spite of the fact that there those who say that no differences between the sexes exist, it is recognized that differences are real and objective, even to the extent of finding differences in political convictions and activities.
In all civilizations the unit of man and woman has always been the type of couple formed. This is manifested in society, in art and in religion. Nevertheless, humanity continues to perfect itself. The struggle for female equality is a tendency toward perfecting unsatisfactory heterosexual relations. Likewise, the struggle for homosexual equality is a variable that characterizes the relative stability of the species.
There are two types of variations; somatic or environmental and hereditary or germinal. Insofar as they are bearers of this stability, homosexuals will be total human beings, with the capacity and need to love, of having a family and a normal social life. The stability of society does not exclude contradictory elements, which in fact are evidence of the internal dynamism of social organization. Cultural values, ethics, esthetics, sexual education, are all part of this dynamic.
SOCIETY- If in social activity the homosexual shows him/herself to be a normal individual, and he contributes to production on a social scale as any other human being, that which is essential and generic in him is firmly maintained. By means of practical activity, the homosexual can project himself in relation to society and the world. The homosexual who participates in a dedicated and creative way in society can establish relations that , stemming from his own enriched practice, will objectively contradict reactionary observations and existing prejudices. He/she can participate in the totality of social and political activity, family relations and leisure time. The content and moral enrichment of human beings determine their life style, their happiness and, in practice, their generic essence, independently of the sexual variable that does not in any way determine nor disqualify their life activities. In the contradiction between the needs of the individual and society can be found the equilibrium of complete integration of the homosexual into society. It is a challenge to human intelligence and above all, to humanism. There are no known differences between homosexuals and any other individuals of the species. Both are characterized for multiplicity of differences of intellect and of character. Homosexuality cannot be characterized as an individual illness in the total body of humanity. Male homosexuals are stereotyped as being too sensitive, easily offended, irritable, unstable, easily influenced, nervous, and even neurotic. The problem is that the same characteristics appear in heterosexuals, and in other instances these behaviors are due precisely to the way homosexuals are treated by society. There has never been found any correlation between homosexuality and delinquency. The majority of problems have had to do with repression and the characterization of gay behavior as punishable.
Sexual need in a biological sense is a state physiological tension of little duration. On the other hand, a higher need is expressed in the relationship with a one’s partner, the desire to please and satisfy, the desire that a human being feels for another, which becomes a life necessity, not to be denied. Human sensations and feelings, esthetic and moral pursuits, enthusiasm, delicacy, solicitousness, tenderness, are all included in this need. Homosexuals as well as heterosexuals need a sexual relationship to fully achieve their self-worth. This is generically human. Each person is the bearer of a sexual variable that is the equal of any other. There is a
difference between an ethical evaluation and sex. Erotic sexual desire does not constitute a problem of morals. Only the form that a couple’s relation takes can be of moral relevance, if it is constructed as selfishness, of disrespect of one party by the other, or on the other hand if it resonates with mutual benefit, if there is happiness and love. Homosexuals do not deserve discriminatory treatment in their private life. Their negative attitudes and behaviors are often strategies to survive a society where they cannot communicate. Frequent changes of partners, promiscuous relations, impersonal, anonymous sex in public baths, etc., do not show a sense of responsibility, commitment or reciprocal love. Prostitution and pornography are, finally, inadmissible and anti-human. If sex is merely there to release tension, there exists great discrimination against those who are homosexual by those who are not. Heterosexuals have great possibilities of meeting people on the job, in cultural, recreational and social activities. The ample possibilities of meeting a partner are inversely proportional to those for a homosexual, and this makes it enormously difficult to establish a stable and lasting relationship. To the extent that society is hostile, the difficulties multiply. When homosexuals manage to form a stable couple, relations often last a long time in a union that can be compared to a marriage. Love is felt and happiness is offered. There can also be selfishness, jealousy, hatred and separation, the same as in a heterosexual couple. Many homosexual men and women get married to the opposite sex pressured by society, and because they want to have children. This can become a psychological martyrdom as much for the man as for the woman. Homosexuals have few avenues of integration into the society. Since time immemorial they have created networks and associations, that with diverse structural levels, function parallel to publicly established institutions. Feelings of persecution, psychological damage suffered by lack of understanding, rejection by others, including the most intimate family, school and work circles, school and labor, at times are translated into behavior that transgresses social harmony or falls definitely into criminal activity, behavior which in turn feeds yet greater discrimination. Even though this behavior is the same for heterosexuals, in the case of homosexuals their orientation is emphasized, the social connotation is greater, and including, as in sex with a minor, the penalty is greater. There are contradictory feelings in some persons that hold progressive and scientific attitudes, but in spite of accepting the arguments, they continue manifesting attitudes of rejection to the humanist construct that they themselves defend. These are leftovers of the dehumanizing and reactionary ideologies of the exploiting class that make the contradictions sharpen into antagonistic conflicts. Homosexuals as well need a collective professional and working life, as much as in areas of their private life, in social and political organizations, and in all other spheres of life’s activities. The needs of any human being are more than his/her sexual needs. The contribution of homosexuals will be complete to the extent that their freedom is recognized and respected, which implies, naturally, that this freedom be expressed in terms of responsibility. "If human being are shaped by circumstances", affirms Marx in his Thesis on Feuerbach, "then circumstances must be humanized". Such potential, (and therefore, possibility,) must create with humanist development the right to be integrated fully into a family life, fatherhood and motherhood, which would reaffirm the evolution of the species above and beyond the eroticism of a small minority.
