Cuba and virginity in the sixties…

From the forthcoming bilingual edition of Mirta Yáñez’s Photo of authorThe Bleeding Wound/Sangra por la herida, being hailed in Cuba as an intrepid look at past inequities and present frustrations…

“Back then a lot of social pressure was focused on young ladies who studied at the universities maintaining their hymen intact. Not only did we have endless discussions about the young men who wore their hair long in our assemblies and grassroots committees of the Communist Youth, but also about the virginity of the “females”, do you remember? When one of us would lose it, and thanks to loose lips the whole scandal was made public, at the very least she would lose her scholarship, and depending on the circumstances, she could even be kicked out of the university. If the deeds were done overseas, the sinner would be sent home in punishment, with a dishonorable discharge, so to speak. And the worst of the worst, you bet, was if the love affair implicated some exotic Slavic soul.

When it came to the guys, they were not allowed to show signs of “effeminacy”, such as sporting sandals, earrings, or loafers without socks. Neither were they allowed to wear tight pants, shave their heads or have a “spet drum”, and much less grow a mustache or beard.”

And now? Check out Sonja deVries’ film Gay Cuba! We’ve come a long way, baby…


About cubanabooks

Cubanabooks is a small independent press devoted to bringing first-class literature from Cuban women to a United States audience as well as to a global English and Spanish-speaking public. Publishing select literary gems in English or in bilingual English/Spanish volumes, Cubanabooks aims to correct the current U.S. unavailability of excellent literature from Cubans living in Cuba. At this time we prioritize the dissemination of works by living female writers who reside on the island. The founder and senior editor is Dr. Sara E. Cooper (Ph.D. University of Texas, Austin 1999), Professor of Spanish at California State University, Chico.
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