Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gainan Fini: Transvestism on stage

Starting May 27, Gainan Fini will be playing at Teatro Luna Blou in Curacao. Gainan Fini is a Caribbean La Cage aux Folles. I know a lot of so called 'straight acting' gay man on the island will feel the need to keep on stating that they're not like that. That they're not 'women 'and will complain about the fact that only effeminate gay men get public space in the Curacao popular culture. It is true, that in popular culture there is 'space' for men to be homosexual if they act (and sometimes dress) in a feminine way. But it's also true that most 'normal' gay men wouldn't dare to go public with their sexuality. It's always the same discussion. It also happened in New York during the so called Stonewall Riots. The men that could pass for straight did that and blended in the crowd, and the transvestites stood there and fought with the police.

The same five courageous guys from Antillean descent did when they told their own story in the documentary Marival, by Felix the Rooy. At a viewing of the documentary in Rotterdam, again someone in the audience made the remark about this portrayal of gay men. The filmmaker De Rooy was present and remarked correctly that those guys were ready to tell their story in front of the camera, something most other wouldn’t.

Gainan Fini will be entertainment making fun of transvestites, but also a stage for some transvestites on the island to express themselves. I would go if I was on the island.
I must confess that another reason to publish about this play is the fact that my friend Vincent designed the poster, which I found very good!

Gainan Fini:
Gainan fini di Eligio Melfor ta e vershon di 'cage aux Folles' di Kòrsou. Den e komedia sumamente humorístiko aki, e mayornan di e pareha ku ta bai kasa, mester bin huntu pa sera konosí. Komo tata di e brùit ta un funshonario públiko di gobièrnu di masha haltu kategoria i kontakto, nan no por pèrmití, pa e haña sa ku e yònkuman ku ta bai kasa ku su yu muhé, su mayornan ta un pareha hòmber homoseksual. Pa e motibu aki un di nan dos mester bisti na muhé pa hunga ròl di mama. Aki tur e situashon di hilaridat ta kuminsá. Un komedia ku bo no por pèrdè.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Controversial gay soap opera grips Cuba

By Fernando Ravsberg BBC Mundo, Havana
A TV soap opera is generating controversy on the streets of Cuba and attracting a record number of viewers. The reason? It is about what until now has been a taboo for Cuban TV: homosexuality.

Rafael Lahera faced discrimination after acting in the soapIt seems to be the sole topic of conversation in the workplace and the neighbourhoods, even though many men insist angrily that they do not watch "that telenovela in which a married man 'discovers himself' through a sexual relationship with a male friend".
It is the first time that television in Cuba has dared to broach the subject. It never even screened Strawberries and Chocolate, a classic Cuban film about the marginalisation of gay people.

The soap - The Dark Side of the Moon - shows the problems a bisexual man faces in today's Cuba, including his friends' revulsion and rejection by his parents.
Yaser, the bisexual character, says: "Everything I sacrificed myself for, I have lost."
His friend and partner tells him he understands.

It is good for the people to be informed, so that youngsters are not tricked or trapped into that kind of thing, that homosexual thing
Raimara Casas
"I also lost the affection of my parents and siblings," he says.
It is dialogue like this that is creating a stir across the island. The two men are not shown having any physical contact "so as to avoid offending viewers".
However, some do feel offended, including members of a group of retired men who I spoke to in a Havana park.
"I don't watch it. My wife does, but I don't like it because of the rude things they say," one says.
Another says: "I cannot get used to it, because what we were taught when we were young was morally different."
A different view on the soap opera comes from Raimara Casas, who thinks it serves as a warning.

Some Havana residents say they find the soap opera offensive
"It is good for the people to be informed, so that youngsters are not tricked or trapped into that kind of thing, that homosexual thing," she says.
There are also people like Maria Nora, who think The Dark Side of the Moon is important because "it shows an openness on this issue that is not even found in foreign soap operas".
Actor Rafael Lahera, who plays Yaser, says that to broach "such a delicate subject in such a macho society" is an important step for Cuban TV.
But playing the leading role has not been without problems.
"People think I'm gay," he says. And, he adds, he has been turned down for acting jobs because employers do not want a role to be played by a homosexual.
Such discrimination is not unusual in Cuba, where in the 1960s and 70s homosexuals were sent to labour farms.
Today, gays and lesbians are socially isolated, the police harass transvestites and the government is refusing to authorise sex changes for transsexuals.
Maybe this soap opera will contribute towards changing that.