HOMOSEXUALISM AND EXPLOITATION- Marx points out in Manuscripts of 1844 that "illness is nothing but life reduced in its freedom". Homosexualism, as a psychological illness, occurs when groups of persons, under the pressure of specific circumstances or by means of physical, ideological, moral, religious, economic or psychological coercion are obliged to engage in homosexual conduct, alienated from healthy sexual values. Such persons are forced to surrender their own sexual variable, their capacity to love or both. This represents the transformation of sexual conduct into use value ( the human being becomes an object) which serves as a means of survival in conditions of material and moral poverty. The degradation of a full and satisfying homosexual expression runs counter to the spiritual wealth that results in the exercise of one’s sexuality. This degradation generates an antagonistic contradiction which is made worse if heterosexuals find themselves implicated in such relations. There appear a behavior and way of life which can become self-destructive for the participants. The corruption of custom and social life, alienation among masses of dispossessed, physical and economic extortion, exploitation on a grand scale of homosexual prostitution induces those persons to carry out aberrant behavior that destroys their desire for change and social progress, and pushes them to lose themselves in the paralysis of alienation. Through analysis one can understand the eminently social character of homosexualism.
THE GLOBAL VISION- The global vision of humanity should not be confused with its biological or psychological aspects. In reality, a homosexual is not simply an empirical individual with his peculiar assembly of sociopathological characteristics, nor is he/she an abstract being that exists out of time and disconnected from life circumstances. "Sex is not a biological, but a social phenomenon", affirms Gabrielle Dietrich. In India, she could verify that attitudes toward sexuality conformed to factors of caste and class, and were highly culture-specific and gender-specific. The discovery of the social character of homosexuality permits one to understand that it corresponds to the sphere of social consciousness in which one conceptualizes the rational level of reality and the decisions that are made to transform that reality. This is why the system of ideas, theories and criteria expressed from a class position determines the reality that is expressed. Only dehumanized ideologies which are closest to the dominant exploiting class result in the level of antagonism that is created between homosexuality and society.
HOMOSEXUALITY IN HISTORY- Official histories do not touch on homosexual themes. One would think there were never any homosexuals in history. There are unpardonable gaps. . How many lives were saved by the homosexual networks supporting their brethren during the Nazi era? How valuable was their information for the secret services system of the allies? How much did they contribute to the defeat of the fascist machinery? Literature, on the other hand, has often tried to show that homosexuals have played a special or important role, not as human beings, but thanks to the "gift" of their sexuality. The unscrupulous commercialization of this point of view has shown an unhealthy and pornographic picture of a lifestyle, that for many, is unfamiliar. The values that govern the life of homosexuals in a social context have not been established by them and often have an antihomosexual character. On the other hand, individually, many homosexual values are reenforced, transmitted and reproduced as a necessary expression of sexuality and social relationships. It is noteworthy that digestive, heart and lung functioning can be considered completely normal physiological processes, but genital functions, in all human societies, through history, have had a unique emotional, moral and social significance..
Early history. Reciprocal tolerance among adult males and absence of jealousy constituted the prime condition for humans to form lasting and extensive groups. The elimination of selection among groups, resulted in an increase of individuals on the planet, and led to greater migration of genetic material. It reduced to zero inter-individual variability within a species, but increased the possibilities of producing distinct types of humans generally. Thus the possibility that homosexual beings could be produced increased more than in other species. As human nature developed, social demands became specialized, and the reproductive function gained special significance, having a special relationship with the growth and development of the laboring groups and the potential for the group to survive. Casual relationships were substituted by group marriages, later displaced by pair groupings, which became the basis for an extended family. According to maternal or paternal lineage large communities became structured, which in many places migrated from maternal to paternal. Human communities based on the gens, gathered all its members in a single grouping. By means of the regulatory function of marriage, the family and the satisfaction of basic material necessities, production was assured, social relations were maintained, and the collective could be defended from outside attack. The gens needed each and every member of the group. These heterosexual relations were later transformed into a new organizational form; the tribe. Rules for men were rigorous, taking the form in initiations or tests. Passing the initiation was proof that taboos were accepted and that the initiated boy was in condition to create a family. Failure was considered as something terrible. Those who failed had to go about dressed as w omen and could not vote at meetings.
