In This Review

After Love: Queer Intimacy and Erotic Economies in Post-Soviet Cuba
After Love: Queer Intimacy and Erotic Economies in Post-Soviet Cuba
By Noelle M. Stout
Duke University Press Books, 2014, 248 pp

Immersing herself in Havana’s gay culture, Stout, an American anthropologist, gives readers a street-level view of the turbulent changes under way in Cuba, as Cuban society gradually transitions from conformist socialism to a more market-oriented individualism. In its formative years, the austere Cuban Revolution repressed homosexuality. Today, figures as influential as President Raúl Castro’s daughter Mariela push for equal rights for LGBT Cubans. Cuba’s LGBT community seeks to disassociate itself from those who service sexual tourism, but Stout meets gay Cubans in loving relationships with foreigners that nonetheless seem to blur the line between transactional and authentic intimacy. More generally, Cubans are embracing new opportunities for private business even as they regret the sacrifice of socialist solidarity. In this newly fluid environment, Stout explores multilayered subcultures and shifting gender roles as they interact with ethnicity, class, and the emergence of consumer lifestyles: a desire for designer clothes, rather than the deprivations of abject poverty, drives some of the sex workers she profiles.