USSR classified homosexuality as "sexual perversion" and something "criminal"

The communist persecution of homosexuals: 9 facts that some silence and many ignore

Seeing far-left activists with communist flags presenting themselves as the protectors of the LGBT collective, as is often happening in many countries, is a historical paradox.

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I indicate below some facts that many seem to ignore:

  1. In "Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State" (1884), one of the fathers of communism, Friedrich Engels, spoke of the degradation of men in ancient Greece, stating that "they fell into the abominable practice of sodomy."
  2. Homosexuality has been persecuted in the following Communist dictatorships: Albania (up to 10 years in prison), East Germany, Bulgaria (up to 3 years in prison), China, North Korea, Cuba, Ethiopia, Hungary, Laos, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Somalia, the USSR (up to 5 years in prison) and Yugoslavia.
  3. In Soviet prisons, homosexuals suffered all kinds of humiliations. The homosexual prisoners were forced to sleep next to the latrines, to perform the worst tasks of the prison, to eat separately from the other prisoners, and to offer sexual favors to other prisoners or guards to avoid beatings and rapes. As Nicolás Márquez points out in "The Black Book of the New Left" (2016), "between 1934 and 1980, close to fifty thousand homosexuals were condemned" to the Gulag, the Soviet network of concentration camps.
  4. The Communist Maxim Gorky, one of the leading ideologues of the USSR, wrote the following in the article "Proletarian Humanism", published in the Soviet communist newspapers Pravda and Izvestia on May 23, 1934: "On the land where the proletariat rules bravely and with success, homosexuality, with its corrupting effect on young people, is considered a social crime punishable under the law. In contrast, in the 'cultivated land' of the great philosophers, scholars and musicians, it is practiced freely and with impunity. There is already a sarcastic saying: 'Destroy homosexuality and fascism will disappear'".
  5. In its 1952 edition, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia stated: "The origin of homosexuality is linked to everyday social conditions; for the overwhelming majority of people who indulge in homosexuality, these perversions stop as soon as the person is in a favorable social environment ... In Soviet society with its healthy customs, homosexuality as a sexual perversion is considered shameful and criminal. Soviet criminal legislation considers homosexuality punishable, with the exception of those cases in which homosexuality is a manifestation of a marked psychic disorder."
  6. In his "Dictionary of Homophobia" (2015), Louis-George Tin explains that in the Chinese version of the Soviet Gulag, called Laogai, "tens of thousands of homosexuals were detained, often assimilated to other categories suspected of betrayal (foreigners, the mestizos, the Catholics, the Westernized intellectuals) and always treated very harshly." The Chinese-French writer Jean Pasqualini, a survivor of the Laogai, recounted in his book "Prisonnier de Mao" (1974) the execution of two homosexual prisoners in the field of Qinghe in 1960, killed by a shot in the head, for maintaining relations among them. The treatment of homosexual prisoners in Chinese Laogai was similar to or even worse than in Soviet prisons.
  7. One of the best known leaders of the Cuban communist dictatorship, Che Guevara, showed a special hatred for homosexuals, whom he considered "sexual perverts." In 1960, Guevara founded the Guanahacabibes labor camp, aimed at "re-educating" groups that the communist dictatorship considered contrary to their "revolutionary ethics", among them homosexuals, who suffered abuse, violations and even executions in that area, presided by a large sign that - in the style of Aushcwitz - affirmed: "Work will make you men".
  8. In 1965, in an interview granted to the American reporter Lee Lockwood, the Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro said: "We have never believed that a homosexual can personify the conditions and requirements of conduct that allow us to consider him a true revolutionary. A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a communist militant should be." In 1984, two former supporters of that dictatorship, Néstor Almendros and Orlando Jiménez Lea, produced a documentary entitled "Improper Conduct" on the repression of homosexuals in Cuba, in which they collected the testimonies of dozens of people who were confined in confinement camps on that island because of their sexual orientation.
  9. In January 2016, the Stalinist Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF, Russian partner of the Communist Party of Spain) called for fine homosexual behavior and punish anyone who confesses his homosexuality in public. One of the CPRF deputies, Ivan Nikitchuk, labeled homosexuals as "sick and crazy" people.

In view of these facts, to see communists wearing Che Guevara shirts and presenting themselves as defenders of homosexuals is the height of contradiction. And that's not to mention those who call themselves fans of Fidel Castro, Stalin or Mao.


(Photo: Ariel López)

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