Individual motives are subordinated to those of the group, according to their ethical norms and group behavior. Dependency on natural forces became more immediate as the social division of labor developed, along with means and processes of production, which carried along socio-pathological changes in the group. Norms become less rigid, each behavioral norm competes with another which contradicts it, and there is a new ambivalence established. There are no rules of what is "natural" that that can be understood by themselves. Some members of the group are set apart in the process of individuation.
The establishment of monogamy was accompanied by relations of exploitation of women, who were turned into property and slaves. The male was considered superior. It is not surprising that the Bible speaks of homosexuality among men, but not among women, who lacked the social space to make themselves known. The search for an explanation to homosexuality in the supernatural in reality constituted a step in the transition to scientific thought. Thus there are initiated exceptional rites and practices that allow homosexual conduct and transvestism. It is known that homosexual priests and priestesses were venerated. Nevertheless, in 76% of primitive societies such practices were condemned or prohibited, although evidences exist of their practice in secret. One must study societies by their internal connections, for as Marx points out, the outward appearance of things and their essence do not coincide directly.
Greeks and Romans. Adult homosexual practices in Greece and Rome were not well thought of. Physical perfection was worshiped, and it found its mythology in the goddess Hermaphrodite, divine fusion of a beautiful pubescent male body and a nymph. Love toward adolescents and homosexual practices were based on sexual education and in the esthetic ideals of purity and perfection. When youths reached adulthood they practiced heterosexual life systematically., and did not look upon women with distaste. On the contrary, Romans glorified virility and felt repugnance toward weak and effeminate men. Even so, slaves, the key part of a system built upon the blood of millions of beings, alienated from their own personhood, were considered something like "instruments that could speak". The use of their bodies was one more form of exploiting them. In Greece, homosexualism prevailed only among the slave-owning class, and in times of the Roman Empire it becomes an extension of male prostitution. Homosexualism existed among homosexual patricians, within significant class limits. During the crisis of the Empire, prostitution of men and children was more frequent than that of women, to the point that those who exploited them did not have to pay taxes. From the exception, it became the rule. Homosexuality was exploited by slave owners and promiscuity and depravity constitute an historical form of the class crisis, turning into a contradiction inimical to the progress of society. Virtues of marriage, fidelity and fatherhood were preserved by the common people. The slaves in the Spartacus rebellion established a community of heterosexuals based on relations of comradeship.
Christianity and Feudalism. Christianity advanced among exploited communities of the poor, slaves and freemen, at the same time that the attitudes of the Hebrews toward homosexuality were collected in the first Christian writings of St. Paul. Condemnation by primitive Christians toward homosexuality came out of the theocratic experience if the old regime of the Israelite government or of the repudiation of the practices of Roman slave owners. Jesus, on or hand, never said anything against homosexuals. However, with the expansion of Christianity homosexual practices were condemned more and more, to the degree that repressive measures were advanced. Mass arrests of male prostitutes become common and many of were deported. Constantine instituted the death penalty, and cruel tortures were practiced. . Valentian inaugurated the imposition of death by burning. Justinian codified Roman law, and the "crime" of sodomy was proscribed, sentencing the accused to be burned alive, tortured, mutilated or castrated. The argument by the Church that homosexuality was a sin resulted in the archetypal ideological construct to uproot all vestiges of the past. On the other hand, among Germanic and Slavic peoples, responsible for the fall of the Empire, there were hundreds of thousands of men isolated from the opposite sex who practiced circumstantial homosexuality, abducted wives from the enemy, or took their own concubines with them into the campaigns. The coronation of Carlemagne by the Pope signaled the historic union of the new church with the political system in power, and Christianity, shed of its humanist content, singled out all non-conformity as the enemy. This established against homosexuals the maximum phase of discrimination against them. Religious ideas began to dominate philosophy, science and remaining forms of social consciousness. Law, morality, art, and politics, all became impregnated with religious ideas. The relations of power and servitude, expressed through marriages that did not take into account the feelings of the couple, caused homosexuality to come into sharp contradiction with the society and above all with the feudal economy. . Sodomites were burned alive and their property was confiscated by the church. Homosexual women could be mutilated and.burned alive. The bogeyman of homosexuality was utilized to conceal political and economic interests. Behind the Proclamation of Innocent III against sin was the need to unify French lands under the authority of the Monarchy and the Pope. The English council who burned Joan of Arc underscored the transvestism of that brave woman.
