Thursday, May 3, 2018

Improper Conduct: Fidel Castro, and the communist persecution of homosexuals in Cuba, Russia, and China

“We would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true revolutionary, a true communist militant.” ... A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a militant communist should be.” - Fidel Castro, 1965

Film poster for the 1984 film Improper Conduct
Thirty four years ago on March 21, 1984 in France the film "Mauvaise Conduite" was released. The film was directed by two Cuban exiles,  Néstor Almendros and Orlando Jiménez Leal.  The title of the film in English is Improper Conduct and it examines the "moral purges" of the Castro regime that began in 1964 with Military Units to Aid Production or UMAPs (Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción). These forced labor camps were for those suspected of or found guilty of "improper conduct."  Persons with effeminate mannerisms: what the Cuban government called "extravagant behavior" were taken to these camps.  Apologists of the Castro regime would like to forget this shameful chapter of the communist revolution in Cuba.

It is important to underscore that the systematic repression of homosexuals had an ideological component that also impacted policies in Communist China and the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union homosexuality was criminalized in 1933, "punishable by prison and hard labor, and Stalinist anti-gay policies persisted throughout the 1960s and 1970s." In 1949 upon taking power in Mainland China the communists declared homosexuality a symptom of "bourgeois decadence" and set out to eliminate it.

Below is an online version of the entire documentary that is also available on

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