Omg – I know a what a Cuban Lesbian looks like!
I’m taking my last stroll around the market – actually I have
5 pesos left & I want a hat from Cuba for myself. I bought Mujasi a hat
when I first got here, but I want one for me. I find the one I want & she
says $5 pesos, but I hesitate and she says $4.
I tell her I’m looking around. While I stroll around, one of
the vendors, a young man selling wooden figures, calls me “lady” and wants me
to come to his booth and look at his treasures.
Everything at this market has to be made by someone who is
either the vendor or someone the vendor personally knows – in Cuba of course.
I tell him I’ll look but I’m not a ‘lady’, I am a womon. He is
confused and struggles to say that he thinks ‘lady’ and ‘womon’ are the same. I
tell him no, and struggle to define lady in Spanish. He tells me he
I tell him therefore, I am not a lord’s (or any man’s) lady,
I do not believe in aristocracy, and neither do I do what society says womyn
Then, as he moves closer and scrutinizes me, he asks me
about my Black Womyn’s Lives Matter shirt and who is Marissa? I tell him about
the movement, police violence, and Marissa firing a warning shot.
He wants to know why I am not like other womyn. I tell him I
don’t understand. He says, well I’m not wearing any makeup, my nails are not
painted, I’m looking relaxed and very strong … he struggles for the right words
… I am dressed differently and not wearing heels. Can you imagine heels at an
outdoor market spread out on dirt?
It then occurs to me that he might be asking me to come out
to him and so I do. I laugh & say I’m a lesbian – I don’t need a man or
need to dress to appeal to a man.
He tells me I don’t look like a lesbian. I say really but
this IS what a lesbian looks like. I say what does a Cuban lesbian look like? And
he tells me like a man. I smile broadly and say really? GREAT! I’ve been
looking for 2 weeks now for Cuban lesbians and haven’t found any.
He tells me his friend at this very market is a lesbian. I’m
thrilled. I ask if she’s a vendor and if she’s here. He points her out to me
and I immediately cross the market and introduce myself to her.
She looks nothing like a man but like a gorgeous dyke! She wears
a large cowgirl-type hat sitting on a shaved head, grey t-shirt and shorts,
large brown eyes and a beautiful welcoming smile. She is Niurys and immediately
warmly embraces me when I tell her I’m a lesbian and have been looking for
lesbians since I arrived.
I speak to her in Spanish with some English thrown in, I want
to talk so fast. The other vendor selling with her under the canopy is a guy
who also laughs and tells me I have come to the right place. I’m bummed that I’m
just meeting her now 2 hours before I have to leave, but so very happy to meet
We exchange emails and street addresses and promise to keep
in touch. While we’re talking, another womon vendor, her long abundant salt and
pepper hair pulled back in a pony tail, approaches her to ask a question. She introduces
us and tells me this womon is also a lesbian. We all beam at each other before
the new womon hurries back to her booth.
When I talk about going to Holguin to the Lucha contra
homophobia, Niurys tells me she was there – and with a lot of her friends. I tell
her I didn’t see any lesbians from where I was sitting, only a lot of men – but
she was there. She takes out a picture of her brother, who is also gay and a
dancer now living in Mazatlan Mexico. She also has an old picture of her mother
that she shows me.
It occurs to me to ask her about womyn farmers living on the
land together. She shakes her head sadly and says she lives in the city and
doesn’t know anyone living in the country nor has she heard of such a place but
would love to know about it.
We talk about keeping in touch and getting together when I return,
which I HOPE will be soon!
My last fuckin day … omg – I guess I should have gone around
the market asking people if they know of any lesbians. The vendors tend to
change every few days at the market – there might even be more womyn there! I can’t
wait to write to Niurys and find out more! AND to return!