The creation of reactionary ideas, such as that of the existence of inferior beings, was and continues to be the means of blaming homosexuals for social ills. Next to Jews, freethinkers, and even left-handed people, hundreds of homosexuals were burned in the blazing pyres by the Inquisition. Over time, licentiousness extended in the bosom of those same religious institutions, including homosexuality. Martin Luther in Germany did not hesitate to put himself on the dominant Protestant side of the issue during the Great Peasant War, proclaiming democratization of the Church and against the vices that had themselves accumulated in the vitals of the Catholic Church.
The Renaissance. During the Renaissance things lightened up a little. For example, Dante Alighieri, as a humanist, instead of placing homosexuals in hell, places them in purgatory, where they are "purified". Homosexuals of talent were helped to evade the Inquisition by patrons belonging to the nascent middle-class which was also challenging Feudalism and the Church. The illuminati (a rationalist secret society) class tried to solve the contradictions in society (between society and the individual, between duty and freedom) by means of education. According to them the "vices" and the loss of spirituality were due to ignorance, because every person had beauty in his spiritual nature. The condemnation of the flesh and the exaltation of the spirit were in line with the needs to submit men and women to the capitalist form of production. But the bourgeois regimes reenforced sexual repression to the point that it became known as "the sexual inquisition". The slogan of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" of the French Revolution embodied the most advanced ideas of the rising bourgeoisie, but it never went beyond a formal declaration. It was not until 1848, in working class struggles wrenched from the Third Republic, that homosexual relations by means of free selection between male adults were permitted. This made incongruence obvious between formal and real liberty, since the law did not do anything to defend the rights of homosexuals, but instead took advantage of the commercial possibilities of the "pleasures of sex". In other countries discriminatory laws were kept for many years..
Colonizing countries. Colonialists time and again denounced homosexuality among colonized peoples, in an effort to demoralize combatants and to prevent solidarity between workers of the colonizing country with the colonized. Today it is not rare that Zionists continue to make accusations against Arabs at the traditional practice of sexual relations among single males who do not yet have the financial resources to get married. A French racist, Lucenay, having visited a homosexual bordello set up for the colonial enjoyment of bureaucrats, military personnel, merchants and businessmen in Asia, declared that there had never a people so depraved as the Chinese, that "depravation" had had its origin in China. In the Americas there was an influence that cannot be classed as exclusively European, because the Andalucian influence, a mixture of Moor and European, was strong. Africa sexuality in the Americas contributes a greater naturalness to sex general. At the same time, the practice of heterosexual polygamy as a right of conquest and property by the colonizers took root in the cult of male virility (machismo) that has not been uprooted to date.
North America. Puritanical attitudes of the English colonies determined sex to be the work of the devil and tried to suppress it by any and all means. Sexual acts could not give pleasure, they were only permissible within marriage and for procreation. Homosexuality was considered the worst of all sins. Mystical and religious thinking prevented the subject for a long time, in spite of the great advances in technology, from being mentioned, let alone looked at scientifically. After centuries of being constrained by unjust social positions, homosexuals were reduced in their vitality and freedom. The reaction of homosexuals in the face of discrimination was that they would repudiate, by an act of will, all objective content and consider their condition a question of free will. By isolating themselves, what was significant in the personality became trivialized, and behavior was limited to purely individual motives, increasing the criticism, lack of communication and loneliness.
