The US LGBT community and Cuban people have a lot in common. Like Cubans, gay people know first hand what it is like to be oppressed. And it's not a surprise that Cubans have turned to (visual, culinary and musical) art to express and assert themselves. We visited a privately run restaurant in the beautiful retro home of a gay couple. We enjoyed their hospitality, and enjoyed great conversation.
Indeed, Cuban food is best enjoyed in the many private restaurants that have sprung up throughout the country. Privately owned, they strive for fair prices, good service and delicious food. In Havana, we met lots of gay people at a gay venue where we learned that the high art of drag is alive and well and that Gay Pride celebrations are popping up in major cities around the island. We also learned that gay marriage is being openly discussed in government and has a lot of support. Music and art are thriving in Cuba. Private art galleries and craft markets are easy to find. Cuban art is very affordable and high quality. The one thing that impressed me about the Cubans I met was not only their kindness, but how open they were in discussing their lives and Cuba's unique position in the world at the moment and where they hope to be in the future.
They look up to the US culture and government. So, it's no surprise that our gay group felt very welcomed in Cuba and that meaningful exchanges were had.