Sexuality Equals Diversity / Wendy Iriepa and Ignacio Estrada

In 1974 the American Psychiatric Association eliminated from its Manual of Mental Disorders, homosexuality and bisexuality, meanwhile numerous scientific institutions and associations in the world took the same position. But it was not until May 17, 1990 that the World Health Organization (WHO) unanimously approved it.

When May 17 was introduced as the international day of struggle against homophobia, it became a date the celebration of which brings together a large number of countries including Cuba, but unlike what happens in other countries, in Cuba the festival has political connotation under the current government of Raul Castro Ruz and everything on this day is orchestrated by his daughter Mariela Castro Espin, current director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX).

To understand the homo and bisexuality as variations of healthy sexual life, like heterosexuality, it is necessary to understand the processes that influence its formation and development:


Is the set of biological attributes of a sexual nature that distinguish humans physically into two groups: men and women.


It is the socio-cultural, historic construction which defines the set of attributes, qualities, traits, attitudes and modes of behavior assigned and expected by every society of men and women, that guide and shape rigidly all behavioral expressions in one’s personal life, as a couple, family and society.


Is the dimension of personality that is constructed and expressed from birth and throughout life through the process of development of masculinity or femininity, to learn to be a man or a woman, which transcends the relationship of a couple to manifest in all that the person “is” and “does” in his personal life, family and society.

It is experienced or expressed through gender identity and sexual orientation in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes and values. Practical activities in all human relationships. Sexuality is the result of the interaction of biological, psychological, socioeconomic, environmental, cultural, ethical and religious factors.

Sexual Orientation:

Sexual orientation refers to erotic attraction, which also includes bonding to another person of the same sex, the other sex, or both. It can manifest as behaviors, thoughts, fantasy or sexual desires, or a combination thereof.

People are considered “HOMOSEXUAL” if they are attracted to others of their own sex, but also used is the English term “GAY” to refer to men who are attracted to other men and to lesbians when it comes to the attraction between the women. Although it is valid to clarify that in the case of Cuba the lesbian community does not like being called by the term “GAY”. If erotic desire is directed towards both persons of the same and different gender, we consider this person “BISEXUAL”.

However, the dominant cultures have favored only the erotic attraction between people of different sexes and what’s more the formalization of their ties through marriage whether in a civil or church ceremony and the guaranteeing of reproduction. With this logic imposed throughout history, “HETEROSEXUAL” people enjoy greater rights under the law, being considered the standard and reference for all human beings.

Gender Identity:

It is the consciousness and feeling, that is turned into the conviction of being a man or a woman, male or female. The identity originates and develops from birth to five or eight years. When the child understands that sex is not going to change and evolve throughout life.

Gender Role:

It is the particular way in which each person interprets, constructs and expresses, in their everyday behavior, models of male and female established in the society in which he or she lives. It is the public expression of gender identity, mediated by stereotypical models of masculinity and femininity.

Models of Gender that stereotype and distort the masculinity and femininity often prevent girls and boys, women and men from expressing their sexuality and each of its components (identity, gender role and sexual orientation) in a genuine, free, pleasant and responsible way.


It is the general hostility, psychological and social, towards people with sexual orientation different from heterosexuality (Gay and Bisexual), so specific and including Gayphobia and Lesbophobia. Transphobia is general hostility, psychological and social, towards people whose gender identity does not match their biological sex (transsexuals).

The transsexual person is characterized by a gender identity that does not correspond with their sex. It is a biological female who identifies as a man or a biological man who identifies as a woman. Sexual orientation (sex-erotic) may be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

The TRANSVESTITE person feels complacency in integrating into their self image attributes, attitudes, gestures, costumes and accessories that culture assigns, as stereotypes, to the opposite sex. This feature does not imply conflicts with their gender identity, so the person is not a transsexual. Sexual orientation (sex-erotic) may be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.

TRANSFORMISTS are those who in the performance of a role, mainly artistic, uses attributes, gestures, costumes and accessories normalized by the dominant culture, as those of the opposite sex. This feature does not imply conflicts with their gender identity, so this person is not a transsexual, but there is no contradiction with self-image, so the person not a transvestite. Sexual orientation (sex-erotic) may be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

Homophobia is characterized by the acceptance and valuing of people who reproduce the socially established gender stereotype for women and men, which is reduced to a heterosexual sexuality, marriage and reproductive health, in contempt, discrimination, devaluation and even violence against all those who deviate from this rigid pattern.

Homophobia and Transphobia follow the same trend of undervaluation and discrimination imposed by ideology that is macho, sexist, racist, classist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, among others, pursuing the same objective, the dehumanization of the other, inexorably making him or her different and inferior.

Homophobia is prejudice, ignorance, violence. It threatens the values of equity, solidarity, social justice and respect for sexual diversity as one of the greatest assets available to mankind.

January 30 2012