Freud expressed the opinion that homosexuals were not to be considered "degraded persons". He affirmed that "inversion" was manifested in normal persons who had no functional disturbance, and who were often distinguished by great intellectual development and culture. Besides, homosexuality was a universal phenomenon. Marxism. Engels proposes a humanist orientation that has at its core the development of human nature as an end in itself, as personality, in the process of its spiritual and material activity The personality develops in communication with others, it is instructed and educated in the forms of the reproduction of social and cultural experiences of humanity, in the progress made by social relationships and ways of life, in the enrichment of consciousness and self and in moral perfectability. It does not establish any limits for human beings to participate in the society. In Principles of Communism he declares, "Relations between sexes will have a purely private character, with no reason whatsoever for interference by the society." The most advanced segment of the revolutionary movement is able to assess homosexuals as part of the exploited class and can appreciate their condition as allies in the struggle against capital, as part of the working class and other working groups. The Socialist La Salle defended von Schweitzer, who had been accused of being a homosexual. Schweitzer later was elected president of the General German Worker’s Union. . When Magnus Hirschfield defended homosexuals, the only party to support him was the Worker’s Party. Bebel, member of the German Social-democratic Party tirelessly supported the struggle against Article 175, which prohibited all homosexual acts. Under Lenin, a few days after the Bolshevik triumph, the anti-homosexual Czarist law was struck down. In 1923 the Moscow Institute of Social Hygiene declared; "Homosexuality, which appears in European laws an offense to public morals, is treated by Soviet legislation as something natural. Only when force is used, or in the abrogation of another person’s rights, can it be subject for criminal prosecution." Nazi jargon characterized homosexuals as " a social vice that must be wiped out to protect the German people from degeneration". Homosexuals were in fact sent to concentration camps and gas chambers. Kinsey constituted a serious call from the standpoint of science against prejudices and erroneous ideas of sexuality. The neofascist activities of Senator McCarthy pushed homosexuals to form defense groups, such as the Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis, etc. They demanded acceptance by the majority, but these policies became more defiant in the 60s in the face of the crisis of capitalism. In England the Wolfenden Report contributed to the struggle against discrimination and for the gay movement, suggesting a new identity.
STALINISM- In the ideological and psychological practices of the cold war, the bugaboo of homosexuality was used to erode and minimize the regime of welfare and justice that characterized socialist countries. Manipulation, intimidation, rumor and fabrication of false "proof" were used to propagandize against the way homosexuals were treated. In the lists of prosecuted and imprisoned politicians there was no lack of homosexuals jailed for diverse crimes, but which had nothing to do with their homosexual practices. Counterrevolutionary homosexuals appeared as if by CIA magic transformed into dissidents. They carried out campaigns on "human rights" and glorified supposed capitalist freedoms.
Even so, negative phenomena did occur in the USSR and other countries that permitted the anti-communist publicity to be justified. Under Stalinism the progressive measures in favor of homosexuals of the of Leninist phase were struck down. They could not escape the trauma of repressive practices in the URRS, even when these were systematically criticized in and out of the country. In 1934 the humanist laws of the Bolchevik era were struck down, and homosexuals began to be punished with prison terms of 5 years. Additionally, leading Leninists of the party, of the state and those that were not trusted Stalinist bureaucrats, as well as anyone who voiced opposition were purged, and the country sank into a paranoia where terror and disloyalty sent one to prison on simple suspicion, or through some intrigue. The terrible violation the ideological and political principles of Communism led to irreparable losses in the values of Socialist humanism, and to a contradictory historical process in which, at the same time, the Soviet countries made remarkable advances in the area of social and economic development. Science was not spared the purges. Studies on sexuality were interrupted. Many scientists also suffered Stalinist repression. Marxist Leninist theory covered itself with abstract formulae of "manuals" and "absolute truths" -a new type of Scholastics- and science was made to serve the political state. The critical function of science was substituted by triumphalist speeches, which overvalued the achievements and avoided the postulation and analysis of mistakes and insufficiencies. Away from Moscow, however, traditional attitudes predominated, some in opposition to homosexuals but not so repressive. Socialist Slavic, Moslem and Germanic groups were characterized by greater tolerance.
Adding to the mistakes that eroded Socialist values from above, false expectations of a bourgeois consumer society were promoted. The most negative values of capitalism, individualism, selfishness, chauvinism, skepticism, apoliticism, internally weakened those societies. In spite of the fact that in the DDR scientific studies were made in support of homosexuals, none came to be implemented in European Socialist countries. The deficit of political involvement, the lack of progressive focus, the survival of prejudices, repressive legislation and actions, and the absence of humanist solutions made homosexuals easy targets for the detractors of socialism. Each time the contradictions between official speeches and real life became more acute. Many homosexuals became hypochondriacs, in which frustration led to a state of relative incapacity, that could become real incapacity, providing fertile ground for the psychological war in the service of the enemy. Homosexuals provided a rallying point for the restoration of capitalism.
THE MOVEMENT TODAY- The gay movement began as part of the fight against war in Viet Nam, and and the women’s, student Black and Chicano movements, joining the stream of old and new social struggles which spread throughout the US and many parts of the world. The gay movement demands justice and has the capacity of a quick response in its defense. Its weakness lies in that it does not always make the connection of key problems with relations of class and power. Some even dream of an autonomous self-governing life style within capitalism.
