Abstract

Why were homosexuality and Communism so closely knit together in the discursive logic of the Cold War? This article explores the convergence of sexuality and ideology in scholarly and popular conversations about the Cuban Revolution. These included a transnational panic over the purported links between homosexuality and Communism, psychiatric efforts in Cuba and the Cuban exile community to link homosexuality to suspicious ideological affiliations (Communist or anti-Communist), and a shared concern with rooting out covert political threats on both sides of the Florida Straits. Situating Cuba in hemispheric perspective, I propose that secrecy itself was at issue in the widespread and conjoined preoccupation with ideology and sexuality. This turned the closet, on the one hand, and coming out, on the other, into all-purpose, politically charged signifiers in Cuban culture writ large.

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