Cuban psychologist speaks in NYC on HIV+, LGBT issues

Norma Guillard, front center, with supporters, May 4.WW photo: Anne Pruden

Norma Guillard, front center, with supporters, May 4.
WW photo: Anne Pruden

Brooklyn, N.Y. — Breaking new grounds for women — for lesbians, bisexual women and especially for Black women — is Norma Guillard. A Cuban woman of African descent, Guillard was welcomed here on May 4 to talk of her work in Cuba. A retired psychologist, she has proudly produced the first documentary about HIV+ patients in Cuba.

At the home of Cuba supporters in Brooklyn, leaders of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace and students gathered to hear Guillard speak on race, gender and LGBT relations in Cuba.

Guillard helps to build public understanding of the disease and of gender issues. Speaking of her special concern for women, Guillard talked of having helped build a network for Afro-Cuban women against the discrimination that still exists against them, as does bigotry against lesbian and bisexual women.

The Federation of Cuban Women is taking on “a historic challenge,” she says, with new projects to question racial inequality and HIV education beginning in Cuba. Guillard described a meeting of the Caribbean and Latin American association of psychologists being held in Cuba “to launch a campaign … [against] the celebration of homophobia.” She told of a related blog, facebook and website on LGBT issues.

Norma Guillard showed a film called “Women: Between Heaven and Earth.” It featured Cuban women speaking of the hardship of being lesbians. Discussion of the film followed, in an attempt to find shared goals between women in the U.S. and Cubanas. Solidarity and support was a prevailing theme, along with appreciation of the revolutionary progress Cuba is making.

IFCO/Pastors for Peace co-director Gail Walker announced that the organization’s annual summer caravan was now being planned. This work against the imperialist U.S. blockade of Cuba will continue, as will support for an end to racism and all bigotry.