The Utopian refuge, with purely individualistic solutions, poisons much of the movement today. Erich Fromm has tried to synthesize Freud and Marx as a solution to the individual’s pathology within capitalism. Herbert Marcuse goes further with his theory of pansexualism, claiming that all evils of bourgeois civilization originate in the desexualization of the human body, and tries to unite Freud and Marx by that route. Some radical Lesbians affirm that heterosexuality is a system for the oppression of women under the slogan "Feminism is the theory and Lesbianism is the practice." Their oppression consists in 1.-their obligation to give birth, 2.-reproduction of the male labor force and 3.-sexual availability as an object of pleasure. Marx wrote that Utopians are precisely those that separate political forms from their social base, presenting them as general, abstract dogma. Some gay groups, nevertheless, express solidarity with other oppressed groups, speaking of basic humanity and against a system that oppresses Blacks, women and other minorities, saying that liberation is inseparable from freedom for all peoples . The Spanish Movement for Gay Liberation arrived at the conclusion that the homosexual struggle is linked to the class struggle, not only as a tactic, but as a strategy to defeat the internal and external policies of finance capital. "All progressive homosexual groups form part of our struggle", affirms The German Communist Party-. "This naturally means that in the party, all homosexual comrades occupy their place in equality of rights." The participation of homosexuals in the fight for peace and for an end to the arms race has been notable.
On the other side of the issue, subversive elements in the service of imperialism work to weaken homosexual groups. The so-called "Intelligence Community" has a diversionist role to play within the gay movement. The outdo themselves in imposing anti-socialist and counterrevolutionary positions in an aggressive policy against progressive organizations. By having a crusade against heterosexuality, they sow discord in the movement. This is equivalent to blaming homosexuality and discrimination as the causes of the problem, and not as its consequences.
POSTMODERNISM IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES - Science and knowledge have not entirely been enough to erase wrong ideas, stereotypes and negative prejudices. The present problems are centered around the issue of social recognition of homosexuals, of their personal dignity and civic virtue. It is an ethical and ideological question, and therefore, for humanists, part of the revolutionary struggle The social roots of the homosexual problem lie in the legacy of machismo, itself a consequence of the division of labor, the alienation of dispossessed masses and their physical and economic extortion, the exploitation of prostitution on a grand scale, spiritual emptiness and the existential crisis, the downgrading of physical reproduction, aberrant and extravagant behavior that submerges everything in a kind of lunacy. The normal rhythm of life has been altered to the point of rhythmic irregularity, an alteration of traditional rhythms of somatic, neurophysiological, and psychic processes on one hand and the rhythms of technology on the other. This arrhythmia tends to corrode the way of life in developed countries. One of its manifestations is that there is an increase in neuropsychiatric illnesses and in homosexual conduct. One can thus engage in homosexual behavior through loneliness, boredom, rebelliousness, neuroticism, defiance of authority, etc. The neurosis that characterizes our era is of the frustration felt by those who believe that society does not give them all that is rightfully theirs. It becomes less and less natural to adapt to society. The traditional heterosexual family has been undermined by industrial and market development. Only a small minority lives in conventional homes, and in cities a large percentage of the population lives alone. There yet remains to be established a social or collective alternative to the nuclear family. The commercialization of leisure and of personal needs is aggressively pursued. Anomie and alienation typify urban life. Heterosexuals as much as homosexuals complain of a sexual and affective dissatisfaction. Fifty four per cent of those who practice anonymous sex in public places are politically conservative, respectable fathers and husbands in middle class families. According to Felipe Carrera, 95% of US University males have had at least one homosexual experience, 65% in Italy, and 50% in Spain. Postmodern ethics of hedonism and individualism are nurtured by uncertainty, and the value of the human being is lost in the lack of satisfaction, by the commercialization of everything in existence, by social inequality, parasitism and dehumanization. The sexual revolution prevents its members from taking a class position in the struggle. By placing sex in the center of human preoccupation, in the idea of sexual freedom, it not only converts necessity into an object, but also coopts the militancy of the movement away from its main task; the struggle against the grande bourgeoisie and monopoly capital. Love as a haven winds up being subject to political manipulation and capitalist commercialization. The price for love is determined by what the market will bear. The human value of the homosexual identity is subjected to a worsening and degrading commercial exploitation.
Homosexual groups enriched revolutionary thought by challenging its practices and the ideological and political paradigms of humanism. There are more than a few gays that are dedicated to the revolutionary struggle, for people’s liberation and for the instauration of socialist democracy. Along with the many who form democratic and progressive groups, they are active against unemployment, AIDS, and the destruction of the environment, the exploitation of underdeveloped countries and fight in defense of self-determination. The Cuban Revolution has always received active support and solidarity from these organizations.
In capitalist countries, along with the ideologically antisocialist campaign of " human rights" there are "sexual rights", approved in international conclaves with propagandistic aims. Ideas of "free will" are thrown into the mix, and nothing is said about social responsibility of states and citizens, nor how to achieve the stated goals. It is not coincidental that such sexual rights imply sexual diversity, commercialization, explicit materials, the pornography industry, prostitution- a whole series of gay businesses brought to life by rich corporations. . In a society of endemic unemployment and underemployment, of growing spiritual and material poverty, the commercialization of sex is also source of employment and of biological survival. It is considered normal, even some sort of spiritual compensation, an expression of freedom. The gay ghetto, when promoted as a community is as unacceptable as a Black or Latino ghetto is, (or elsewhere as the Gypsy, Arab or Turkish ghettoes are), simply because it constitutes a form of segregation. It generates discrimination, displacement, lack of communication, exploitation, violence and criminality.
In the United States there have been laws in favor of homosexuals. Out gays have been elected to Congress, and the Church itself has begun to recognize homosexual relations as legitimate. Bourgeois clamor about gay rights tries to take advantage of numerous advanced and progressive gay associations by spreading a curtain of smoke to hide the abysmal differences between legal and real freedoms, while at the same time trying to nullify the importance of affective relations in universal human development, including those of gays. Simple reforms can resolve immediate needs, but they cannot eliminate oppression. If they are not connected with basic demands, reforms alone become conservative mechanisms, producing small changes to keep the system intact. Many are subjugated in more than one way; as women, as gays, as ethnic minorities, as workers, as poor people. Between a gay millionaire and a gay worker there lies the abyss of capital relations, of socio-economy inequality, and the political and judicial consequences that are determined by those economic realities. In the United States homosexuals have earned a space that constitutes a triumph over conservative society. The irony is that that triumph has unleashed more acts of intolerance against homosexuals. Violence has been aggravated. One of five male homosexuals and one of ten lesbians have been struck, attacked or kicked. One fourth have been victims of thrown objects, a third have been pursued, another third have been sexually molested, and 14% have been spat upon. In 1991 crimes against gays rose 31% in the 5 largest cities of the US. The violence is not accidental , but is stimulated by the religious right and by ready conservatives, Democrats as much as Republicans, satanic sects, gangs and Nazi paramilitaries. It has the same political origins as the lynching of Blacks and Mexicans and functions to keep the entire group socially stigmatized. The police and the courts have turned a blind eye to the aggressions. They interpret the assaults as justified self-defense, a response to panic. The government discriminates against homosexuals in access to the Armed Forces, the Central Intelligence Agency, The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department. Its pressures contractors in industries that have to do with national security to fire homosexuals. There are other limitations as to which professions gays can aspire to. They are denied marriage and adoption of children. At the same time, the lucrative businesses of prostitution and child pornography flourish.
THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY- Nowhere does any evidence exist that the homosexual population is going to increase, nor that the human species is in any danger instability. Human society has as its future an evolution that can be ascending, that progresses from simpler forms to more complex ones and, unquestionably, there is a need to emancipate homosexuals and to incorporate them to progressive ways of life, including reassignment surgery if needed. However, many gays are manipulated by reactionary forces where homosexuality is presented as a false freedom of choice, and where the idea of an androgynous being, which would imply the disappearance of the species, is put forth to justify biological alterations of the species, something that is not an individual legacy, but a collective one belonging to all humanity. The imperialist offensive finds new technology and varied and attractive products for everyone to consume. Thus the ideas of "more freedom, more human rights, more democracy and representation" are promoted, although they are pure abstractions. Imperialist propaganda encourages Mexican, Bolivian, Brazilian or Cuban etc., gays to feel and live like Swedes, US Americans or English people. It tries to inculcate in the Indians, Whites, Blacks, Mestizos of the American Continent the same sexual mentality, the unisex fashions, the same homosexualism, incorporating into Latin American societies the games of the modernized bourgeois consensus. What is required is the right measure, in the face of this cultural aggression, of the development and deepening of theory, of analysis, and of effective revolutionary and consistent action. It is a matter of rejecting the models that are trying to be imposed, to reject manipulation in the struggle to de-alienate the human being, so that there is full enjoyment of generic diversity under real conditions of the maximum extension of the humanist potential. An illusory freedom, its political consequences, the use of diversionary tactics against the ideology and the project of the revolution should all be rejected.
The intervention of science to modify the sex of persons that need it constitutes an event where a great social responsibility should prevail. Plastic surgery and genetic engineering are advances that can resolve genetic contradictions and perfect and reaffirm human nature and its social essence. Nevertheless, the human being is a treasure that belongs to all humanity. He/she should not be commercialized or modified. Every aggression against the human runs the risk of altering his/her admirable harmony. The dangers that come out of twisted science that does not take into account social, economic and cultural consequences must be examined. Science must be associated with consciousness, technical expertise and ethics. The way to success is by using a rational and planned means to integrate the development of the whole society with each of its members. It is not about a false decree of freedom and free will coupled with anarchic license and social irresponsibility. Any subjective orientation in human freedom does not mean a true inner freedom, but merely expresses the stereotypes of civil subordination to the circumstances or whims of immature, sick or manipulated persons.
In the immense majority of peoples of Latin America, Asia and Africa, the situation of homosexuals lacks meaning in the face of the sufferings and scarcities that are the result of the political and economic crises that threaten the individual, the family, the ethnicity and the nation. The priority for millions is in solving problems
of survival. In Cuba, after four decades of socialism, of patriotic resistance and of national solidarity, there continues a progressive vision of the human being, where civic virtue becomes more and more a central and evaluative of the society which advances by breaking sexist and macho stereotypes and does away with ancestral prejudices against homosexuality. These qualitative changes are supported by the firm political will of the revolutionary state, in the Constitution, in the party organizations and institutions, in the non-governmental masses and in socialist civil society.
The crisis today is not one of inevitable destiny, but of growth. It’s about the progressive liberation of the immense material and psychic potential of human beings. We find ourselves on the threshold of a new world of infinite and unforeseeable possibilities, but we could just as well be on the edge of total catastrophe. The decision is in our hands, in being able to rationally understand and drive according to their essence the social processes around us. So-called post-modernism is nothing more than dying capitalism. Other civilizations founded on exploitation and alienation have languished in the same way. The dissolution of traditions, a necessary consequence of luxurious living, drags down and corrupts taste at the same time. The struggle between private and social property show as never before the struggle between humanism and anti-humanism. The majority of humanity accepts necessarily the socialist postulates of equality, independently of their ideological focus. The desire to see a world full of peace, abundance and social justice es more nobly and widely shared than ever. Gay liberation as an entity separate from the general struggle is a delusion, a political impossibility. Women’s rights, the rights of sexual, racial and ethnic minorities, of poor people and working people are part and parcel of the struggle for socialism. Our freedoms can only be won from within organized non-profit society, one that is cooperative and which puts an end to the false division between people. True freedom is where objective social forces do not dominate humans, but the other way around. In such conditions the essential forces of the individual can evolve, in a harmonious connection with the free development of all. That is how we can find the answer to the contradiction between existence and essence, between the objectification and self-affirmation, between freedom and necessity between individual and gender. The stigma of "homosexual" will have to disappear in a new dimension of normalcy and a broad climate of tolerance, in the concerted and global action of all the social resources, in the perfectability of the human being as the most important objective of human progress. The new society is not only an economic or productive fact, it is also a new relationship between humans and nature and men and women with each other.
The production and reproduction of human beings is a constant and objective fact in the totality of society. Homosexual conduct has an implicit contradiction with the general laws of the evolution of the species, but that does not mean that spite and discrimination can be justified. This variation in sexual behavior does not have to have an antagonistic character. The problem is not in homosexuals themselves, but in society’s attitudes. Respect for the dignity and freedom of homosexuals, people full of social context, subject to citizen’s responsibility, and civic virtue, constitutes a strategic axis for the destruction of prejudices. Homosexuals must be recognized as individuals who develop their own values and interests, as long as these do not adversely affect the interests and values of society as a whole. The tendency is toward a society freed from authoritarianism and sexism. The achievement of full integration of homosexuals cannot only be a political question, a legal question or a question of public information and scientific studies. It is necessary to go to the logic of the real processes between the dialectics of the individual and society. What it means to be a man or a woman is part of the personal , generic and self-worth identity of individuals. Men and women who must change their prejudices must be approached with caution and respect so they can be convinced of the justice and morality of those changes. All voluntarist action can be interpreted as an aggression against people’s sensitivity and in stead of bringing about change and helping them to assume humanist values, it can sharpen their resistance. Teaching on the subject is absolutely necessary. It should be brought about at the social as well as the individual level. Psychological, judicial, institutional and communicative means can be used. Sexual education is a powerful method, because it is given in institutions that can shape consciousness. There is a difficult correlation in practice between what one would like and what is, between respect and intransigence, between moderation and constancy. Rather than trying to bring about a new sexual revolution, we must modify the circumstances that hold back humanist sexual development. Rather than mere tolerance, we must have equality, love, dignity and solidarity.
After "Homosexuality, Homosexualism and Humanist Ethics" by Felipe J. Perez Cross.
Editorial Social Sciences, Havana 1999

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